A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. > Time For a Coffee Break!

Yard Sale ???s

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afbluebelle:
I was posting in a different thread, and realized that I may need to ask some questions. I may have to do a yard sale in the near future, and I am a little afraid of them. Besides the basic advice (plenty of change, eagle eye on stuff before and after, be prepared for early birds and extreme bargainers) there are some things I'd like to know:

1) Are yard sales worth it?
2) If the sale is mainly clothes, books, a few large furniture items, and a few knick knacks, is it worth the time?
3) What kind of pain and suffering would I be getting myself into?

guihong:
1. I've only thrown one yard sale, and in my experience, it is a huge amount of work and prep (get lots of help if you can) for little return. 

A lot depends on your location-is it busy enough to feed potential customers through, yet easy for drivers to pull over and stop?  Do you have neighbors who will get upset at a lot of people parking in front of their home and possibly walking on their lawns?  Are there big dogs around who can make a lot of noise even if safely restrained?  Do you have room?  Do you have the aforementioned help, to watch the inside of your house and to help set up and tear down?  Do you have a charity that will pick up what's left?

2. It's good if you have a few really good things, or higher-ticket items to put in your ad or on your signs.  The furniture might fit this bill, if it's in good shape.  That's another thought: check ordinances in your city about posting "Yard Sale" signs on poles or trees.  Make your signs visible, bright and legible and make sure they don't blow away before the sale.  Sort the clothes by gender and size, and you might sort the books by fiction/nonfiction as well.

3. It can be either painful or a lot of fun, and if you have a good weather weekend for it, you just might do well.  The object is to get rid of things, and so trying to make a little cash before donating all that stuff makes sense.  Don't charge too much, but enough to move things, and consider going 1/2 price towards the end. 

As for me, I'm personally skeptical of Freecycle, Craigslist and the other giveaway sites we talk about on this forum.  All of those seem to have more pitfalls than throwing together a sale, never mind the risk of finding rudeness at best, a nut at worst. 

oogyda:
Whether or not they are "worth it" depends on your goal. 

If your goal is to make money, then it's not really worth it. 

If your goal is to get rid of "stuff" and make a little money off it, then it can be worth it.  If this is your goal, it can be accomplished with only a little more effort than taking the stuff straight to a donation sight.  When you are done with your sale, put everything in boxes or in a vehicle and make the donation site your first destination after the sale. 

EmmaJ.:
A couple of things I learned - clothes do not sell well, unless you have baby or toddler clothes.  Tools of any kind are a hot item!

People want to bargain, so if you really want $10 for an item, mark it $15.  I really hate that but you will never sell anything at the marked price.

Have a "free" box.  Folks love free things, and it clears out unwanted items in your house.  I typically put magazines, books, and toys in mine (keeps the kiddos happy!).

Try to get with a few neighbors to have a multi-family sale.  You can split the advertising cost and you get a lot more traffic.

I live in Florida, so we always try to have bottled water or cokes for sale (at cost, I don't want to make a profit on those).

Even if you advertise an "all day" or "8:00 to 5:00" sale, I rarely get anyone after noon or 1:00. 

Advertise in your local paper.  I'm not sure if it's common everywere, but my newspaper has a terrific feature for shoppers.  You can type in all the garage sales you want to check out, and it will print out a map with the best route for those sales!

I've made almost $1,000 on a sale, and one sad time I hardly made $20 which didn't even cover the cost of the newspaper ad.  You never know!

afbluebelle:
The main goal is just getting rid of stuff... just some of the stuff is too big to get rid of without a truck (which I don't have). Making some extra cash would be cool, but it isn't a huge deal.

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