Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Yard Sale Tips and Tricks

I can smell the coffee, see the Google maps and I can hear the quarters jingling! It must be a yard sale!

As you know, we had a yard sale last Saturday and it was a huge success. A lot of it thanks to you! I sold $165 worth of merchandise from this little blog post alone. Thank you so much! And our garage thanks you. We love a yard sale and so I'm linking this post to Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries.

Overall we made $500- $600 {sorry to drop numbers, but that's what everybody wants to know, right?} and still have the bed left to sell {on Craigslist if you are interested} so we are hoping to make a little more than that. Not too shabby for a Friday night prep and Saturday morning!

If you want to have a yard sale of your own, it's not too late in the season to give it a go!
Here are some pointers:

1. That's what friends are for
Get yard sale buddies! I have some girlfriends who I've been doing this with for about 8 years. They will tell you what your old, scratched mirror is really worth. And they will most likely buy your good stuff before other people do. {Not that I bought/ swapped anything. Uh, uh. Not me. *ahem*}

2. Signs, signs everywhere signs
* Signage is key. My yard sale buddy, Kat, has a sister who is a graphic designer and made us 2 feet x 3 feet HUGE stand up signs. They are white with black writing {like the newspaper- and this blog- so people can read them} and have gigantic, bold letters. Put up the signs late the night before so you don't have to worry about it in the morning. This is especially fun when you are delirious and can't figure out which way to point the arrow to your own house.

* Also, advertise in the paper if that's where everyone reads about your local yard sales. Our paper has an online link, too, that comes with the ad.

This is what my ad said:
"Pottery Barn and Pier 1 furniture & accents at Yard sale prices." Then I listed several of the big things we were selling that would be the most common things people are searching.
Be to the point and just try to get people there.

* It also doesn't hurt to put big huge things out front so people know which house to charge in on before sunrise.
Attention getters

3. Money, money, money, money.... MUH- NAY
* Get plenty of ones/ quarters as change the day before. Nothing is going to be open at 6 am on Saturday.
* Price everything the night before so people don't have to ask what the price is. That is a big hassle for you and you will be busy. Also, make as many group signs as you can, especially with clothes or many items that are the same {e.g. All Picture Frames $1}. A good garage sale rule is the same as a consignment sale: price things no greater than 1/3 of the original price. A lot of times it will be MUCH lower. But look at it as cleaning out your house and you won't be upset.

[Let me interrupt this post: I am innowayshapeorform trying to bill myself as a used goods guru- consignment sale, now yard sale- but it has come to my attention that I am THAT. WOW. Sad, but true.]

* Wear an apron for change and make trips inside your house to deposit bigger bills {and sneak snacks}. This also shows that you are the person to accept money.

4. Pretty woman, walking down the street
Make it look like a store! We know this isn't Rodeo Drive, but it makes shopping SO much easier if you:
* Have as many tables as possible {nobody likes to dig through boxes on the ground}.
* Create "departments" for all the areas and display your things nicely.
This was our children's department:
Toy Department
And our home goods department {You can see clothing hung on rolling racks in the background. Dionne, my other yard sale buddy, rented those from a local party rental store for $7! They were great!!}:
Home good department

5. Here's a quarter, call someone who cares
You must be willing to "negotiate". Seasoned yard salers NEVER pay full price for anything. Mark things a tad {teensy weensy} bit higher than you'd accept and then take less than that. And you will most likely end up taking even less because these people are taking junk from your home and by 10 am you are grateful for them!
A common question is: "How much will you take for this?" Even on an item that is clearly marked.
Everything is negotiable.

Quick story of when I snapped:
A woman walked up to me to "check out" with a huge amount of items. She asked me to tally it all up {TWICE} and the total was $5.75. Then she asked if I would take $5 for it.
"Sure", I said, trying to do the math then between the 3 different people I was taking money for/ subtracting, etc.
Then she hands me a $10 bill {Not a $5! Hello?!} and said, she "would just hate for me to have to make change from that uneven number".
I told her I was actually very good at math {or something not quite as rude}.

Then she walks up to another item in the homegoods department and asks if I would take 50 cents for something that was marked $1.
I told her no. No, I would not.
She told me I was "mean".
I politely informed her I had just given her a discount on all the items she bought and then walked away before the COPS show was at my house. {I can hear the "Bad Boys, Bad Boys" music now. This is where the no sleep came into play; I really was nice to everyone else.}

My wonderful husband took it from there and later came up to me with a dollar from her.

6. Morning has broken, like the first morning
Be ready for early shoppers. We advertised that we opened at 6am because we knew people would be there then {especially with the new time change and early sunrise} and we might as well be open and willing to take their money first!

Here is our first shopper at 5am perusing some comforters {he didn't buy them}:
First shopper- 5 am
The vast majority started arriving at 5:45 am and they all knew each other and were already comparing notes for the day! A little community of bargain hunters, they live for early morning Saturdays!

