This past Saturday, I did what I do almost every Saturday from April to October – I went yard saling. For me it is a hobby – I really don’t “need” anything, but it is fun and you never know what kind of good deals or rare items you may find. In addition, once a year, I have a yard sale. I am always evaluating what I have and if it doesn’t bring me value anymore, it goes in the yard sale box in hopes it will bring someone else joy. The one thing I noticed as I go from neighborhood to neighborhood is that some people take this yard sale concept to an extreme. Some people selling think they are a retail shop and some people buying think everything should be a quarter. Today I wanted to share a few tips from both sides so that every transaction is a win/win.
Buy Like a Pro
- You want to be reasonable in your buying approach. You are at a yard sale so you don’t want to overpay; however, you don’t want to insult someone either. If the host of the yard sale is reading this, they will have priced items fairly and to move. Some people want close to retail and some, like me, just want to get rid of it. Don’t hesitate to make an offer, but be willing to walk away depending on the seller’s attitude.
- Know the value of something as much as you can. For example, this weekend a lady was selling Vera Bradley purses for $20 each – new. She refused to negotiate on the price. Yes, they were new; however, I could go to the outlets and get the same purse for $20 and it would be showroom new. I politely declined. If I were selling the same purse at my yard sale, I would have sold it for $12 and been willing to take $10. Again, don’t be afraid to walk away if it’s not something you really want.
- Take lots of small bills and change. When you have ones, fives and quarters, you have more negotiating power. It is awkward to offer someone $1 instead of the $2 they are asking and then whoop out a $20.
- Have a list of items you are looking for. This will help you to focus and not get too caught up in the goodies. I usually come home every week with one thing not on my list, but I always have the perfect use for it. If you get caught up in the sales, and who wouldn’t, your house will eventually be overrun with too many things you don’t use. And if you do buy something for the price and hope that you can find a use for it, if you don’t, make sure you donate it. This way it doesn’t take up residence too long and collect dust.
Sell Like a Pro
- You want people to buy your wares so make sure you price them accordingly. Would you rather have $3 for something or $0 for the same something? Remember, you are not a retail store. Your items are used even if they have tags on them. Price them accordingly and you will make more money. Selling 30 items for $1 is more than selling 4 items for $5.
- Price everything – when items are priced, people know exactly what you are wanting and they can decide if they want it or not or if they want to make you an offer. If it is not priced, odds are they will walk away. You can always change it if you see a lot of people looking and no one buying, but pricing everything usually brings more sales. I also have 10 cent, 25 cent and 50 cent boxes. People love those and they are great for the small stuff you don’t want.
- Run your sale Friday and Saturday if possible. I have had yard sales in both PA and in SC and in all cases, Friday was the busiest day. You get a lot of professionals and older people, but for the right stuff they are willing to pay. One year, I made $200 on Friday and $10 on Saturday. This all depends on the area and if it is a neighborhood sale or not, but give it a try if you can.
- Advertising is important. People need to know you are out there. We have a local circular that comes out every week with lots of sales in it. It is inexpensive to advertise in something like that and so worth it. There are also many free websites and social media groups. Let people know what you are selling and use catchy phrases like “huge yard sale” or “everything must go”.
- Be willing to negotiate. On Saturday of our sales, we have a half off everything event many times depending on what is left. Your goal, like mine, is to get rid of everything – not take it back in the house. So sell what you can for what you can and then donate the rest. Remember, your stuff is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Sell it, get something for it and move on.
This year I was just going to donate my boxes and not have a yard sale. Then my wise daughter said “Mom, have a yard sale, sell what you can and then donate the rest. You will have more money than you would donating it and you can donate what is left.” Those are wise words. We made over $200 and donated 2 car trunks full of stuff. That’s a win/win in my book. So whether you are buying or selling, have fun with it, don’t pay/charge too much and everyone wins!!
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