Those of you who follow this site know that we recently had a yard sale. By all accounts it was a tremendous success, as is attested by the increased amount of space in our garage and money in the bank. But for me the true indication that this was a successful yard sale was that everyone seemed to have fun. So this morning I thought I would take some time to pass on a few things that worked well for us.
Start Preparation Early: I thought we were doing pretty well by even thinking about the event Wednesday. By Friday I couldn’t walk through my front door anymore, there were boxes of stuff on every conceivable surface and none of it had even been priced. We should have dedicated a full week to organizing this mess.
Work with Friends: Not only is it more fun to work with friends, multi-family yard sales are more attractive to buyers. The downside is that the yard sale can quickly turn into a swap-fest (remember you are supposed to be getting rid of stuff, not bringing in more of it) and, as happened to me, my friend’s stuff was pretty cool and made my stuff look bad in comparison.
Set the Mood with Music: Some good music adds fun and flavor to an event but be careful. We pressed play on the iPod the first thing that was playing was the Savage Love Podcast I’d been listening earlier. Then I put the music on shuffle and it went to The Beastie Boys. Rap music with explicit language didn’t seem like it was going over well with the elderly morning shoppers so I settled on playing Queen. Everyone likes Queen.
Set Your Price: Due to the mad scramble to get things ready, a lot of items went out without a price tag. When a person asked how much we were asking for an item sometimes we would ask “What do you want to pay for it?” I was surprised how much this question seemed to throw people. They wanted to be told what to pay. Likewise, fewer people than I expected tried to haggle. Negotiation is a lost art so make people happy by just telling them what to pay.
End with a Party: We planned a cookout for the evening after the event so by 3:00 most of our customers were actually our friends who were milling around perusing our offerings. Never underestimate the promise of beer and burgers to put people in a buying mood. Of course this also gave our friend’s a chance to question our musical and home decorating tastes. I am still not sure how Charlie got such a large collection of ceramic bunnies.
If All Else Fails, Get a Circus Performer: