What I Learned From My First Yard Sale

CIMG9370Let me start out by saying I had so much fun running my first yard sale.  I jumped out of bed at 5 am with pure excitement.  I talked to people, I laughed, I felt like I made friends.  It was a perfect day.  I asked my husband if I could put on yard sales for a living.  He said no. 

Overall it was a successful day.  We bundled up our junk, my parent’s junk, and my in-laws junk.  If you can do some kind of joint sale, the more loot the better.  After a little research, I put together some basic rules for the yard sale that ended up being a huge factor in selling our stuff and making money. 

I naively assumed yard saler’s would be the same as me…and I was way off.  When I am shopping, I don’t want to talk to anyone.  These people on the other hand loved to talk.  Strangers say the most interesting things.  I was surprised to find out that I could get them to buy more than they wanted to AND that they were able to talk me into selling me a ton of stuff for $8.   I pushed people to buy more and other’s pushed me to give more.  I figured it all evened out in the end.  We were in the market of getting rid of our junk…and whatever we made in the end was icing on the cake.  And surprisingly we made a whole lot of icing…CIMG9361Organize by category: In my organizational ways, I naturally wanted to organize everything.  This ended up being a huge important task.  Though it took me the entire day before to get it all organized, it paid in the end.  There were numerous people who commented on how much they appreciated the organization.  I just figured if they can see what is for sale and find what they are looking for more easily, they are more likely to buy.  If you look really closely at the porch rail you can see I hung earrings on a chicken wire window pane and hung scarves on the railing (I was really proud of it but it was too crazy for me to remember to take a picture).  CIMG9362We grouped things by category: camping, kids, crafts, home decor, etc.  Clothes were organized by men, women, and kids, and by style (pants, shirts, skirts, etc).  I tried to set it up like a store.  A recliner with a lamp and side table.  The tent with a sleeping bag, water bottle, and cooler.  Think Ikea. 

Watch what people touch and pick up: Seeing what they touch and pick up reminded me to follow up on it when they were paying for other items.  Telling them you will throw in that item for $____ usually got one more item off my hands. 

Make them leave with arms and bags full: Provide bags, tell them they can have a bundle of things for a certain price, have screaming deals they just cannot pass up.  There were only a handful of people who left with one or two things.  Like in a store, I walked around offering bags, offering to hold things on the deck for people, I was like the Nordstrom customer service of a yard sale.  I talked to people.  We laughed.  I tried to make them feel like they were having a good time.  I commented on how cute things were, how perfect they were for ______, and how great that item was to me.  There were some women who left with arms full and even came back to buy more.  One lady came by three times!  It was amazing. CIMG9367Bundle up some can’t pass up deals: If I have 30 pencils to sell and I sell them individually, at the end of the day I am going to still have 26 pencils.  By bundling like items into “grab” bags, I get rid of stuff quicker, people feel like they are getting more for their money, and a whole bag of toys is really irresistible to children.  CIMG9365 Meet your neighbors: Having people congregate in your yard to buy really cheap stuff gives one great opportunity to meet the neighbors.  People I have seen but never given the chance to talk to, I finally met.  There is a sense of unity in living in the same community and I am so grateful for an opportunity to have something to talk about…them paying me money for my old stuff!CIMG9366Give them a reason to linger: On a hot day, a cup of lemonade hits the spot.  People would wander to the lemonade and somehow linger longer.  They walked slower, sipping their lemonade, touching the items, getting emotionally attached, all while satisfying their thirst.  CIMG9368At the end of the day it felt great to load away just one carload of about four to the salvation army.  To sit inside an air conditioned house, counting cold hard cash.  And to clean the house of stuff.  Stuff cluttering our lives.  But now we can stash some money away for a rainy day and truly enjoy the things we own by letting go of it a bit. 

How do you yard sale or yard shop?