I've gone to yard sales for decades now, and from time to time I would call my purchasing there a commercial activity.Â After being through thousands of sales, and hosting a half dozen of my own, I'd like to share some pointers.
Many of the rest of you are avid yardsalers.Â If you have pointers please feel free to include them.Â Or maybe you want to take issue with a point.Â Gather loves controversy after all =:/
1) Make signs that can be readÂ at a glance by a driver.Â Place them at every busy intersection up to 3 blocks away (but not further because that's a waste of your time).Â A regular sheet of typing paper is too small.Â Go at least twice that big, and then make sure you can read the street and number at 10 paces.Â Put firm backing on it so the wind doesn't fold itÂ over.
2) Make the saleÂ visible.Â If you're anywhere near a busy street, have the sale out front, rather than in back.Â Put up flags and balloons in the front yard (even if your sale is in back).Â If a friend has a houseÂ onÂ a corner lot, consider getting permission to have your sale there.
3) Think about parking.Â The advantage of corner lots is you have parking in fourÂ directions.Â The decision of whether orÂ not to stop will be driven largely by parking.
4) Have lots of stuff.Â Bring it all out.Â Get friends to bring over their unwanted items.Â This is another visibility issue and a get-them-to-stop strategy.
5) Don't make people ask, "How much is this?"Â First of all, they won't ask.Â They'll look around to see if there's something they really want and then maybe ask about that.Â You'll also want to focus your interactions on closing sales, not running back into the house to see whether Mike wants a quarter or fifty cents for something.Â
AndÂ someone you don't want to talk to at all will show up and ask,Â "What about this? What about this? What about this? What about this? What about this? What about this?" I guarantee it.
6) Don't put a ten cent price tag on anything.Â While you want the cost of things to be obvious, low price tags areÂ a poor use of your time.Â Instead, set up a quarter table and a dollar table.Â If someone wants to offer you a dime,Â you can always say yes, but aÂ dime and a quarter are the same thing to most people.
7) Get neighbor buy in.Â Two sales will attract a lot more people.Â A block sale or alley sale will bring 5 times as many.Â A neighborhood yard sale, with 40 or 50 or more sales will be likeÂ a 4th of July picnic.Â I could do a whole list of ten on neighborhood sales.
8) Take out an ad.Â Lots of people plan their routes.Â Don't limit yourself to the few who wander aimlessly.
9) Avoid abbreviations in your ad.Â Spell out the words "block", "alley", and "neighborhood".Â Include your zip code.Â Many shoppers search the newspapers website for community or "multi-family" (not "multi-fam") yard sales.
10) Have it on Saturday only.Â If you play your cards right, everything desireable is going to be gone afterÂ one day anyway.Â Eighty dollars per hour over one dayÂ beats thirty dollars per hour spread over three days. This will also let you put "saturday only" (in this case do both that and "sat only") in your ad.Â You can also put that on your signs.Â People use one-day-only as criteria for adding a sale to their list or skipping it.Â It will also stop Saturday shoppers that whiz on by "Thurs-Sat" signs.
Honestly, I don't want to stop here.Â There's more.Â I'll either add those as they occur to me, or I'll do a followup post.
Okay, do any other yardsalers want to advise the sellers?Â What makes a good yard sale?Â Feel free to disagree.
Click here for links to otherÂ Yard-Sale-oriented tales, including my weekly blog,Â To Buy or Not to Buy.