Thursday, June 28, 2012

Making the Most of your Yard Sale:

Yard sales are a great way to sell off your lesser bits and bobs that are neither auction material, nor worth your efforts posting online.

Many of us have hosted a yard sale at one time or another. Ergo, we understand the basics; But the real trick is to minimize the aggro, whilst maximizing profits. With a bit of forethought and planning, yard sales can be truly rewarding ventures. Not only can you purge the last of your household junk, but you give it a new life - and earn some extra cash in the process.

Step 1: Plan Well

  • Schedule one big yard sale, every few years. During that period you’ll accumulate enough junk to make your efforts worthwhile, without making it too monstrous a task to contemplate.
  • Pick a date that spells success. Saturdays are best because Sunday can be your ‘rain day’. Choose a time of year where good weather is likely and avoid holiday weekends, when people are often out of town.
  • Invite neighbours, friends and family to join in. Announce the date well in advance, so everyone has a chance to participate. Street sales tend to attract additional punters and it’s more enjoyable if it’s a community affair.
Step 2: Get Organized
  • Designate a specific area of your home for yard sale items. Large plastic bins are ideal repositories, assuming you have room.
  • Avoid future headaches by pricing each of your items individually, before storing.
  • Price cluster tables can prove more efficient ($1 tables, $2 tables, etc.); But be prepared for your items to ‘move about’ throughout the sale.
  • Go through your home room-by-room and do a cull. Scrutinize things with a critical eye and get rid of anything you don’t use regularly, or love.
Step 3: Advertise and Promote Widely
  • Take advantage of every promotional opportunity available. Post colourful flyers in your neighbourhood. List your sale on Kijiji and Craigslist, and leverage social media tools. Set up posters at nearby intersections. Leave no stone unturned.
  • If it makes financial sense, consider paid notices in local newspapers or on the radio.
  • Be precise about your start and finish times, and stick to the schedule. People will arrive early to get first crack at your best stuff, and show up late to score bargains.
  • List product categories to garner interest and set expectations. Promote specifics to attract the right buyers.
  • Remind shoppers to bring along recycling bags to carry their purchases home.
  • If you’re donating a portion of the proceeds to your favourite charity, note it. It’s not only a wonderful idea, it’s great PR (Public Relations)!
Step 4: Enjoy the Day
  • Set up tables to display your items. It’s much easier to shop for items when they’re easy to see and within reach.
  • Organize your wares in a way that makes sense; Group ‘like’ items together, or arrange products by price.
  • Have cash on hand and guard it carefully. Make sure you have lots of small bills and coins to make change.
  • If you’re selling electrical products, have an extension cord handy to demonstrate functionality.
  • Negotiating makes good sense, as the day wears on. Sweeten the pot by offering volume discounts and throw-ins. Politely but firmly decline silly offers.
  • It’s important to maintain your cool, when confronted with challenging customers. Keep it friendly and don’t let anyone stress you out.
Step 5: Don’t Mourn the Loss
  • It’s hard to understand why some things sell and others do not. Don’t waste your time lamenting what didn‘t sell. Focus on the stuff that did.
  • At the end of the day, take your leftovers to a charity shop. You’ll find it much easier to part with it, now that you’ve mentally disassociated yourself.
  • Savour the feeling of emancipation - and keep it top of mind when accumulating more ‘stuff‘, in future.
We streamlined our day-to-day life by losing the clutter, and that’s extremely liberating. We also made some new friends, helped the needy and earned a few dollars while we were at it - not bad for a day’s work!

Are you in the process of simplifying you life? Do you have any yard or street sale suggestions or tips? Please feel free to share your experiences and ideas with the group.

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