In Case You’re in the Neighborhood

Tomorrow I am preparing for our yard sale on Friday and Saturday.  We have some tricks up our yard saling sleeves–some of which we discovered when Rachel was preparing for her first yard sale last summer and started deciding what she liked and didn’t like from other people’s yard sales.

  • Price all the important items.  We price most items at one price (say 50 cents for all unmarked) and only actually price the big ticket items. This saves us time and effort and works as a draw when we advertise.  In this case all unmarked will be 50 cents though clothes will probably be $2.00 a bag full–which usually sends mothers scurrying about filling bags as much they can–which is good since we want rid of our 8 garbage bags FULL of clothes!  (We usually walk away from sales with no prices marked–in ours we have HUGE signs saying all of this item is this price.)
  • Set up a canopy a few days before and set some of the stuff under it under a tarp (if you live in a safe to do that area like we do.)  Everyone KNOWS that canopy means a coming yard sale so it is free advertising and it means you don’t have to carry a ton or have too much help day of.  Borrow wone or two–don’t rent them.  By the time you pay for it you have lost your revenue. We milk the neighbors and grands for tables and canopies every year–maybe someday someone will up and buy us one for Christmas or something.:)
  • Once you have the main stuff out of the house search the house for more. I always find all kinds of things I don’t need once I have the worst of it outside. This is why I give myself a week of pondering.   I move all the garbage bags to the garage and walk through the house looking for more.  Believe me I always find more.
  • Plan for rain. I keep tarps and bags available, keep most things under a canopy, keep totes available for the stuff that could get damaged.  This also makes it easy to pack up for the night–just cover everything or stash it and you are good till the next day.
  • Sell cookies and water. I make a ton of cookies a few days before and sell them individually or in small groups.  Since the kids are in charge of the yard sale they have to figure out my cost and reimburse me and they get to convince the customers to “just buy one”.  I have learned that most people can’t pass up a cookie if a 8 or 9 year old tries to sell it.
  • Put out some big items and make sure they are viewable from the road. We have a vintage Kroehler blond wood dresser set that I am putting out (I researched it first, not charging near what I could get but I know I don’t want the fuss.)  Also have some other dressers in the basement, a train table, and a weight bench to sell.  As each large item sells we move something else close to the road to get people to stop.  We are sneaky that way.
  • Have a cause and have it posted. People love to help out.  In our case my kids run the yard sale and are in charge of it (they pay me $! an hour;)).  We post a sign saying that this is our end of the year home school project (which it is even though we don’t do much of the sort of home schooling they think of when we say it.)  For the kids this is a huge lesson–math because they do all the change and are quite good, organization, planning, marketing, social stuff, and more.  It is a great experience and also offers them the opportunity to earn money–in this case to help pay for their best freinds to visit from Texas and to help finance our trip to Ocean City –if we can go.
  • Advertise. And unlike me remember to say WHERE YOU ARE.  Dur.  I posted it to our local non-Freecycle group–the one where we are allowed to sell stuff but forgot to add the address.  When I advertise I mentionsome of the main items we will ahve so people know if it is the sort of sale they are looking for.  I don’t buy an ad because I almost never make enough to pay for it.
  • Put up readable signs.  This is the year of the yard sale–really it is.  Everyone and their brother is having a yard sale this year.  The thing is that either they forget to price, aren’t organized, or have a whimpy sign that you have to squint to read–not so good whyen you are driving by at 35, 45, 55 mph.  I have seen so many signs made of pen on card board it is unbelievable.  We use old house paint and old pieces of wood and make large signs that are easy to read (dark blue on white because that is what I had.)  Another favorite of mine is white garbage bag over a board with black electrical tape words.  It works well and can be read from a 1/2 mile away–longer but we have hills and they are way nearer than 1/2 a mile between.
  • Place your signs well.  We place a sign at the huge intersection 1 mile away, at all the intersection nearby, and on both sides of our house.  The signs have balloons and arrows on them.  We use the same signs over and over so when people see those signs they know it is us.
  • Make sure you have lunch ready and waiting so you don’t have to cook or spend the money you are earning on takeout.
  • FInally have LOTS of change and bags. And have them the day before in case someone stops while youa re setting up.

So if you are traveling through Western Pa an hour north of Pittsburgh (or if you already live nearby–you all know who you are) stop by.  Did I mention I have eight huge garbage bags full of clothes the kids have grown out of?  4T through Juniors 5.  And 3 bags full of toys?  Please come, I am begging you!  I want RID OF IT!