If you know how to run it, a yard sale can be one of the best ways to reduce clutter in your home; but without the right preparation, it can end up being a lot more work than it’s worth. Here are a few ways to make sure your sale weekend is well spent.
1. Display matters
Keeping your items visible and usable is a big part of getting them sold. More people will buy your books if they’re displayed neatly on a shelf, with all the titles visible, than if you haul them out in a dusty old box. Put big-ticket items in easy reach, at waist-level or higher. Mix high-value and low-value items, so that browsing shoppers don’t skip over any of your selection. If you have an item you really want to sell, print out a 5-star product review from a reputable source, and display it next to the price tag.
2. Decide on prices beforehand
Having a display price saves time and puts you in a stronger bargaining position, even if you really enjoy haggling. It’s also a good idea to discuss prices in your family, to avoid any hurt feelings or frustration if items are priced too high or too low. As a rule, set most of your items at $5 or less, and have a plentiful supply of items under $1.
Also, discuss what the main purpose of your sale is. If you mainly want to clear out the clutter in your home, set prices low and let people haul it away for you. If your primary interest is raising money, set prices a little higher, advertise more aggressively, and be willing to negotiate on price. Either way, you can donate the leftovers.
3. Provide snacks
Free coffee, a lemonade stand, or a box of donuts can encourage people to show up, and the only foolproof way to make sales is to draw traffic. Concessions will easily earn you back the money you spent on them, and you’ll clear out a lot more clutter. If you have kids, encourage them to run the lemonade stand or sell candy bars—it’ll help out the family and teach a valuable lesson in entrepreneurship.
4. Advertise heavily Traditional roadside signs are essential for a successful yard sale, but you can also attract highly-motivated garage-sale junkies by advertising your sale on Craigslist and other online classifieds. Post signs at every major intersection, including the sale address and any other points that set your sale apart.
If you have some pricey, high-quality items (things like formal gowns, telescopes, smartphones, etc.), it’s a good idea to mention that in your ads specifically, along with your asking price. Even people who don’t normally stop in at garage sales will come to get a great deal on that item, and will probably stick around and browse afterward.
5. Start taking credit cards
Nowadays, hundreds of people are likely to see your yard sale sign, realize they’re not carrying any cash, and then shrug and move on. If you want to draw the majority of people who see your advertisements, you need some form of mobile credit card processing. Services like PayPal, Square, and Intuit will send you a free credit card reader and mobile app, so you can accept credit or debit card payments directly from your phone. You’ll get way more business when people know you take cards, so make sure to mention it in all your advertisements.
6. Do a group sale with another family
There’s nothing more fun for yard-sale shoppers than a huge, multi-family sale—it saves them time and puts a much more exciting selection at their fingertips. Pooling resources with another family or two will draw a much larger crowd, and everyone benefits. Be sure to mention that your sale is multi-family on your yard sale signage—the more your sale looks like an “event”, the more people will show up.
Shawna Davies is a staff writer for Going Cellular. She has a talent for organization and helping people navigate new technology. She’s a confessed gadget freak, but when she gets out of the house, she loves spending time at the lake with her husband and young son. They live in Beaumont, Texas.