When your basement is filled with boxes of unwanted items, the first thought is to throw them away. But instead of that, why not hold a yard sale that clears clutter and earns you some cash. Follow these tips to hold a successful, money-making yard sale!
Create attractive displays. When you're laying out your goods, think like a store owner. Group items on tables by type and size, hang clothing on a rack, neatly fan out books or magazines, and stuff purses with tissue paper so they look new. Keep everything off the ground; exhibit your wares at waist height so they're more accessible.
Consider your customer. Entice browsers to stick around by selling bottles of water, soda and prepackaged snacks or doughnuts. Play quiet background music to help them relax. Another smart store tactic: Keep kids occupied while their parents shop. You can set out a "free box" for them with small items like fast-food toys, old coloring books and crayons, etc.
Schedule to draw crowds. Plan your sale for a Saturday, when people have time to stop and shop. Mornings and early afternoons tend to bring in the most profits, so start around 8 or 9 a.m. Since early birds may come by sooner, set out display tables the night before so you can stock them quickly in the morning.
Be wise about how much you charge. Price your goods at around a quarter of their current retail cost. Using a thick black marker, write the price on a sticker and affix it to the sale item (don't write directly on your merchandise). After an item sells, remove the sticker and place it in a notebook to help keep track of profits. Make sure you have a safe place to keep change: You'll need at least $100 worth of coins and bills, especially singles.
You've set the stage, now you need to spread the word with attention-grabbing advertisements. Try these methods to attract people to your sale.
Put up bold signs. On neon poster board, write "Yard Sale," your street address, the day and the time of the event in thick, black letters.
Place the posters up at major intersections. (Remember to take down all signs afterward or you may be fined.)
Post fliers. Go into more detail on fliers: Mention popular items and brands you're selling. Buzzwords like "vintage" also attract customers. Tack fliers onto your town's bulletin boards.
Promote it. A classified ad in your local newspaper is a great way to drum up business. Time the ad so it appears two days beforehand. Costs are usually minimal: Call your local paper to check.
Use the Internet. Post details about your sale on community Web sites or message boards, as well as sites with larger audiences, like craigslist.org or yardsalesearch.com. Make a short video showing interesting items you're selling, and you can even advertise on YouTube.
Attract attention. The day of the sale, tie balloons or flags to your mailbox and any signs you have posted. Snag passers-by by placing eye-catching products, like furniture or a big stuffed animal, in front of your house, near the curb.
Now that you have the customers, put your best sale skills to use!. And don't forget to enjor the day—no one wants to deal with a grumpy sales person!
Source: Chris Heiska, Lusby, Md., yard-sale "addict" and founder of yardsalequeen.com.