Thursday, May 1, 2014

Yard Sale: Tips to Have the Best Yard Sale Ever! - Part 2 of 3

Please Share the Love
Hi, this is part two of Tips for the Best Yard Sale Ever. If you missed part one and would like to read it, please click HERE.

So far the main points we’ve covered are:

  • Gathering Your Merchandise
  • Enlist Others
  • Pick a Date
  • Early Birds
  • Pick a Place
  • Check on Permits
  • Advertising

The second part of this mini-series will cover:

Gather Your Supplies

Make sure you have everything you need at least a day before the garage sale starts. 

Here’s what you will need:

  • You’ll need chairs for you and the people who are helping you with the yard sale because you’ll want to be comfy during those very brief periods where you have no customers
  • Table(s) to display your merchandise. 
  • Hangers for clothing
  • A garment rack is great for clothes but if you don’t have one you will need to improvise. Try stringing a line between trees or on your fence – you need somewhere to hang your clothes.
  • Baskets or boxes for trinkets, toys etc.
  • You’ll need a float. It will be a rare moment your customers have exact change. Here is my suggestion: 2 twenty dollar bills, 2 tens, 5 fives, 5 toonies, 10 loonies, 20 quarters. If you keep your pricing in increments of 25 cents you will not need dimes, nickels of pennies in your float. Not that we have pennies anymore! 
  • You will need a fanny pack, an apron with pockets or even a purse to hold your cash plus you must keep it on you at all times.
  • Shopping bags for your customers to pack all the items they are buying from you. We save all our bags so we have a nice supply. If you don’t have any you can always ask friends and family if they can spare a few.
  • Newspaper to wrap breakables for your customers.
  • Pricing stickers. Can be found at your local dollar store. If you are having a multi-family sale, buy different color stickers for each family.
  • Markers for writing the prices and a few additional signs on larger items.
  • Baggies for keeping groups of items together – like a Lego set, brat feet …
  • Rubber bands to hold items together – like spoons, paint brushes …
  • An Extension cord for customers to try out electrical equipment.
  • A mirror for customers who may be buying hats, sunglasses, jewelry.
  • A radio to provide music – create atmosphere – play something relaxing and cheerful.

I hope I didn’t forget anything. I hope you will let me know if I did.

Spiff Up Your Merchandise

No one wants your garbage let alone spend good money on it so let’s make our merchandise look its best.
  • Wash all the clothes and make sure they are free of animal hair, dirt and wrinkles.
  • Get rid of dust on furniture and knick knacks ...
  • Wipe away any dirt or grime
  • Polish to a shine
  • Vacuum furniture and rugs.
  • Test electronic items then label them with small signs describing their condition. No one will want to buy it if you say it worked last time I used it – two years ago. LOL Anyway you will label it “as is” or “works great.” You want to be up front with your customers so they know what they are buying. It reduces the chances of them coming back later saying it doesn’t work.
  • Same goes for DVD’s etc.

Sort Your Items

You need an organized yard sale to make it easy for your customers to find treasures. Don’t make them work for it because most won’t.
  • Divide all of your items by category: clothes, books, kids’ toys, electronics, kitchen…
  • You may want to further divide items that you have a lot of. For example sort clothes by men’s, women’s, and children’s and maybe by size if needed. 

Price Your Items

Now that your items are sorted we can get down to pricing. These are general guidelines so don’t be afraid to charge as you see fit.

  • Remember your goal is to get rid of stuff and to make some money while doing it.
  • Pricing should be done days before the sale. Not last minute.
  • A good rule of thumb is to charge approximately 25% of the cost to buy the item brand new and 50% if the item is brand new and never been used.
  • Price high value items a little more than your rock bottom price to give yourself room to negotiate because most customers love to haggle and get a better deal.
  • If you just want to get rid of something put a sign on it, make an offer.
  • Take your time when pricing. You want to be fair to yourself and the customer.
  • If you’re not sure about the price, do a little research. Look up prices online or go to a thrift store.
  • If you want to sell an item make sure you put a price tag on it. 
  • I don’t know about you but when I go to a yard sale I’m uncomfortable asking for the price and I know I’m not the only one. I could be missing out on a good deal but at the same time the seller is missing out on a sale.
  • Price tags will make your life so much easier especially when it’s really busy. You don’t want several people calling out to you at the same time for a price.
  • Price tags take the guess work out of it. Everyone helping you with your yard sale won’t have to guess or look to you for a price.
  • Prepping for the Sale
  • Make sure your grass is cut a few days earlier so it isn’t too long on the sale day and you don’t have wet grass clippings sticking to everyone and everything.

  • Tidy up your yard. First impressions are important. You must take care of your belongings if you take care of your yard.
  • Block off areas that you don’t want customers to go. You can use caution tape, streamers – I’m sure you can find something around the house to use.
  • Make sure that everybody working the sale is clear about the rules:
  • How much are you willing to reduce your prices by.
  • Where to keep the money – on them at all times.
  • No bad talking the merchandise. Be honest but in a positive way.
  • Have a plan for your dog. It’s best to keep the family pet out of the way not only for your customer’s safety but for your furry family member too.
  • Map out how you will be arranging your tables, boxes, baskets and clothes line.

