Fall is the perfect time to have a yard sale. Moms (like me) are out looking for bargains on seasonal clothing, snow gear, sports equipment, and more. The weather is cooler so you shouldn't be sitting in the sun all morning, though that's happened to me before! Just this past Saturday, I participated in our community yard sale to help earn money towards our debt payoff. It worked! I made $220, even after spending $9 on other people's toys and a couple of donuts for my son. Since I've been selling at yard sales for over 10 years, I have some strategies that help me earn more:
To bring in more customers
- Make your sale bigger by including others: Ask neighbors, friends, etc. to sell on the same day and preferably in the same place. You don't have to go all out and organize a neighborhood sale (but you could). The more families participating, the more customers you'll reign in.
- Advertise: Use Craigslist–it's free and it's how most regular yard sale shoppers will find you. If you have free advertising in local newspapers, use it. Remember to send an email to your groups–church, MOMS Club, preschool, Facebook friends, etc.
- Put up Signs: Grab shoppers as they drive to/from their Saturday activities by posting large, clear signs at major intersections near your sale. Even a bright green arrow will do the trick. I also post in our closest grocery store.
- Have a lot to sell: Many people will drive by, slow down to look, and drive on if you only have a paltry amount sitting out. That's why you want to include others, and you want to increase your inventory (see below)
To make more money
- Price your items low: Sounds contradictory? It's not. You'll sell more by having your items priced at “yard sale prices.” I can't tell you how many sales I go to where sellers are trying to get 50-75% of original price. Ridiculous! I can get that price with coupons and sales. If your goal is to make money or clear out your house, you're better off selling for less than not selling at all. It worked for me–almost everything I had was .25, .50 or $1.00.
- Sell everything you can: You'd be amazed at what people buy. I went through my closets and drawers and bagged up smaller items into zipper bags to make them worth selling–free samples I'd received in the mail, used candles (people buy these!), and small toys bulked together. I sold the kids' tshirts that were well-worn for .25/each, and old clothes from my closet (including worn out mom jeans) for $1-2.
- Get more inventory: I stocked up on freebies during back to school sales (cap erasers, pens) and drugstore sales (toothbrushes, etc.) and sold them all for .25-$1.00. I made $40 just from toiletries I'd gotten free with coupons in the past couple of weeks.
- Display your items nicely: Most people do not want to crouch on the ground and dig through boxes. Borrow tables and display things nicely, even if they're under $1. If you're selling clothes, use a clothing rack or at least fold items nicely and lay out on boxes (that's what I did with my shoes I thought no one would want–and they sold).
Just to be nice (and encourage sales)
- Put out a FREE box: I always have a box with free items at the entrance to my sale. This time around, it had old magazines that we were done with, empty tins and other items I didn't think were worth .25. I didn't have a single person pick up free items without also coming through to look at my sale and purchase something. I think it puts people in a good mood and in the shopping spirit.
- Be friendly: Say “Good Morning,” and chat about the weather. I've been to sales where I'm greeted and others where the people are complaining about buyers. Why would I shop there? I sold a ton of rubber stamps to a lady on Saturday because we had a nice chat about her new hobby (my old one). I was able to upsell her all the accessories and sell the whole lot at once.
What are your tips for having a successful garage sale?
Read the rest of the Make Money Monday series.
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