While the concept of having a yard sale to make some extra cash (and free up some extra space) is not a new one, I have a few fresh ideas to make your sale run more smoothly and make it more lucrative.
5 Tips for Having a Successful Garage Sale
1. A Little Planning Goes A Long Way
When it comes to planning a yard sale, most people put up a few posters the day before, unload everything onto the driveway and then sit in a lawn chair waiting for the money to roll in. By taking a few extra steps ahead of time you can up your cash flow and your enjoyment factor.
If you live off the beaten path consider teaming up with a friend who lives on a busier street and hosting a joint garage sale there. Also think about having the sale on your lawn instead of in your driveway, to make it more visible to passers by. Wherever you decide to hold your sale, be sure you have access to electrical outlets and shade. In the days leading up to your sale choose a staging area, an open space like the garage or back patio, where you can start sorting your items into categories like knick-knacks, clothes, kitchen items etc. Most importantly be sure to check with your local city hall to see if a yard sale permit is required in your town.
2. Get the Word Out
Sloppy black marker on cardboard may be the signature sign of the yard sale but it really doesn’t do your sale justice. Take a few extra moments to print attractive signs with clear writing, like these from DiscountDame.com, you can give potential shoppers an idea of the quality of items you’re offering. To put it simply: pretty, tidy signage equals pretty, tidy merchandise. Signs aren’t always enough to get customers to your sale. Posting on church and community bulletin boards, or putting an ad on Craig’s List are all great free ways to spread the word.
3. Set Up For Success
Spread out and use all of the space you have available to make your sale look larger. Also think of your sale space like a department store, put like things together and create your “departments” to give it a clean well organized feel. Tables are one of the key factors to a lucrative yard sale. People associate picking something up off the ground with picking trash up off the ground; they are more likely to look though neatly folded clothes laid out on a table than then clothes heaped on the ground. Don’t have enough tables to display all of your goods? Check your local party supply store where you can rent them inexpensively. While you’re picking up tables be sure to pick up a few coordinating table clothes, solid colors in pastel shades work best to showcase your goods. Stay away from too bright or busy table clothes as they might make your slightly faded items appear more so.
4. Price Smart
Skip the price tags and stickers all together. Instead have a starting price in mind and leave room to haggle. Consider the items condition, and also size up the customer. Determining prices on the fly ensures you don’t under price and opens up a dialog between you and your customer.
5. Everyone Loves a Freebie
We all enjoy getting something for nothing, and while it feels counter intuitive to give things away while your trying to make money, it’s a great way to draw in customers and keep them shopping longer. Setting up a box of small toys or knick-knacks near the sidewalk and marking it FREE will draw customers in. Another idea– offering free coffee will keep shoppers warm– and make them feel at home– will cost you very little.
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Teri Storelli is the founder of DiscountDame.com and has devoted herself to sharing the art of frugal living with her ever expanding audience through her site and seminars as well as creating and distributing her own unique coupon binder and organizational system. A pioneer of the “Smart” Couponing movement, Teri is making extreme savings through coupons easy and accessible to all. Her frugal living and DIY expertise has been featured on GalTime, Yahoo Shine and CNN.com. Visit DiscountDame.com for more information or contact Teri at DiscountDame@gmail.com.