Monday, April 7, 2014

Yard Sale - What I Learned

We had a very successful yard sale on Saturday morning. When I first started going through our stuff I wasn't sure we really had enough to justify having a yard sale. And then I kept going and quickly figured out that we had PLENTY. Over the last week Ryan and I have gone through each room, closet and the attic and workshop and pulled out everything we didn't use anymore or just absolutely love. The hardest things to decided to sell or keep were things we liked or had been given as gifts but never really used. However, after looking at a 1,000 square foot house in Greenville last week, and realizing the amount of downsizing that is most likely ahead of us, we were motivated to get it out of here!

Most of the advice here comes from my Aunt Bonnye who is yard sale extraordinaire in Tuscaloosa. My mom came to help us on Friday organize and price everything and DeeDee came on Saturday to help with "customers" - it was an all hands on deck situation! In the end, I made $504.50 - way more than I expected!

10 Things I Learned:

1) Price to sell - People going to yard sales are looking for great deals. Anything over $10 should be a big item. For us these were things like mattresses and box springs; furniture and some yard equipment. Old TVs don't sell. Even for $10. I think it's important to be willing to bargain with people - I only had one lady who was a true haggler (this is a skill I greatly respect!) but she ended up calling friends and buying way more than she would have it I had not been willing to negotiate. I would say most of our items were $1 to $7.

2) Everybody loves a bundle - Ryan bundled up odds and ends from his workshop in buckets and then put a $3 price tag on it. So a bottle of oil might be 1/2 used and the package of nails open but it was still some money. And many of the things in the bundle we would have ended up tossing. Also, to make pricing easier we had big signs that said all books & DVDs $1, all VHS tapes .25 cents, hanging cloths $2, and folded clothes $1.

3) Keep your money on you - Aunt Bonnye suggested a fanny pack but I am anti-fanny pack (and didn't have one) so Mom and I each kept our purses strapped across us. A money box is too easy to walk away with and, unfortunately, a big problem at yard sales. Every half hour I took our $10 and $20 bills inside and let Pepe watch the money!

4) Have change and only take cash - I broke this rule for a few people but I knew them and one of them bought $120 worth of stuff. We started off with $60 worth of change (one $10, five $fives, twenty $1s and $5 in quarters.

5) Staging - Just like in trying to sale a house I think having your stuff arranged nicely (and clean!) makes a big difference. I washed a couple of things and hung up nicer clothes on a clothes rack I borrowed from a friend. Ryan shined some of his shoes and we dusted everything that needed it. We also had a "flow" through the driveway and carport that made it easy to watch everyone.

6) Be flexible - a neighbor was walking by and stopped to look. She ended up making a pile of things she liked and asked if she could finish her walk and them come pack with money. I took a chance - even though I didn't know her - and she came back with $26 dollars. You could also offer to hold it for an hour.

7) Keep at it - we started the sale at 7 a.m. and were out there by 6 a.m. putting the finishing touches on things (we put most things under our covered carport the night before and asked our neighborhood security guy to keep an extra eye on our house). It was slow and steady from 7 a.m. on but it would have been easy about 10:30 a.m. to wrap it up. But we stayed out there and ended up selling most of our stuff between 10:30 and noon.

8) Advertise - the paper here charges $25 to run a yard sale ad for three days and I'm cheap and wasn't sure if I'd even make $100 bucks. So instead, I posted the information along with details on what was for sale on Craigslist and our neighbood site along with Instagram and Facebook. The Tuesday before I posted signs in my yard (we live on a busy corner) and then on Thursday and Friday I posted signs around the neighborhood. If you do this, make sure to take them down after the sale! I think my crowd was probably 80% neighborhood people - they didn't haggle and it was fun to see so many of my neighbors! I think I spent $6 on posterboard and a marker. Yellow and black are the best colors to attract attention (so say advertising experts)! Also, since the sale was over I've had several people e-mail me looking for items and have sold a few more things that didn't sale.

9) Don't be a sucker - I think this goes without saying but don't ever let someone into your house. Direct them to the nearest gas station for bathroom emergencies. My "beware of dog" sign and barking dog in the backyard kept anyone from even asking.

10) Have plenty of help - Ryan was working on Saturday and I was so glad Mom and DeeDee were there to help. I think we sold more in that we were all talking items up and pointing out the best deals. Plus, about 10:30 we started saying "just make us an offer."

The Salvation Army is picking up the leftovers so that will be tax write-off and the children's hospital is getting the leftover books, movies, and games. It was a lot of hard work and fun and something I hope not to do again for a long time!

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