Lessons from a Yard Sale

Things are finally warming up out there and yard sales are springing up like tulips. I just had my moving sale this past week. Since I’m not only moving house, towns, states, and countries, I really needed everything to go. This was no time to be sentimentally attached. Almost everything did go! In fact, the whole day was gloriously sunny, easy, and fun. I learned some things from this, my fifth or sixth yard sale, so I decided to share:

1. Enlist the kind assistance of a friend.

I had the support of the world’s best friend. I couldn’t have done it without him. There were way too many people, and they, of course, always arrived in pods. Plus, Marty kept reminding me that I wanted stuff gone at the end of the day. It helped me detach when offers were less than what I’d hoped. And that made me overall more successful in the end. Of course, the laughing helped.

2. Do it in one day.

The night before the sale, looking at my living room of “stuff”, I was actually leery of whether or not I’d be able to sell much in only one day, but thankfully, one day was all I needed. I made sure my signs and listings online said “one day only”. Thank God I still has my Sunday to myself!

3. Don’t pay the newspaper to advertise what you can advertise online for free.

My local newspaper quoted me $35 to list an ad. They only offered one package. All I wanted was a couple of lines running the day before the sale. Nope. Not possible. Good. I didn’t need them anyway! Instead, I created an event page on Facebook, shared the event on local yard sale group pages, used a yahoo group list I subscribe to, and posted on several free online sites like Yardsale.net. I had great results. And of course, two days before the sale, I put out a sign at the end of my block off the main road which screamed “One Day Only Moving Sale” with all the details in neon yellow and black. That was sufficient.

4. Don’t bother pricing anything.

Since I’ve been showing my house and having to keep it very clean and neat, I waited until the night before the sale to start pulling everything out of closets (though I knew what I was going to sell weeks ago). I was feeling very overwhelmed that I hadn’t really priced anything, let alone sorted it all out. I started to do what I could, first organizing items into categories and then pricing the bigger items. I just got so tired, I stopped. Something was telling me, not just my exhausted self, not to worry about it. So I didn’t.

Not having prices on stuff was awesome. I didn’t waste my time labeling, and instead of thinking up prices, I had people make offers. Oh, what ease! For me anyway. I did know what I wanted for certain items, but all the little stuff, heck, I just wanted it gone. People were fair in their offers, too. Some shoppers didn’t like that, and yet, no one shied away from doing so. 90% of the time, their offer was accepted, and whoosh went all my stuff.

5. Have a box of free stuff available.

I highly, highly recommend this. I had a small box of things that people could take for free. I kept refilling it with inexpensive items throughout the day. People loved that box, man! And maybe it was my imagination, but it seemed like once they took something from the free box, they were more willing to look around and spend. And if I raised their offer, they didn’t haggle me down. It was also a great way to make sure all those “little” things were gone by the end of the day.

6. Start early on social media and wrap up on social media.

I actually started my sale back in March with a virtual event on Facebook and a page here on this blog, so it wasn’t an overnight success by any means. I’d been putting energy into this for weeks. I took pictures of everything and kept a list with prices for people to peruse. I sold a few items early on, but most of my stuff went at the yard sale.

At the end of my one day sale, I still had a few items left, but now I could manage selling them item by item on Facebook and Craigslist. By the end of following day, Sunday, I only had a loveseat, a desktop computer, and a box of mostly linens and hangers (because I forgot to put out the rest of my hangers the day of the sale) left. Pretty darn good!

What are your best yard sale tips?


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