Tips for a Successful Yard Sale

Reader Contribution by Beth Beavers

It is almost spring, and for most of us that means de-cluttering our homes from all the things we’ve acquired over the winter. Instead of throwing away what you no longer need, consider throwing a yard sale. It’s a great way to make some extra cash while “recycling” things you don’t need anymore.

A successful yard sale takes a little extra effort, but it is worth the time and energy you put in. To make your sale worth your investment of time, Karen West offers 120 garage sale tips in her guide Yard Sale Success. Here are 9 tips from the booklet:

1. Consider everything for your inventory because anything might sell! Remember that a customer may want to use an item for something different than its intended purpose. Creative people, especially, buy things to serve as “raw material” for something else they’re going to make.

2. Inform customers of problems that might not be obvious. If you’ve had problems opening a dresser drawer, attach a note that says “drawer sticks.” People will appreciate your honesty and more seriously consider other things you’re selling.

3. Make the math easy for you and your customers, price items using only multiples of 25 cents.

4. Start before 8 a.m. and end before 2 p.m. If you open earlier than other sales, you will attract the serious shoppers with money to spend at your sale first. You don’t have to sell all day long, especially if you start early. Besides, most shoppers will visit before noon.

5. Consider posting signs on your cars and parking them in strategic locations. Park on streets and at corners leading to your street, close to any neighbors’ sales that customers will see before they see yours, and in any location where a posted sign is not allowed but a car is.

6. Have an extension cord and batteries available to prove that all electrical and battery-operated items work.

7. Give parents with children the chance to shop. Fill a low box (remove top flaps) with assorted small toys and other odds and ends, and post a sign on it that reads “25 cents each.” Set the box off to the side but still in clear view. Parents will appreciate their children being able to rummage through this box while they shop for bargains. You might even allow a child whose parent spends at least $1 to take an item for free.

8. Ask for less than the actual total. If a purchase totals $5.50, ask $5.00. It’s a nice surprise for a customer who is not expecting it, and it may motivate your customers within earshot to buy more. Goodwill gestures go a long way in encouraging more sales.

9. Be generous by donating whatever items didn’t sell. Local charities always need contributions. You might even be able to arrange a pickup the same day as your sale.

If you’re interested in purchasing the booklet with all 120 suggestions, you can get 20 percent off if you order online and use the coupon code EARTHNEWSMAG.

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