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Author Topic: Yard Sale ???s  (Read 4254 times)

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Yard Sale ???s
« on: January 09, 2013, 11:14:32 PM »
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?
My inner (r-word) is having a field day with this one.
-Love is Evol: Christopher Titus-


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Re: Yard Sale ???s
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2013, 11:40:28 PM »
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. 


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Re: Yard Sale ???s
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2013, 07:16:29 AM »
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. 
It's not what we gather along the way that matters.  It's what we scatter.


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Re: Yard Sale ???s
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2013, 07:31:51 AM »
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!


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Re: Yard Sale ???s
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2013, 08:42:35 AM »
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.
My inner (r-word) is having a field day with this one.
-Love is Evol: Christopher Titus-


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Re: Yard Sale ???s
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2013, 08:51:24 AM »
If you want to make a little money and you have the time, I'd try a consignment shop for the clothing and furniture first. The consignment shops I've dealt with will keep your things for a set period of time, say 30 or 45 days. If it sells, you get a percentage of the sale price; I've gotten between 50%-70%, depending on store policy. If it doesn't sell, I've usually been offered the choice of taking the unsold things back or donating them to charity, which the store will do for you.

Also, check out what things are going for in your area--stop by the thrift stores and consignment shops and check out Craigslist to see what things are priced at. Then make your prices lower than that.

Security--keep all entrances to your house locked at all times. If you need to go inside to use the bathroom, lock the door after you. Know the location of the nearest public restroom, so that even when a tiny tot is desperately doing the "pee-pee" dance in front of you, you can simply tell the parent where to take the child, instead of having to open your house to them.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


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Re: Yard Sale ???s
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2013, 08:56:18 AM »
I've always done well with my yard sales ( I have had 3 ).

Have lots of change.

Clothes did well - when they were clean, folded nicely or hung on a rack.

A lot of people here will lay things out on the ground and that always turned me off.

I set up on tables, grouped things together and priced with colored dots.... red dots = $1.00, blur dots = $5.00 etc.

I gave away a free stuffed animal CRIVINS! every purchase.... heck I wanted to go put stuffed animals in peoples cars when they were not looking.

I sold cold sodas and waters for 1.00  -

I had a bunch of "man lint"  - stuff from FIL's and DH's basement workshops, screws, washer, metal thingies, old keys .... you know stuff. I put it in 2 shallow bins with baggies and priced it .25cents a bag.  The guys LOVED it.. they were searching out treasure.

I put old junkie costume jewelry in a bin and sold it by the bag  as dress up and or pirate loot.

But - prce stuff to go.

I enjoye them - but I like talking to people and helping them out.  We had a wife and children that was recently came hear from the middle east to join her husband and they brought very little - so they were shopping to set up house.

DH found out the kids loved to ride bikes - we had a few old ones in our shed - but needed work.  He had them fixed up and gave them to the kids at a later date ( he's a softie ) .

I found things marked free - did not go as fast as things discounted.


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Re: Yard Sale ???s
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2013, 09:37:39 AM »
Only you can judge the value of your time. Compare that to what you can realistically hope to make and that will answer your question.

Someone who has nothing to do and enjoys sitting outside and chatting with people and doesn't mind bargainers can figure it's worth their time if they make $20.

Someone who is busy and doesn't like the idea of people pawing through their stuff might not think it's worth their time even if they make several hundred dollars.

It's all relative.

I've only had a couple of garage sales in my many years and it was always when I had several items of furniture to sell in addition to lots of smaller stuff. And that was before craigslist.

However, I do GO to a lot of garage sales (I love shopping at them) so I will, even though you didn't ask for it, put forth the following advice.

What you paid for an item doesn't matter. What matters is what someone is willing to pay for it today. The money you paid is gone. You'll never get that back. What you're looking at now is what the item is worth to someone else, specifically, the person who happened to come to your sale. Set any and all emotion associated with your stuff aside.

If your goal is to get rid of stuff, don't overprice it, be willing to bargain, and be willing to take less than you'd originally figured. The more you can stick with that, the less stuff you'll have to haul back into your house at the end of the day.

And speaking of the end of the day, I'd pack up anything that's left and take it to a donation center immediately. That completes your goal of getting rid of stuff.

Good luck!