by Michael B. Perini, ABC
perini & associates
Yard sales are known by many names, including garage sales, attic sales, porch sales, barn sales, junk sales, tag sales, moving sales, and the ever-popular rummage sale. They’ve been around for as long as people have been collecting clutter.
As with all events that involve currency changing hands, marketing and merchandising make a difference.
1. Make Money
2. Get rid of clutter
Garage Sales Tips We Recommend
1. Check the rules. The last thing you want to do is drag all your stuff onto the lawn in front of your garage only to have a neighbor complain or someone from city code enforcement drop by. It’s rare for a permit or license to be required, but it’s possible. There are even neighborhoods where it’s not allowed at all. Just one more reason not to live there, in my opinion!
2. Don’t go it alone. There are a few things in life best done alone, but hosting a garage sale isn’t one of them. The more people you involve and the more stuff you offer, the better the sale will be and the less you’ll have to do. Go door to door and get the whole block involved. You might even sell some of your items early! Also, what a great way to meet your neighbors if you haven’t done so already.
3. Check the weather and pick your spot. If you can, the yard’s better than the garage – there’s more light and space, people can see the wares clearly from the street, and the whole thing looks more festive and inviting. But check the weather: You don’t want your stuff rained on, and inside or out, you’ll have fewer shoppers if it’s raining. Here are some great weather APPS. Weekends are obviously best, and plan on starting early: You’ll have bargain-seekers there at the crack of dawn.
4. Advertise well. Homemade signs are just fine – however, be sure they’re big enough to read (drive by them yourself) and include arrows, the address, and a phone number in case people can’t find you. The busier the street where you plant your signs, the better. But be aware of sign ordinances in your neighborhood. Place your signs up Thursday if possible to begin to advertise the event. Don’t forget to take all signs down when your sale is complete.
Advertise online for free as well: Try Craigslist and YardSaleSearch.com.
If you have too much stuff to mention it all in an ad, name sought-after items that rope people in: furniture, children clothing, toys, electronics, tools, collectibles, and brand names. The more effort you put it to marketing your sale, the more money you’ll make and the faster your clutter will clear.
Now it’s time to get the word out. Here are some suggestions that make marketing your garage sale most effective:
- Place ads in local newspapers and circulars – If you have not written an ad before, here are some tips:
Write quick-read, concise ads
; write when, where and what,
Note key items such as antiques, toys or furniture.
- Do not give your address. If you are concerned about advertising your address, we suggest that you reference general block numbers and not your exact house number to prevent people from coming to your home days in advance or at pre-sale hours. Your signage will direct them to exact the sale location.
- Advertise on the Internet. Many newspapers will offer this service for FREE if you buy an ad.
- Run ads in local “shoppers” (Pennysaver-type publications) at least two days in advance of the sale.
- Post “For Sale” signs. Make large signs for your front yard and street corners. To make it more interesting, cut out two letters of the word “sale,” put them on wire/wood stakes, and place them in your yard.
- Keep your signage bold and bright, but readable. Avoid fluorescent markers that most people cannot read, and make letters at least 2-3″ tall at a minimum. Black ink works well for information and colored markers for gaining general attention to signs.
Also do not put too much information on a sign. Just include all pertinent information about the sale including: address, dates, times, items sold, and directions.
- Invite friends, neighbors, family members, church members, sports teams, or parents of your childrens’ playmates. Combining sales will not only increase offerings, but will increase the network of people attending and potential buyers. Plus, sharing the garage sale with friends or neighbors can minimize the cost of placing ads.
5. Make it easy for buyers. Group similar items alphabetize books, movies, and music, sort clothes by size or type. Leave enough room for people to get around easily and quickly.
A yard sale checklist for before, during, and after the sale can help you keep track of everything. Here is one we like.
6. Price and label clearly. Removable stickers (colored dots work well) are cheap solutions for labeling: Red dots are a dollar, yellow 50 cents, etc. Having boxes or tables with a fixed-price can save you from individually labeling everything and helps display things
7. Encourage bulk buys. People who shop yard sales are looking for deals. Offer discounts for buying in multiples, like 3 for $5.
8. The clock is ticking. If as the day goes on stuff isn’t selling, become more flexible: The later it gets, the lower the price.
9. Keep it simple. Pricing everything in quarter increments makes transactions simpler. So does having plenty of change: Keep at least one roll of quarters, at least $20 in ones, and a few fives and tens handy. Use a fanny pack or something else that keeps the money on you.
10. Don’t be a pest. Doesn’t it annoy you when store employees follow you around? Acknowledge everyone with a smile or a wave to show you’re available, and leave them to it. Consider offering free drinks: water, lemonade, tea, or cheap soda.
Now go out an enjoy the nice weather with a successful event!