Warmer weather brings with it the perfect time to de-clutter your home. Why not hold a yard sale to clear out your junk and also earn a bit of cash? With some careful planning and a little work, you can increase your odds of having a favorable outcome on the day of the sale.
Pick a date
According to Leah French, contributor with The Spruce, a good rule of thumb when setting a date is to estimate how long you think it might take to prepare for a yard sale and then triple it. Per Kevin Purdy, contributor with Lifehacker, the best months for yard sales are April, May, June and September; the best days are Saturdays. Make sure to avoid scheduling your yard sale during holiday weekends, since most people are out of town then.
Get organized (and get a permit)
Print out a yard sale checklist that you can find online via Pinterest or searching on the internet. This will help keep you on track from the moment you set the date to the actual day of the event. Angela Colley, contributor at Money Crashers, suggested that you should also find out if your city requires you to have a permit to run a yard sale. Simply check your town hall website and look under the headings “civic responsibilities” or “permits.”
Some neighborhoods hold an annual garage sale each year. If yours doesn’t have one, it’s still a good idea to ask your neighbors if they’d be interested in teaming up for the yard sale, as Kristen Pope, contributor to The Penny Hoarder, suggested. The more people in the area that participate, the more visible and appealing your yard sale will be to passing drivers.
Spread the word about your yard sale. Advertise in your local paper. Keep the ad short, but make sure to list your address, the date and time of your yard sale and list your big ticket items first (e.g. kids’ toys, furniture and collectibles). Per Colley, you can also advertise online for free on Craigslist, Yard Sale Search, Yard Hopper, Garage Sale Hunter and Garage Sale Source.
Gather and price items
Depending on how much junk you have to get rid of, set aside a specific day or days to gather the items you want to sell. It’s a good idea to make three piles when sifting through your possessions: yard sale, donation and garbage.
Kimberly Tchang, contributor with HGTV.com, advised creating a color-coded pricing chart and using different colored stickers to mark items you plan on selling.
Check with your local police station to see if you are permitted to post garage sale signs in your area, since some places prohibit them. Next, obtain brightly colored poster board and some black permanent markers along with some wood paint stirrers, as Colley recommended. Once you make the signs, attach the wood paint stirrers and stick them in the ground a few days before the yard sale.
Cash or Cards?
Make sure you have sufficient cash and coins to run the sale. You’ll want to stock up on ones, fives and quarters. If you don’t feel like hassling with dollars and coins, Cassie with Wholefully.com recommended using a Square card reader which syncs to your smartphone.
Set up the yard sale
Set up your items one to two days before the yard sale. Tchang recommended hanging clothes on a portable rack and displaying items in groups. It’s also a good idea to place objects on tables rather than on the ground so customers don’t have to bend down. Pope advises putting your big ticket items nearest the street so they’re most visible.
During the sale
Play upbeat music through a speaker or boombox during the event from the radio or your own playlist. Wear an apron or fanny pack to hold money rather than relying on a cash box to help deter theft. Keep old newspapers and plastic grocery bags on hand to package customers’ smaller items in. Make sure to greet customers as they approach and let them browse your objects and refrain from aggressively trying to sell them your stuff.
Equipped with these practical strategies, you’re now ready to plan and kick off a successful yard sale.
This article is presented by Colonial Volkswagen of Medford in Medford, Massachusetts.