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Plea for help! (yard sale questions)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks in advance for even reading my ramblings. I've just started frequenting this part of MDC & I've learned so, so, so very much from y'all...

I need to seriously declutter my disgustingly cluttered home. I know that & I've started. DH & I are also making a VERY concerted effort to seriously reduce our very irresponsible debt.

So, I want to have a huge yard sale. But, I have never had a good one. Once, the only thing people wanted was my change bowl. Does anyone have a checklist/planner/to-do list/site for planning a good yard sale? Gimmicks? Did anyone ever sell drinks or anything, too? I don't know where to start! I realize that a yard sale isn't going to make me rich (as if!) but it seems to help with both of our goals - decluttering and finding extra money anywhere.

Would it be better if I organized a street-wide sale? Another lady on the street used to do this. Everyone paid $1 or $2 towards the advertisements, signs, etc. BUT - she got totally POed because some people said they didn't want to do it, but "conveniently" scheduled their own, independent yard sales for the same day. (Nice, eh?) Honestly, that wouldn't bother me. If I'm going to have a big yard sale, I'm going to advertise anyway. KWIM? I am weird and love to organize "events," so it would actually be fun for me. I'm just wondering if that competition will "hurt" my business or if it would "help" because people are drawn to multiple house sales. (???)

Anything else I should think of? I've heard holiday weekends aren't the best, but our street sales were on the 4th of July weekend in the past.

Thanks!
post #2 of 11
My opinions from a veteran yard saler...

1. Good signs - make up good visible signs. Make them all look alike so when someone is following they know they aren't going in circles. Don't bother with details, just G-Sale and an arrow is plenty, make sure you can see it from down the road - I like to write in black marker on neon posterboard, really big. Put plenty of signs from all the nearby major roads.

2. Lay out all of your stuff for folks to see. This is a common mistake - things are in boxes that people have to dig through - lay things out. Don't put things on the ground if you can help it - the more that is on tables the better. If you have to put stuff on the ground, lay out big sheets and put the stuff on that. If you are selling clothing, hang it up and hang it around so it can be seen easily.

3. Price it right. If you really do have quality new condition stuff, do price it right, but if its crap, price it to sell!! Consider that some things are at every yard sale in the world, so it doesn't matter if it sells for $4 in the store, its barely worth 5 cents. (Kitchen wares, candles and holders, decorative items are all like this)

4. Competition is good. When I yard sale I am often looking for particular things, so I like to browse a lot of sales, I always go in the direction of multiple signs! If I get to one yard sale and see another down the street, I'm going to check that one out too.

5. SELL SELL SELL. If someone expresses an interest in something you have, if they make you any offer at all - don't let them walk away without that item! It's okay to negotiate, but don't be to tough, if they will only pay $5, its better to have that item out of here and $5 in your pocket than have htem walk away because they won't pay $7, kwim?

6. I personally don't pay for advertising. I advertise on craigslist, that's it. Never had a problem. If craigslist in your area isn't big, then you could do the advertising route, but honestly if you pick a good weekend and put your signs up in a public area you should be good. I would only spring for advertising if you live in an out of the way place that wouldn't get a lot of traffic otherwise.

Those are my thoughts!
post #3 of 11
One little tidbit is if you want to get rid of it price it to get rid of it and keep it separate from the good stuff. With gas being the way it is, I would rather someone take it for me and pay me a little than pay for gas to go donate it, not to mention the manpower if you have big stuff or a lot of stuff. I even gave kids toys away, b/c our donation location doesn't except toys and I didn't want them going in the trash. Plus, they usually entertain kids so their parent can shop!
post #4 of 11
Do I need to put prices on everything? Can people just make offers? It took me FOREVER to price everything last time..I don't have time to do that this time!
post #5 of 11
I have priced individually and I have not priced. Both ways I've done great in selling. With no prices you can make up as the day goes along.
post #6 of 11
With clothes you can just have a table thats .50 apiece or a $1 a bag for example.

IMO the reason for the sale is to get rid of stuff so cheap cheap cheap, let people offer a price if they don't like yours.

People like block sales, less driving and more stuff to look at I wouldn't charge people though just let your neighbors know on such and such date I am having a sale, I mean your advertising anyway.

Have fun, remember the reason is to declutter.
post #7 of 11
We have a couple yard sales every year, but we have the most low maintenance sales ever. We are just too lazy to do labor intensive ones.

1. We decide a time to have the yard sale then send an email out to all friends offering them the chance to sell stuff at our sale. All leftover stuff gets left out with a free sign, and then on Monday gets picked up by Salvation Army.

2. Once we have that email taken care of, we place an ad on Craigslist.org with time, details, address, etc. We always put NO EARLYBIRDS because we are never ready for people before our stated start time. And since we always have a couple friends participating and usually our neighbor puts out a few things too we usually list it as a multi-family sale to get more traffic.

3. The day before the yard sale we finish gathering everything up, we make a couple pricing signs, (ie all clothing $1 each, all vinyl records 50cents each, etc). We dont price everything individually b/c there just isnt the time frankly. It hasnt seemed to hinder our sales so far.
We also sometimes have refreshments. Our last sale it was cold and a little rainy, so we have a thermos of coffee with paper cups for free. In the summer we often have cookies 50cents, sodas/juices 75cents. So if that is happening, we try to get that prepped.

4. The day of, we wake up kinda early, put out the tables, start putting the stuff out and try to have it be slightly organized by type of item. My dh usually puts out the signs (old a-boards with yard sale, our address and time) at the major intersections and goes to get change. We usually have the radio going and a couple chairs out to hang out in.

5. Then we hang out and wait for people.

6. When the sale is over we push all items together in one area and we have a sign that dh made that is huge and says "Free Crap". Usually most everything is gone by the end of the day. If there are some kinda cool items left we Freecycle them and/or have Salvation Army come pick up the leftovers.


Good luck with your sale. It is soooooo freeing and liberating to get rid of clutter!
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
WOW! Thank you all so much!

I've gone from dreading the process to being thoroughly stoked about it.



Seriously - thanks so much.
post #9 of 11
I want to have a yard sale but I live in an apt complex. I'm single and can't get anyone to help me (I just need someone to watch my stuff outside as I bring stuff down!).
Any ideas on how I can do this???
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Do you have anyone who has a house (or maybe a trusted friend in the building) that would be willing to go in on a sale with you? One of my co-workers lives in an apartment & has a yardsale with a group of friends at her parent's house. I think she said they advertise it as a multi-family sale & get lots of traffic.

I dunno - just a thought...

Good luck!
post #11 of 11
Well, i don't have a way of transporting my stuff to someone else's house so that wouldn't work.
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