Monday, March 21, 2011

My Junk Doesn't Smell Like Mothballs!

A few months ago, my pal Sarah and I kicked around the idea of having a yard sale. She had plans to put her house up for sale, therefore declutter and I knew I just had a ton of crap to get rid of. So we decided to sell our wares to the public. But we had to go about it in a smarty-pants way. First, we had to pick a weekend almost guaranteed to get nice weather. Boom. May. Done. Since it was a few months out, we are giving ourselves plenty of time to prepare. Then we picked a location. My house has a big driveway and is convenient to a Goodwill for any leftovers to be donated. Done. So with May quickly approaching, I've been organizing and brainstorming my plans.  I thought I'd share a few of my favorite yard sale techniques.  I consider myself a well-seasoned yard saler. I've planned and implemented (action words? am I putting this on my resume?) multiple moving sales as well as packing my car up with junk to bring to other people's yard sales. I excel in negotiating the value of my crap with strangers.

1. Advertise Online --- Of course, you've got to tell people about your sale. And Craigslist is pretty much the best way to do it. I start the Thursday before my weekend sale and post everyday. Be sure to include all your info plus anything specific that you're selling. Mint Condition Collection of 1970's Burt Reynolds posters? LIST THAT SHIZZ! I usually tell early-birds to take a hike too. No one likes a creepster in a hoarding van showing up to your driveway when you're still bleary-eyed and dragging your stuff out of the garage, looking for a deal.

2. Advertise Locally --- I'm talking old-school, nail a sign to a telephone pole type of thing. My preferred method is to cut a piece of neon poster board in half and go at it with a black magic marker. Write big and be brief.  But be clever too. Grab their attention.

3. Be Organized --- Don't wait til the morning of to try to arrange your shit on a sheet on your lawn. Take some time to put your stuff in categories ahead of time, so when 7am rolls around, you're not trying to make a quesadilla maker look good sitting inside a box of legos. Right now, I have a room dedicated to my wares. I have piles for housewares, home dec, crafts, games/activities, baby stuff and clothes. I've also planned out what kind of tables I have to lay things out on. Because you know what I hate? A yard sale with a bunch of stuff strewn across the yard. Plus, who doesn't like a well thought out display? Just because you're selling your, um, trash doesn't mean it needs to be jumbled in a box.

4. Make that money --- Be prepared to let your stuff go for almost nothing. Now if you're like me and change your home decor tastes like you change underwears, then you probably have a decent collection of stuff in pretty decent condition. I'm sure that nice vase you paid 50 bucks for has barely been used but guess what? It's a yard sale. Now it's 2 bucks. MAX. Or if you're in the mood to negotiate, ask your customer to make you an offer. You might be pleasantly surprised. They might offer you 2 and a QUARTER! But hey, money is money and it's more than you'd get if that vase was sitting in your basement not being used or dropped off in a box to the thrift store.  Oh and also...have change ready. Head to the bank the day before and get some 1's. Resist all stripper jokes as you wave your fan of 1's around. Also get some coinage since you'll be selling your shizz for 75 cents allllll day long.

5. Be Properly Dressed and Nourished --- I can't tell you how many sweatshirts I wished I had on chilly spring mornings, bottles of sunscreen I wished I had around 11am when the sun is ba-lazin and granola bars I wished I had when I realized I'd been sitting outside without eating a proper breakfast for hours. Dress in layers, keep some sunblock handy and keep some snacks and drinks nearby. And if you're joining me, it's gonna be Miller Highlifes for breakfast. They make the creepers all the more entertaining.

Got any surefire tips to add? Let's hear em!

15 comments:

Jenn from Much to My Delight said...

I wish I lived in your town so I could cruise your driveway and see you drinking Miller Hi Lifes with a baby on the front lawn wearing an Abe Lincoln outfit. Over here they call 'em "stoop sales" because no one has a driveway or a garage. So basically it's you and your crap on three steps. Good luck, and I hope you make a killin'!

