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Yard Sale Like a Pro

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Your junk IS someone else's treasure


t doesn’t take long to accumulate things you don’t need anymore. Your children have outgrown their clothes, toys, crib and storybooks. There are all those record albums, videotapes and compact discs with music and movies on them that you don’t use anymore. How about those old pots and pans? Dishes, anyone?

Not to worry. Someone else will want them. All it takes is a yard sale to get rid of these things while getting a return on your original investment.

Just tossing your stuff on tables outside your garage and hoping folks will stop by is not the route to a successful yard sale. There is a right way and a wrong way to do this and since you want results, let’s discuss the right way.

Can I even have one in my neighborhood?

The first step is to find out if there are any laws or regulations governing yard sales in your community. A call or a trip to your local city, village or township hall will answer that question. Some municipalities require permits.

Check the weather

Look at the 10-day weather outlook. Stormy weather isn’t going to do you any favors. Most people will figure garage sales are not being held if the weather is bad. Take a look before you set your date.

Not your dirty laundry

Make sure what you are selling is in good shape and clean. If it’s clothing, make sure it’s washed and that the customer can see what size the garment is. No one is going to buy dirty clothes, no matter what the label is. Also, they won’t buy broken goods. Toss that stuff in the trash before the sale.

Price it right

Your patrons will not look at what might be valuable to you in the same way. If you’re not sure how to price items, go to some nearby garage sales and see what their pricing is. People go to garage sales for deals.

Be ready to negotiate

No, the price is not set in stone. Most of your patrons will ask if you can do better on the price of your items. Be prepared for that and be willing to come down a bit, if necessary. If you are set on a price for a certain item and don’t want to budge, price it a bit higher than your set price. Then you can come down to what you want.

Signage and publicity

“Garage Sale Today” is the appropriate sign to have on your property. Shoppers want to think this is the first day of the sale, so “Garage Sale Thursday to Sunday” only works on Thursday. Shoppers may pass you by after that because they think your stuff has been picked over.

You don’t necessarily have to put an ad in your local paper. Lots of signs and a listing on a local (and free) website such as Craigslist will attract people to your sale and not take away from your revenue. It also gives you options to move the sale to another day due to bad weather.

Make no mistake. Garage sales will always be popular. Market yours like you would a small business, and you will have a popular and successful sale.

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