Last weekend I had the misfortune of having a garage sale. Prior to the sale, I did my usual and googled “yard sale tips” to see what I could come up with. I wanted to make my sale as successful as possible! I came up with some and I asked for more tips on our FB page, and as always, our readers came through, so I thought I’d share what I learned here.
So here we go, my top ten yard sale tips.
1) Hang clothes up. Yes, it is a pain in the butt to put clothes on hangers, but it is worth it – it makes it so much easier for the buyers to look through everything. I scavenged hangers from all of our closets, begged some off of my grandma and my sister, and bought some from the dollar store. I still didn’t have enough, so I didn’t hang the things I was marking 2/$1. I put those in a bin, and later in the day spread out on a sheet, and even though they were priced lower, they didn’t sell as well as the hanging things did.
2) Color code. I got this idea from my grandma, and while I originally had visions of pricing everything individually, I quickly realized that color coding was a good plan. I bought garage sale stickers that were in three colors, and I made signs that indicated which color meant $1, $2 & $3. Much faster! It was confusing to a few people, but most people were able to figure it out. For the few things I had that I priced higher, I just wrote the amount on the sticker.
3) Price things right. Celia from Deals for Dayton gives this advice, “Price stuff for what you would pay for it. Try to let go of emotional attachment, and forget how much you paid for it.” Those last two things were tough for me, but for the most part I think I priced things fairly.
4) Take what they’ll give. Tons and tons of people said “Will you take…?” and every single time my answer was “Yes.” I got $5 less for my highchair than I had hoped, but it was still more than I would have gotten for it had it ended up in the Goodwill pile at the end of the day.
5) Your trash could be their treasure. Here’s reader Julie Stevenson’s advice, “Put out anything and everything you’re thinking about getting rid of. It can always go to Goodwill or the trash after yard sale day. I remember one sale – stuff I thought would sell didn’t and instead people bought ALL these old sets of bed sheets and towels. I couldn’t believe it. This morning my box of ‘Everything’s 50 cents’ Crap, was the biggest hit. I didn’t label it ‘Crap,’ except in my mind.” My co-workers gave me similar advice before my sale when I mentioned I had a pile of Sammy clothes that were stained with spit-up that I wasn’t going to put out. They were right – I put everything out, and the spit-uppy stuff sold while clothes with the flippin’ tags on them still reside in my garage.
6) Bundle items together. A tip I came across (somewhere… I would give credit if I could remember where I read it) said not to mark anything for less than $1. If you don’t think it’s worth $1, bundle it with other stuff. I tried this with some clothes, like I mentioned above, and did 2/$1. I had a giant box of Onesies that I put 3/$1 (although would you believe not ONE of them sold?). It makes people think they’re getting a deal, and it lessens the amount of dimes and quarters you have to deal with.
7) Try an “everything you can fit in a bag” sale. Readers Jen Berning and Katie Peterson both shared this tip – the last hour or so of the sale, they let buyers fill plastic grocery bags with whatever was left… for $1. I can see this being a great way to move items! Stores do this from time to time, why not try it at a garage sale?
8 ) Have a pre-sale. I invited Jenny, my sister and my bff – all people with kids younger than mine – to a pre-sale a few days ahead of time. They got pretty good deals – everything was 100% off. I wanted to pass things along to them, and this way the could come take what they needed and leave what they didn’t want. It made me feel good to see some of my favorite baby outfits go to loving homes!
9) Reconsider your bright idea of having a yard sale at all. This is the tip I wish I’d come across. Actually, I’m sure I’d heard a zillion times that having a yard sale wasn’t worth the work, but I didn’t believe it, and I’m sure you won’t either. But let me just say – preparing for this sale was a ton of work. I spent most of the previous weekend and every evening that week getting ready and even took half a day of vacation to prep. I was stressed. I had nightmares about this garage sale, people. That, combined with the actual time invested the day of the sale (12 hours, not that I was counting), made the $284 I had at the end of the day seem kind of disappointing. I was so tired and we had so much stuff left at the end of the day, that I told Andy I felt completely defeated.
10) Keep your eye on the prize – getting rid of the crap taking up space in your house. My number 1 goal for my yard sale was to start decluttering, and it really did help. I remember looking around our driveway during the sale and thinking “HOW did that all fit in our house??” It was astounding how much stuff we had that we didn’t need, and that I really didn’t care about. So, after the sale was over, we stuffed our two cars full (we left just barely enough room to stick the kids in) and took it all to Goodwill. Well, everything but the baby clothes and my set of Pfaltzgraff dishes (anyone want them? I’ll cut you a deal.). I’m going to try to pass the clothes onto friends who could use them, which I feel better about anyway. I’ve been the recipient of hand-me-downs from generous friends, and I know how helpful it is and how much it means. And I just couldn’t box them all up to donate, it made me too sad! (We circle back to tip one… get over the emotional attachment!)
So that’s what I learned by having a yard sale this weekend… what tips do you all have to share?