I haven’t been around at all the past three days because we just had our first yard sale. Actually, it was my first yard sale, since Nate’s done them before when he was a kid with his parents. Whew! Talk about a ton of work and exhausting! But it was worth it – we made some decent money.
I think we priced things well, because almost everyone who stopped by did buy something. Nate posted signs around the neighborhood the day before (we’re not supposed to do it far in advance in our town) and I posted on Craigslist too. But it was super hot and humid that day (90+ degrees) and I think a lot of people just weren’t out looking for yard sales. We did great in the morning, but by the afternoon when the heat really got bad, things slowed to a halt. I think everyone was either inside in air conditioning or at the beach (which is where I would have preferred to be myself!)
I was surprised at some of the things that sold. It is true what they say – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I had a box of my old clothes that I priced at 2 for $1. I sold at least half of them! I almost didn’t put it out, thinking I’d just dump it in the Good Will bin instead, but I’m glad I did!
What didn’t sell as well as I had thought was the baby stuff and toys. We did sell our Fisher Price high chair for $20 (I had expected some haggling, but nope, someone paid $20!), the exersaucer, swing, etc. But a lot of the other toys and baby things didn’t sell. Unfortunately, I think we just didn’t get the right market of people. You really need to have a baby, grandkid, or be actively looking for baby stuff and people just weren’t that day. But that’s all part of yard sales.
We had to cut things a bit short, because a thunderstorm came up mid-afternoon and we had to quickly bring everything inside. With the remaining stuff, we bagged up a bunch of things to bring to Good Will, brought a box of toys to church for the nursery, and set aside a pile of nice toys to bring to the local consignment shop.
Overall, I’m pleased with how we did. Here’s a few things I learned:
- If you really want to get rid of something, price to sell. What would you pay at a yard sale?
- If you don’t mind potentially holding onto something longer, then stick to your guns. I had a brand new still-in-box baby carrier that I wasn’t willing to let go for less than a certain amount. No one was interested (I didn’t even get any offers) but that was okay, because I know I can get a good price for it on eBay. Other things aren’t worth selling on eBay – too much hassle.
- We didn’t price anything for less than a quarter. We priced books at 50 cents, CDs, etc. But 5 and 10 cents for an item weren’t worth it – too much change going around.
- Have a couple of boxes and plastic grocery bags around for people to use. People who were browsing for awhile liked being able to put their stuff in a box so they didn’t have to carry everything around. Then we put it all in a plastic bag (or two) for them to carry to the car. Just like shopping in a store, if it’s convenient, people will buy more!
- Have people pay for everything at once. Don’t let them pay for one item, then keep looking, come back with another, etc. It’s too easy to get things lost in the shuffle. Agree on a price at the end. When we first got started, one lady (clearly an expert yard-sale-er) asked me for a deal on a set of little figurines, which I gave her. Then I found out that Nate was already wrapping up another item for her. It was clear, she was purposefully trying to get us both running in different directions. When that happens, it’s easy for things to get “lost” in the shuffle. That lady also almost drove off without paying, but Nate (very nicely) handled that one.
- Make sure your YARD SALE signs are easy to read. One lady commented that she could read ours easily from the road, but she couldn’t read another person’s sign near ours at all.
What I would do differently:
- I’d advertise more. I’d put up more signs further out and also put up a flyer at the local grocery store, bank, library, etc. listing a few key items we were selling.
- I wouldn’t do it on a super hot day! No one wants to be out in the hot sun on a day like we did. We certainly didn’t!
Do you have any yard sale tips?