Before you batten down the hatches for a winter-long hibernation, decluttering and organizing your home will help ease stress and make the season go more smoothly.
Packing away summer clothes and sandals, beach toys and sunscreen is a good start but before you stow it away, ask yourself if you will need it again next summer. If it doesn’t fit you or your kids will grow out of it soon, why not purge it? You can make money selling unused items that have been collecting dust and taking up space in your home.
Fall is a great time to throw a killer yard sale, so here are a few tips to make the most of it.
Many yard-sale shoppers are old school and will look for ads in the local newspaper. Make sure your ad contains the address, the date and times you will be open for sale, and a list of key items that may draw people in. Do you have any antiques or collectibles that you know people search for? Do you have a lot of name brand clothes or large pieces of furniture? These are all things that will draw shoppers to your yard in search of great deals.
If you are computer savvy, advertise on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or any other form of social media you have an account for. Online advertising makes it easy to share pictures of items you have for sale as well as provide updates throughout the day if you drop prices or extend hours. Sometimes people will ask you to hold a certain item that you post until they can get there, so you must decide ahead of time if you will allow holds and for how long.
Directional signs are also important on the day of your yard sale. You want to make sure that people can find your yard sale and navigate to it, especially if they decide to shop on a whim. Find major roadways to place signs with your address, directional arrows and the date and times your sale is open. Large, clearly written lettering is best.
Yard-sales are for deal seekers and hagglers. If you charge one dollar for an item, someone will offer 50 cents for it. If you really need to make a certain amount of money for an item, think about posting it on Craigslist or another online forum where less haggling is expected.
There are a few other ways to handle hagglers. One is to price everything slightly higher than what you actually want to make from it so when someone offers a lower price, you can simply accept it. This has pros and cons: The pro is that you are more likely to make more money on each item and the con is that non-hagglers might be scared off by higher pricing.
Another way to handle hagglers is to get into the game and find joy in it. If you really don’t care about how much money you are going to make on each item, you are more likely to sell things. If the point of the sale really is to clear out things you don’t need, you might as well let it all go at rock-bottom prices.
Selection and Display
Combining yard sales with friends and neighbors or doing a community-wide event will draw more shoppers in because they know they have a one-stop shop with a large selection and variety. You can amp up the fun factor by providing hot cocoa or apple cider to shoppers on a crisp fall day.
When displaying your selection of items, group them together in related categories. Keep housewares collected, sort clothing by size and gender, and pile all the toys together. Make sure items are clearly marked with a price. And maybe keep some chairs and cushions out so people don't have to sit on the concrete pavement when they are tired.
Having a clearly advertised “free” section will help draw crowds as well. Children will especially love getting a free toy. Happy Meal toys, carnival prizes, and small stuffed animals are all great things to throw in a free kid’s box.
The more visible your sale is to passers-by, the more traffic you’ll draw. If you do not live in an easily accessible or highly visible location, combine your yard sale with a friend or family member who has a better location. Not only will you get the added benefit of advertising as a multi-family sale, you’ll benefit from impulse buyers.
If you don’t have any friends or family members interested in joining you for a yard sale, look for community events or indoor flea markets that you can participate in. Charities will often hold group yards sales as fundraising events. You can purge your old stuff and help out a good cause at the same time. It’s a win-win.
After the Sale
Have a plan for how to handle items that didn’t sell. Will you box them up and take them to a charity or will you stick everything back in the garage? If you decide to keep it all for a future yard sale, don’t undo all the cleaning that you’ve already done — keep your garage neat and organized.