Hopefully these tips will help for your next yard sale! You can do it!
It is a LOT of work to drag things out, dust them, prepare as if it were Macy's, but it is worth it and LOADS of fun!
As long as COPS doesn't show up.

: : : : : : : : :

A few more updates for you wonderful readers who have been asking:
- Henry is feeling much better. He pigged out at lunch today and that perked him right back up. But he did not eat his brownie, so I am again questioning whether or not he's mine, but he is feeling better.

- Jason and I didn't get to go to this Halloween party that was postponed by the swine flu.
Jason did get to wear his costume to work, though.
Can you tell who he was?

This photo doesn't have the yellow balloons he carried around all day...
Now you know!
Ed MacMahon
He was Ed MacMahon.
And I was to be Claudine Cornhauler. I had a maroon velvet moo-moo, slippers, green face mask and curlers and didn't get to wear a thing {THANG!}. I was going to be surprised all night- and be getting a facial the whole time- so I was really looking forward to it.

A HUGE shout out and thank you to my new friend, Brooke, for this fun idea!

Oh well, maybe Claudine will get to make an appearance next year.
And if you're wondering where that name came from, Jason found it here. And I apologize to all the Claudine Cornhaulers of the world.
No disrespect meant.
You did win 100 million dollars, though, so you should be okay with it; that's a lot of yard sale money.


Jodi Davis said...

I love me a good garage sale to buy and sell. This summer I had my first garage sale where 99% of the stuff sold. I was so excited! Thanks for the great tips. It's too cold to have one where I live but I cannot wait until next year!! :)

Anonymous said...

Loved this whole post, but I just have to say "Oh, no!" about the redneck names. Not only is my husband's blog name on the list, but so are his *real* first and middle names!

Glad you did so well at the yard sale!

Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect said...

The Ed McMahon glasses really made it.

Glad your sale went so well. I, unfortunately, HATE garage/yard sales with all my heart. However, my cold, cold heart might be thawed if I actually thought I could make $500. Seriously.

Melissa @ The Littlest Lobo said...

Oh Hillary,
I cannot believe you sold that beautiful cedar hope chest! That's something you should have held on to!
I am wondering whose white with pink wheels rollerskates you were selling...
I love the Halloween costume idea. The redneck baby name website scares me, A LOT!

Jennifer said...

I would also add that you should NEVER take checks from buyers. One year we refused and kicked ourselves because the item she wanted never sold. So the next year we were more interested in selling things and accepted a check and of course, it was bad. Our only redemption came when a friend of ours (who works from the secret service on check fraud) ran it through his system and it came up that the lady had already been arrested for writing a bad check at Walmart. So the pretty picture frames she stole from us sit alone in her house while she sits in jail.

brooke said...

I am so impressed at the your success at the yard sale. I don't think we've ever made that much and I'm not sure that I ever wanna do it was a nightmare!!! Great tips though!

Also...Great Ed Macmahon look alike!!! Good job...stinks you didn't get to go to the party. :( Thanks so much for the shout out!!

Susannah said...

Dontcha just love those garage sale patrons who are are so cheap that they want you to give it away! But wow, you guys did well to get that much money!! Hooray!

thediaperdiaries said...

Great tips. I LOVE shopping garage sales. Don't love throwing them, but I made a ton of money on the last one I had.

I CANNOT believe you got up so early and had people come by at 5am!! That is INSANE!!

Rebekah said...

I love the costume! :) We did a yardsale over a year ago, I laughed remembering the 'yardsale crew' of people that came to ours.

Matt, Carrie, Lucy and Molly Allen said...

love the costume! would've loved to see you dressed up too! congrats on the yard sale too...

Kim said...

Kudos! Maybe I should send my stuff to you so you can play Vanna White with it. We have done pretty well with yard sales in the past, but not $500 good (somewhere in the $250 range). I wish the party had worked out for you. Those pics would be priceless - or worth at least $100 mil.

Antique Mommy said...

Lately I've been dropping by garage sales on Friday morning after dropping off the 5YO at school and I've found some good stuff. I look for toys and books for the boy or the small furniture pieces that I can go all artsy fartsy on.

I like going to garage sales, but I would never have one. I'm too lazy. And our neighborhood only allows you to have them twice a year on certain weekends.

I would totally have shopped your sale and bought that cedar trunk.

Carrie said...

That costume is hilarious! Did he go around saying "Yes!" and "Hey-O!" all day long?

Melissa Stover said...

good tips. our last yard sale was a flop and i swore i'd never do it again. i do love to go to them though.

Elizabeth said...

That is an awesome idea for Halloween outfits. If I were there I would hand you a stone with "You rock" painted on it. So stinking funny!

Elizabeth said...

That is an awesome idea for Halloween outfits. If I were there I would hand you a stone with "You rock" painted on it. So stinking funny!

Anonymous said...

Dear Author !
Thanks for support how I can thank you?

Anonymous said...

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And you et an account on Twitter?

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