Friday, September 4, 2009

Yard Sale!

I mentioned before that I’m getting rid of the clutter that has taken over my house. Today was day one of this project. One of the best ways to get rid of a large amount of clutter is a yard sale. This weekend I’m having a sale myself. I’ve had or helped with several yard sales over the years and have learned a thing or two about them along the way.

Be honest with yourself. When sorting through your belongings while getting ready for a sale it’s easy to convince yourself that you need all of these things you have sitting around. I think the most common thing is to think that someday you might need it for something. Get real. If it’s been sitting in your house gathering dust it’s likely that is all it’s going to do in the future. Trust me, when you start clearing things out you’ll feel much better. Wouldn’t you rather have extra space and some extra cash?

Arrange like items together. It’s amazing the difference taking the time to sort and display your items can have on your sale. People expect to rummage a bit but if everything is thrown into huge boxes it will be hard for people to see what you have and you are more likely to miss out on a sale. I try to arrange my items in categories. For example I will put all of the baby items on one table while all of my craft supplies will be going in another area. Arranging like items together makes it easier for people to browse and find all the items they might be interested in. They can’t buy it if they can’t find it.

Price your stuff! I think this is the biggest mistake people make when having a yard sale. They throw all of their items out at the last minute and nothing has a price. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than having to ask the price for each and every item I am interested in. It is especially hard if it is a large or busy sale. More often than not I leave without items I was interested in because someone didn’t take the extra time to price their stuff. It doesn’t take very long to slap a price sticker on an item and it makes it easier on everyone. You are not going to remember every price you tell someone by the time they are finished browsing, especially if your sale is busy.

Advertising is very important when having a sale. I advertised in our local newspaper and if you have a neighboring town close by advertise in theirs as well. Yard sale ads are often inexpensive and can make or break your sale. With online sites like Craigslist it’s even easier to reach a wider audience. After all, the more people that know about your sale the better your sale will do. When writing your ad list some specific items in your ad but don’t go overboard. Items like furniture and baby gear sell well in almost any area so if you have those make sure you list them specifically. Also, don’t forget to put signs up in your neighborhood directing people to your house. I place signs along the major road outside of our neighborhood to draw more attention and make the sale easier to find. It’s best to use a bright color for your sign and large easy to read writing. You don’t need to go into a lot of detail on your sign; the words yard sale and your address are plenty. Adding a large arrow to your sign is also helpful. There have been many sales in the past I have found and stopped at simply because of a road-side sign.

Be willing to haggle. People often expect to be able to negotiate a better price on items at yard sales, it is part of the fun. If you truly don’t want to budge on the price of your items that is perfectly fine, just politely tell the person you need a certain price. However, keep in mind that if you are unwilling to lower the price a bit to make the sale you just might be left with that item when the sale is over.

Watch the weather! I know the weather is unpredictable but it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on that forecast anyway. I didn’t keep a close enough watch and a 60% chance of rain has put quite a damper on my weekend. I didn’t get to take any before pictures because it was raining this morning and I was so busy covering and uncovering everything that taking the pictures for this post completely slipped my mind. But it was 7 tables of stuff (not to mention the stuff too big to go on tables). Don’t worry though, all of that wasn’t in my house. Some of it (most of it) was in storage. Having a ton of stuff in storage isn’t necessarily better.
My theory is that unless it is seasonal items or keepsakes if something has been in storage for an extended period of time and you are living just fine without it, you don’t need it. It’s time for those things to go.

That being said when it came time to sort through the boxes of my books in storage I was close to tears trying to decide which ones I should part with. I realize that's terribly pitiful. Thankfully after staring at the piles of books for more than 20 minutes my sister in law (who loves books as much as I do) arrived and scooped up many of the books I was lamenting parting with. The wonderful thing about this is that now if I suddenly have the desire (and free time) to sit down and actually read, all I have to do is go down to her house and pick a book. Now normally I’m not a fan of simply passing your clutter on to someone else but this is different. Books, in my opinion, are not clutter. At least they aren’t clutter if you have somewhere for them to go. A place for everything and everything in its place. I am happy my books are in a new home and free from storage.

So far the sale is going really well. I’ve sold the greatest majority of my big items (which hubby is thankful he won’t have to move again). The one thing that is still sitting there tempting me to bring back into the house is part of my yarn stash. I told myself after the sale was over everything was going straight into the truck and off to Goodwill; the yarn is begging me to let it stay. If it doesn’t sell by the end of the day tomorrow I may have to list it online. We’ll see how it goes, tomorrow is another day.


  1. Good luck with your sale! You have listed some great ideas, and I plan to refer back to your post in the near future so that we can do the same thing here. I've read (a couple of times) the book, "How to Simplify Your Life", but have just never put the ideas into motion. Your posts about getting rid of the clutter in your life have inspired me. Thanks and again, good luck.

  2. oh those are some real good tips. i hope all went well during the yard sale :) did ya take any pictures?

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