Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How to Have a Yard Sale: Part II

Weathermen are stupid. Ok, that's harsh. But I planned my glorious yard sale for this past Saturday (although in my previous blog I said Friday - sorry 'bout that). I watched the forecasts all week. Late Wednesday there's just a chance of afternoon thunderstorms/showers for Saturday, so I go ahead and pay the newspaper to run my ad. I get up Saturday at 6:00am, get dressed, put on my sun-block, open the door and...it's a deluge. Are you kidding me? Seriously?! Grr.

I go back inside, check weather.com and not to worry, it will stop soon. Right. At 8am it's still coming down and I haven't put out any of my merchandise. But I'm cold and wet (having gone ahead and set up the tables in the tropical rainforest) and I'm sitting on the porch swing watching cars come by still looking for my yard sale. ::sniffle:: This is so painful to watch.

So now I'm really depressed. I wish with all of my heart that I could be one of those people that goes with the flow, can be flexible and Ok when things don't work out. But I get so excited about things (especially yard sales) that when the weather doesn't cooperate, or at Christmas I don’t get the Reeboks that make your butt look good, or none of your "homies" show up to the 10-yr high school reunion, I get really disappointed.

I’m on the rebound now, though, and plan to have my yard sale this Sat. come what may. In the spirit of getting psyched up about it again, here are some more tips for having a successful venture.

1. Get started with setting your stuff out early enough so that when your advertised start time rolls around, you’re not scurrying around pulling things out of boxes and running back and forth from the house dragging things out. Get up early – get started early – and when people come before 8 or 7 or whenever you wanted to start, it’s OK. Welcome them with open arms because “early birds” know that you’re not officially open and they’re less likely to haggle and more likely to pay full price for stuff. You should feel honored that they chose to come to your sale first and that you’re on their list at all. Early birds are die-hard yard-salers, so do not turn them away. I hate the newspaper ads that say NO EARLY BIRDS! Why would you turn away a customer? My craigslist ad actually said “early birds welcome.” Cha-ching!

2. Just like in a retail store, how you display your merch matters. Use tables if you can. Card tables, picnic tables, borrowed tables from work or the church, large boxes turned upside down – whatever. Get your stuff out of boxes and onto the tables. Only die-hards like me will dig in boxes. Let me just say – digging in boxes is often worth it. Once, whilst digging in a box, I found a doll for $1. Turned out, it was a vintage Vogue doll that sold for $150 on the bay (aka eBay). Sometimes it’s worth it to dig. Just don’t make your customers do it.

3. If you have clothes, hang them up, if possible. Or at the very least, fold them and put them on a table and organize them – all men’s clothes together, all teen girls, all kids, all baby, etc. Again, don’t put them in a box for people to dig through. Yuk.

4. The stuffed animals NO-NO: Do not put stuffed animals in a pile on a tarp. You may have a house cleaner than my mother-in-law’s (although I doubt it), but if your stuffed toys are on a pile on the ground, it gives the impression that they have fleas. At the very least put them in a box or plastic tub, but better yet get them out and put them on a table. If you have nicer stuffed items – like Boyds bears or hand-made crafts – separate them out from the cheapo toys and put them with the home d├ęcor stuff.

5. Group like things together. Put all the tools together, all the videos/DVD’s together, sporting equipment, baby stuff, kitchen stuff, clothes, books, jewelry, etc. A lot of times, people are looking for something in particular when they come to a yard sale – especially the die-hards. If things are grouped, they’ll spot their item immediately – don’t make them wade through everything to find their treasure. They probably won’t - and you’ll lose a sale. While I was putting up my “Rain Date” sign I had 2 cars drive by. One asked me – got any fishing poles? No. Any records? No. Any jewelry? No. Any tools? No. But come back next week – all my stuff is cheap! The other car asked if I had any movies. See? People are looking for particular treasures.

"What is that? What is that? What are you doing? You're taking all the caviar? That caviar is a *garnish*!" ~You've Got Mail

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