Before I moved to Central Indiana three years ago, I had never been to a yard sale, or any of its varieties: garage sale, tag sale, rummage sale, jumble sale. But my fine Hoosier neighbors love a good yard sale. In the three years I have been here, I have attended roughly 482 yard sales. Give or take.
A friend of mine is something of Yard Sale Royalty. She does them twice a year (Spring and Fall) and usually does so well that she donates half of her earnings to a charity/church/worthy cause and uses the rest as she sees fit. And she’s not the only one. Whole neighborhoods here have yard sales, where you can walk from house to house shopping the same way you would at a mall. People come from other towns to attend these neighborhood yard sales. It’s crazy. Crazy awesome.
I have never held a yard sale, but lately the thought has been creeping up. With the new baby on the way, I’ve been in serious nesting mode. I’ve got three boxes I’m lugging from one room to the next, tossing everything that isn’t nailed to its spot into a box labeled “DONATE”, “KEEP”, and “SELL?”
I was recounting my crazy pregnancy driven purge of our worldly belongings to my friend, the Duchess of Yard Sales, and she said that now is actually the perfect time to be going through things for a Spring Yard Sale. Say what? Apparently, this is what she does every year. As soon as the weather starts to get cold, she she starts taking inventory. She starts with clothes, switching out the seasonal ones first, and then figuring out what to sell and what to donate. Then she goes through the toys, getting the kids ready for the holiday influx, by deciding what stays and what joins Lotso and the gang at Sunnyside Day Care. Next, home goods, and so on and so forth. She donates what needs to be donated well before the Christmas season, and then her house is streamlined and tidy for the holidays. When the sun breaks through and thaws the frozen Midwest, she is all ready for her Spring Yard sale, with the boxes labeled neatly, kept snug and cozy in her garage.
Y’all, my mind was BLOWN. She made cleaning your house and getting paid for it sound so easy! I had to get some more deets on the best way to make your Yard Sale stand out, and (hopefully) earn some sweet cash money. And you know there was no way I was going to research the best way to save dollars for a Disney Fun and not report it back to you.
LIST. Decide a date for your yard sale and list it in any free local papers, Facebook groups, or websites. Some people love a good yard sale, and planning in advance and getting the word out allows more people to find you.
ADVERTISE. We’ve all driven past the Yard Sale sign that looked a little…raggedy.To avoid that fate, buy bright, matching poster board, making sure to attach is securely to street signs or weight boxes. To make sure your signs are legible use printed, cut out letters (or the craft store equivalent) in black. Make sure to include the address. Using the same language and color poster boards for every sign will give them a uniform loo that will help people follow them to your sale. Bonus points if you can buy the materials before you list your ad, so you van say something helpful like, “Follow the pink signs.”
PRICE. Remember that people go to yard sales for deals. Even if an item is brand new, it’s been pre-purchased, kept in a home etc, etc. Ask yourself what you would pay for the item if you found it at a yard sale and price accordingly. Make sure every item is labeled and priced. Nothing drives people away from a yard sale faster than having to ask the price on multiple items.
ORGANIZE. You want people to buy your stuff? Make it look its best, and make it easy to be spotted by the right shopper. Hang clothes or portable racks, set up tables for smaller items, group like items (books, toys, purses, etc) together. Consider selling small items (baby clothes, small toys) in lots. Package your lots in clear bags or small plastic storage boxes.
PLAN. This is multi faceted. First, have a rain plan. If you have a garage, make sure it is cleaned out so you can move everything in there and keep selling your wares. Make sure the ad you list says, “Rain or Shine.” Second, plan to have enough change for cash purchases, with plenty of $1s, $5s, and quarters. If you use Square or other electronic purchasing apps, you want to make sure those are set up well before your yard sale.
SELL. Don’t just sit back and wait for your stuff to sell itself. Be proactive. If someone wants to haggle (and they will, because everyone always wants a better deal), hear them out. If you see someone checking out the baby clothes, offer them a deal ($2 for 10 items) or ask if them what kind of items they’re looking for (size, style, etc). Smiling and chatting will not only make it a more pleasant experience for everyone, it might help you sell more stuff!
DONATE. Whatever you don’t sell, donate. Many organizations will arrange for pickups at your home. Plan for them to come by the day after your sale. So whenever you are done, your leftovers go into a box and right back out onto the corner for pickup.
Have you ever done a yard sale or are you like me, amazed at how involved the whole thing is? What are your best yard sale tips? What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever bought at a yard sale? Tell me all about it in the comments!
Kristen B. is wife to the best Prince around, mama to the spunkiest little princesses, and lover of all things Disney. She started her savings journey three years ago and is now dedicated to making her family’s wishes come true one coupon at a time. She is so excited to take her love of saving to the next level and share her journey with you! Click here to catch up on Kristen’s Savings and join in on your own savings adventure!