I didn’t post a TT last week because I haven’t been feeling too hot. I was sitting at my computer when it dawned on me that unless I got my butt in gear I was gonna miss another one this week. Once I decided to post a TT, I created a new button for fall. I’m so proud of myself. I’m learning how to use Paint to create my own stuff, so much fun. Anyway, now that I have my button, the question I was faced with was, “What in the world should this weeks post be about”? Then, it hit me. I’m getting ready to have a yard sale and I thought, why not post 13 things you should do to have a successful event.
1. Give everyone in the house (that is old enough to determine what to keep and what not to keep) 3 big boxes. If you can’t get a hold of boxes, use the 30, 33 or 39 gallon trash bags. Have them go through their rooms and put any items in the boxes they no longer want or need such as toys, clothes, books, costume jewelry, moves, music etc. One one box write in big letters, Yard Sale, on another write, Donate and on the last one write, TRASH. Of course, you get to go through the boxes once they are done and make the final determination of where the items should really go. If you prefer to use boxes (like me) you can buy them at Lowe’s or Home Depot or Sam’s club. What I like about them is that when you are done with them, you can unfold them and make them flat and store them away. If you like dumpster diving, sometimes you can find boxes behind stores like Target, Bed Bath and Beyond. If you know someone that works in the store, you can ask them to save the boxes for you, or ask when they get deliveries and see if they’ll let you have the emptied boxes.
2. Once everyone has gone through their things it’s time to hit the attic, basement, hall closets, linen closet, kitchen cabinets, the tool shed and any other storage container that hasn’t been gone through and do the same thing with these items as listed in item # 1.
3. Now, for the Trash box, it’s a good idea to start going through your things at a time so that you get everyone to fill the boxes a day or two before Trash Day so you don’t have a ton of boxes laying around.
4. As for the Donations box, you can give it to your local Church, Goodwill, Red Cross, Purple Heart or Military Veterans. If you aren’t in a hurry to get the items out of your house you can also post them on www.craigslist.org for your local area. Remember to write down the date of the donation and the fair market value for tax purposes.
5. Now that you have your things narrowed down to just the yard sale items, it’s time to clean them up and price them. You can make price tags out of paper and tape them onto the items, or you can staple them onto the tags of clothing. You can also go to your local office supply store and purchased pre-printed labels/dots/tags. They usually come in denominations of 25 cents to 5 dollars and then there are a few blank ones you can write your own prices on. You can also use a color code system and have a few charts floating around for customers to see. For example, items with a yellow dot are $1, blue dot items are $2. etc. It’s also a neat idea when you have a BOGO offer like buy one get another half off. This works especially well toward the end of your day when things slow down and you don’t want to have a lot of left over items that you either end up throwing out or donating.
6. Set a date and start/end time. Also make sure you have a rain date just in case. Make sure you give yourself enough time between getting the stuff together for the yard sale and the date you have the sale. (You may want to check with your local clerks office to see if you need a permit to have a yard sale. My first yard sale the police stopped by and asked to see my permit. They let me off with a warning since I was new to the neighborhood but don’t take any chances, some towns give stiff fines!) Also, make sure you don’t clash with a big event that will keep potential customers away.
7. ADVERTISE, ADVERTISE, ADVERTISE. List your event on your local craigslist, newspapers, email friends and family and ask them to email their friends and family. If you are on any volunteer groups for your community or church ask them to pass the word. When you place your ad, it’s a good idea to tell viewers if you have furniture, tools, baby items, appliances.. Make sure you list your rain date in your ad so you don’t have to advertise again. If your event is a multi family event, or if you have a lot of things to sell, or must sell because your moving – let people know. For example – Multi-Family Yard Sale, or HUGE Yard Sale, We’re Moving Yard Sale.
8. Make large signs using yellow tag board with large black letters. The more signs the better, but don’t have less than 2. Post them on a busy street near yours and have one facing in each direction. You can embellish your signs with balloons or long flowing ribbons to attract attention. Put your signs up a few days before your sale to generate interest.
9. A day or two before your yard sale go through your piggy bank or change collection and dig out your change or go to the bank and get yourself a roll of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. You will also want to have at least $20 in ones, a few fives, tens and a twenty. You will want to have a good cash box on hand to keep your cash. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a waist apron with pockets they come in handy when handling several transactions at one time – make sure the pockets are deep enough.
10. Save the plastic bags from the store and ask friends and neighbors to save theirs for you too. They come in handy when bagging your customers purchases.
11. If you are selling clothes, it’s always nice if you can display them on hangars. You can do this by stringing rope between two poles or trees or use a free standing garment rack.
12. If you don’t have portable tables you can use to display your smaller items, consider renting a few. You can also create a make-shift table by taking your husbands saw-horses and laying a piece of plywood on top (cover it with a old sheet or table cloth to avoid splinters). You can also use TV trays . The easier it is for your customers to browse your wares, the more likely they will take their time and do more than just glance over your items. It’s always a good idea to have a comfy chair for those working the sale and if you have a tent or canopy USE IT!
13. Start setting up at least 1 hour before your sale is scheduled to begin. Be prepared for early birds. One time I had people show up the night before wanting to look through my stuff. I politely apologized and told them that everything was boxed up but they could stop back again tomorrow while I was setting up. Don’t let them bully you and unless your know them personally, don’t let them in your home! When you lay your items out, try to keep some order to your displays and make sure your potential buyers can easily see prices. You can also make a few extra dollars by selling baked goods and a beverage. If the weather is cool, coffee, tea and hot chocolate are great sellers and if it’s hot, iced tea and lemonade are big sellers. Greet your customers with a big smile and hello. I like to have a boom box with a CD playing upbeat music in the background (not too loud). Be prepared to have early birds show up before your sale begins.
Be Prepared. Heed the saying, Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance! Good luck and happy Yard Sale-ing to you all.