Red Fraggle said...

Miller Hi LIfes (Lives?) *ARE* the champagne of beers. Those stalkers should be so lucky as to attend such a high falutin yard sale. If I were you, I'd go ahead and just call it an estate auction. Maybe you'll attract the high rollers who don't use coinage. "Here's a five spot. Keep the change, kiddo."

Just make sure Gabe wears his best trucker hat, kay?

mandbkrzywicki said...

Another tip is to put larger items out front for people to see. Stick all of the large furniture (if you are selling any) right in there face as they are driving by. It will make them want to get out and see what other things you have!

momma j lee ♥ said...

hahaha... I love the "come by my crap!" We do a yard sale come spring just to clean out all our crap as well as I'm anything but a hoarder and one thing I found useful was letting local missonaries, non for profit organizations or shelters know of your garage sale if you have a lot of clothes in pretty good condition. We have a man who brings hand me downs overseas to give to orphans on missionary trips. I find that giving it to places like that is a great alternative for Good Will if ppl are looking for one.

Now i want to start planning my yard sale for this year!

The Shanner of Attention said...

Fantastic tips! When my husband moved from his house to my house, we basically kept his entire "house stuff" in boxes in the basement.

We are thinking of having a yard sale to get rid of his stuff. He only lived in his house for 6 months so everything is like new too.

bethany said...

Yard salers everywhere need to read this. Seriously. Especially the part about your shizz now being worth two dollars. Nothing makes me want to leave a yard sale faster than finding disgustingly overpriced housewares!

Also, kudos on vocalizing the need for organization. If there's a vintage milk glass pitcher next to a filthy sander and box full of hammers, I am NOT going to notice it.

Wish I wasn't so far away, because I would LOVE to crash your sale in May! Of course I'd wait until it officially opened and all... :)

SarahK said...

I just got SO MUCH MORE excited about this. I was about ready to be all, well, I don't know if we can do it...blahblahblah because I want to throw it all away but now that there's highlife involved?

THE KURPELS ARE IN.

Can they be in the form of 40s?

Isrut said...

75 cents for that sixer of highlifes!

Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic said...

first off if you really have vintage Burt Reynolds circa 1970 posters call me, for real!!!! And secondly I want to come party errrr I mean yard sale at your house girl!

All awesome tips!!!

LizzieBeth said...

Um... I insist this not be listed under "things to do while sober" because I do not believe sobriety is completely necessary for a yard sale.

..or maybe I'm an alcoholic. It could do either way, really.

Can I come buy your shit?

LB

Leigh said...

I hosted a yard sale once and waited to the night before to price (which for me was the hardest part). Then that night I went to ikea and spent more than I made.

According to Ashley said...

I hatteeeee having to sell nice things for like 50 cents, but it feels so good to get rid of all that stuff and I still always end up with a very decent wad of cash when all is said & done. Another tip is to hang clothes on hangers (on a cheap clothes rack from Wal-Mart....My aunt happens to have one). It's so much easier for people to flip through the rack instead of digging through a box. We also like to display our shoes right under the clothes rack instead of dumping them in a box. Oh....and my mom likes to wear a granny apron to keep track of her money. We make fun, but it actually works well.

Oonafey said...

Damn. I wanna come buy your crap! Or help you sell your crap. You make a garage sale sound fun! I've helped my parents out with garage sales before and my good shit never sells. People always buy the broken junk that's covered in dust and has been languishing in my dad's basement for 30 years. And not cool vintage broken dusty junk either - I've appropriated all of that!

Michael - Innkeeper said...

good luck with the sale!

my mom is having one in april or may... and i'm totally taking a bunch of stuff to her house to sell for me.

goodbye 'junk', hello money!

Kaley Garin said...

We had a garbage sale, er, garage sale a few weeks ago. Our signs said starting at 8am. When we got outside to start setting up at 7am, people were already waiting!!! Plan for an early morning....people love these things!!!

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