Having a yard sale sounds like a great idea for downsizing and organizing. However, a lot of work will need to go into the job. This is not a five minute job, it takes a lot of time to get everything together, tagged and ready for a sale. Then, you need to let people know about it.
Get together with your neighbors.
A group yard sale does much better than one home. More stuff equals more shoppers. Another advantage is if there is paid advertising, you can share in the cost.
You will not make a fortune.
Yard sales are for bargain hunters. Do not expect to make a lot of money. You will not be able to buy a car, but you might be able to go out with friends for a nice dinner with the proceeds from the sale. The main idea is to downsize, not to generate income. The money is just a perk. You will avoid paying someone to haul these things away and you can take satisfaction in the fact that someone wants to use them.
Make the price significantly lower than the original price or you will not sell anything. If you paid $10, make it $1-$2. The idea is to sell as much as possible, so price it to move. Put a price tag or sticker on everything you are selling to avoid confusion at sale time.
If you have some things like old CDs, magazines or other little things that you want to give away, that is attractive to yard sale customers. It saves you from recycling or throwing things away and it generates goodwill.
When setting up your yard, place things that go together in the same area. Put kids outfits and toys together in one spot, sports equipment in another. Hang up clothing, if at all possible.
Design of the sale
Set up as much as you can on tables. Borrow tables if necessary, it will be worth it. No one wants to spend a day bending down to look at things on the ground. Make sure there is plenty of aisle space for people to walk around while they shop. If things do need to go on the ground, put something under your wares like a tarp or tablecloth. It will look better than if objects are directly on the grass.
“Not for sale” items
If you are sitting on a nice chair, people might want to buy it. Clearly mark things “not for sale” to keep people from being confused. If your tarp on the ground is not for sale, be sure to mark it.
Put people at ease
Never use high-pressure tactics to sell things. It is not a good idea to follow people around as they shop. It is intimidating and might drive away customers. Play soft music (with your CD player marked “not for sale”). You can even sell chilled water if it is hot that day.
Spread the word
Make sure the lettering on your signage is large enough for people to see when driving past. Craigslist.com has free listings for yard sales. People like to see them at least a few days in advance to plan their yard sale trips. Newspaper classified ads are another option. If it is a group of houses having the sale, be sure to mention that it is a multi-family yard sale in the ad. You can also mention any nicer pieces that are available.
Have electricity available
People do not want to buy electronics that do not work. Have an extension cord, and be sure it is made for use outdoors, where you can plug in anything that needs electricity so people can give it a try.
Do not keep anything
Either donate, trash or give away everything left at the end of the sale. Again, the idea is to get rid of excess, not to hold on to mementos.
Use these tips to ensure a smooth-running yard sale. Let us know how your sale goes.