Turning junk into cash sounds ideal. Yard sales can be a great way to empty out your attic while filling up your bank account. Applying some business sense to your yard sale may mean bigger sales. Here are a few tips to help you get more bang for your junk.
1. Find free advertising. Back in the day there were limited resources for yard sale advertising. The local newspaper was the only place to get the word out. While investing in an ad in the local paper is still a good idea, it's no longer the only place to announce your event. There are other websites that will list the details for free. CraigsList.com is one place to get some free publicity. Other options are the websites for your local television stations. Often these sites now have classifieds where visitors can create ads for free. Also, post the details of your big sale on your Facebook or MySpace page. Friends can be some of the best customers. Lastly, get out your poster board and markers and make some signs and flyers. Hang them at the busiest nearby intersections and on the bulletin board at the local coffee shop.
2. Invite friends to join in. There are some costs associated with a yard sale: stickers, signs, and like we just mentioned, advertising. By inviting friends to join in, you can split the costs and the workload. Plus, they'll be able to clean out their closets and make some extra cash, too.
3. Price your stuff to sell. Yes, your Member's Only jacket is cool, but you probably won't get back all of the money you spent on it in 1986. Remember why people go to yard sales in the first place — they're looking for a good deal. So give them one. Better yet, give them lots of deals. Here is some ancient yard sale wisdom: a quarter in the pocket is better than a kitty sweater in the drawer.
4. Location, location, location. If you live in the country, on the fourth floor of an apartment building or in a hard-to-find location a yard sale may be, well, a tough sell. Is there another place that would be better? How about a friend's house, your grandma's, or even using a booth at a local flea market? Although having the sale in another spot will add to the hassle it may also add to your sales.
5. Organize that clutter. There are a few people who will sort through your pile of Christmas sweaters and stirrup pants to uncover the gem, but for those who aren't just as dedicated, organizing will help. Put the clothes on hangers. Bring items out of boxes. Use signage to mark items clearly.
6. Start early. Yard sale shoppers are a unique bunch. They're kind of like those people who spend their Thanksgiving camped outside Target so they can snag the best Black Friday deals — only worse. Most yard sale shoppers are accustomed to getting up early. Many of them like it, in fact. So in order to cash in on all of those early risers, set your alarm clock for 6:00 am, maybe even earlier. Waking up that early on a Saturday probably sounds slightly insane to some, but the payoff won't make it feel so bad. You can nap later.
7. Be prepared. Getting ready for a successful sale takes preparation. Don't wait until the last minute. Spend the week before pricing items and organizing them. Get up an hour before the sale starts to make sure everything is set up. Even if the sale starts at 7:00 am, shoppers will show up even earlier. Is the change box filled with nickels, dimes, quarters and dollar bills? Do you have a collection of plastic grocery bags ready to go? Are all items priced? Doing a little work before will mean more money after.
8. Market your merchandise. To some, this may sound a little over the top. It's just a yard sale, after all. But applying simple marketing techniques will make it easier for shoppers to find a treasure. Group like items together. Hang clothes in one section. Set aside a table for kitchen items and another for toys. Fill a box with towels and make sure it's clearly labeled. Often yard sale shoppers are looking for something specific. Whether they want a new vase or a purse, grouping items will make it easier for shoppers to find their treasure.
9. Be willing to barter. Many people who shop at yard sales do it regularly. They're looking for deals and they know how to get them. They will try to talk you down. Make sure you know what your bottom-line price is ahead of time and don't be afraid to negotiate. In most cases, making some money is better than none.
10. Donate the leftovers. The yard sale is over. You've got a wad of cash and a few boxes of stuff that didn't sell. Why not donate it to a local charity, like Goodwill. That way your old stuff can help someone else rather than going back to collecting dust in your attic.
By Alison Storm
* Hot deals expire quickly. This deal may no longer be valid.
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