Mapping Your Yard Sale

There are a few things to keep in mind when you are deciding where to place merchandise in your yard because you want people to be able to quickly decide if they want to stop at your yard sale and then to make a purchase.

  • You can lure people in by placing the nicer items up front so they can be easily seen from the road. You can further entice them by putting a sign on those items. Mark it with your awesome price or describe it. Super Comfortable or Works Great.
  • Put your chair in a place you can easily see potential customers walking up to your yard sale so you can greet them.
  • Remember all that sorting? Well keep those groups of similar items together and display them in a pleasing manner. Think Walmart. Target. How do they have their store set up? You want to duplicate that layout as best you can. There’s a reason they have toys at the back of the store.
  • Place a box marked free and put in a highly visible place. Keep pulling those customers in.
  • It’s a good idea to keep breakables away from the main traffic area of your sale. 
  • Remember to keep electronics close to the receptacle or extension cord.
  • Have a chair near the books and DVDs so customers can relax while sifting through it all. Make it comfortable for them to keep looking and finding more to buy.

Protecting Your Customers

Since you are inviting everyone onto your property, it is very important to keep their safety in mind.
  • Mark of unsafe areas.
  • Put tape or cardboard around knife blades.
  • Keep glass out of reach for small children.
  • Keep your dogs a safe distance away from your yard sale.

Remember you want to limit your liability.

Throwing Your Garage Sale

  1. Get Ready
    • Give yourself thirty to sixty minutes before the yard sale starts to set up, depending on much you have and how many people are helping you of course.
    • Don’t open before the advertised time unless you have a different plan for early birds.
    • Make sure you have your change in a safe place.
    • Find a comfortable, shaded area to sit. I burn really fast and the sun just makes my freckles pop out like crazy.
    • Have some spare chairs for friends or family who just so happen to drop by on yard sale day.
  2. Get Set
    • Are you all ready for that flood of customers?
  3. Go
    • Say high to people as they are walking towards your yard sale. Something I learned while working in retail. Make them feel comfortable and let them know you are approachable.
    • Don’t hover over your customers but let them know you are available if they have questions.
    • When you get a free minute, walk around your yard sale and think like your customers. Does merchandise placement make sense? Is it easy to maneuver around tables? Is it easy to find what you are looking for? You get the idea.
    • It’s important to keep your yard sale organized. Sold items will leave an empty space. Pull the remaining items closer to each other. Keep it neat and tidy. You will sell more if it is kept organized.
    • Keep an eye open for thieves. But to me, if they want it that bad then they can just have it. I mean they can’t just walk away with everything but a small thing is not a big deal to me.
    • Don’t forget to keep you house locked. Have you heard stories about thieves ram sacking a house when the owners are sitting out back? I have. You will be too busy attending to your yard sale to keep an eye on your home too so lock it up. 
    • Sales clerks and cashiers are taught about add ons. You need to master this art as well. Make suggestions and show them something else they may be interested in. Offer it at a lower price or for free. 
    • Remember to keep a record of how much each item sold for. You will need to know the price in case someone wants a refund but it’s also important when you have a multi-family sale so you can calculate how much goes to each person.
    • Don’t be afraid to let someone know that you are willing to lower your price if something hasn’t sold by the end of the day. If they are seriously interested they can leave their phone number with you.

Most importantly have fun! 

Remember playing store when you were little. Wasn’t it great fun to be the store owner? Besides most people would rather buy from someone who is happy and friendly than a Ms. Grumpy pants.

Providing Refreshments

I think it’s a nice idea to offer refreshments to your customers. You can either sell them or offer it free.

  • Purchase a case of bottled water and put it into a cooler with ice. Sell it at a price where you will make money but not as high as it would cost them at a corner store.
  • Same goes if you want to sell cans of soda.
  • An alternative is to offer a cold drink of water to your customers - have a pitcher of ice water with small disposable cups available and accessible.
  • I know of some people who barbeque and sell hotdogs at their yard sales. I’ve never tried it but I’ve heard it can be a great way to really increase your bottom line.

Wrapping it Up

Now what? You’ll probably still have lots of stuff at the end of your yard. There are a few options for getting rid of the bits left over.

  • You can just put it all on the curb with a free sign. You’d be surprised how quickly the pile disappears.
  • Consider taking the leftovers to a thrift store.
  • Value Village will give you a discount card that gets stamped when you donate so you can save when you make a purchase.
  • Goodwill may give you a receipt for your donated items to use on your next income tax return.
  • Bag it and label it for the next time the Diabetes Association calls looking for donations. 

Lastly, sit back, count your money and enjoy your clutter free home.

Well that’s it for now. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed your time with me.

If you did, please feel free to share the love or opt to follow along on one of the social media platforms. Those friendly little buttons are on the right side bar.

Remember to stop by again next week. I will be posting a Yard Sale Checklist and a few other little goodies for you.

Post a Comment

I love to read your opinions and comments. It makes my day a little bit brighter.

My apologies, all anonymous comments are deleted due to an excessive amount of spam.

Wishing You a Wonderful Week.

1 comment:

  1. My sister had some of her best items stolen from her garage sale last year. A car-full of people bombarded her asking questions about sizes and acting confused. Then they all got back in the car and left. It wasn't until they were long gone that she noticed the missing items. She said if she ever had another garage sale she would keep the expensive items in the house. She also had a few give her their number for an advance viewing in the future.