While the art of a yard sale may seem pretty straightforward, simple alterations in timing, pricing, and display can make the difference between a successful sale and a full-on flop. To help you navigate the process, here are the dos and don’ts of selling your unwanted wares the good old-fashioned way. Follow these tried-and-true tips and you may just strike gold.
10 Tips for Having a Successful Yard Sale
1. Title Your Event Wisely
“Estate Sale” or “Moving Sale” implies that you’re liquidating a house’s contents, and can earn you more than “Garage Sale.”
2. Drum Up Attention
Place ads in local newspapers, online, or on public bulletin boards. Reserve signs for the day of the event, and only include the sale’s date, time, and directional arrows to its location.
Make sure your signs are readable from a distance that will give a driver time to slow down and turn. That means bold, thick, black letters on large, brightly colored posterboard, readable from a few hundred feet down the road.
3. Offer Freebies
While you shouldn’t hand out items without a catch, encourage people to spend more with buy-one-get-one deals, which let you truthfully advertise free goods.
4. Don’t Forget Friday
Many experts maintain that Sunday is the best day for a sale, since people tend to reserve Saturdays for running errands. But Seavey advises, “Start your sale earlier in the week than you think. Believe it or not, the best day of the week to hold a sale is Friday, as this is when most dealers and retired people will come.”
5. Time It Right
Most business generally happens in the morning, says Seavey, so it’s best to get an early start. Open for business at around 9 a.m. and finish up in the late afternoon.
6. Don’t Toss Workshop Leftovers
Building supplies and materials, including leftover lumber, old tools, gutter segments, and remainders of stone or marble are some of the hottest items, claims Seavey. Just arrange like items together, and if they’re heavy, prop them against a wall.
7. Get the Go-Ahead from Officials
Before a sale, check with your municipality to ensure you’re following local rules and guidelines. For example, some towns require permits or restrict you from having more than a few sales a year. You should also make yourself aware of federal regulations regarding the resale of items like baby furniture, which can pose risks because of recalls.
8. Display Merchandise with Care
Never place items, unless they’re pieces of furniture, on the ground. Rather, hang items or place them on tables, and cover those tables with sheets or tablecloths to give your sale a neater look.
9. Price Goods Based on Condition
Seavey, our expert, likes to follow the 50-30-10 rule: She sells almost-new items at 50 percent of retail; slightly used items at 25-30 percent of retail; and used items at 10 percent of retail. Even if you believe something is worth more, think about what you would consider to be a bargain price; your backyard is not an antique shop, and yard-sale browsers are there to get a deal.
10. Tag Everything
Avoid wasting time and attention haggling with customers over prices by affixing tags in an easy-to-find spot on each item (unless you group them with other similar products that all cost one set price).