Saturday, May 3, 2008

Spring Cleaning....garage sale-ing...

Spring cleaning has been on my mind since, well, New Year, really. I've made some slow and steady progress, but as I filter through our possessions, I am finding that it is time to reduce the clutter and have a YARD SALE. Those of you who know me probably are aware that I love going to garage sales. Knowing that you may find anything for a fraction of its value is so enticing, and have you watched the Antique Roadshow? Half those people bought their treasures for $3 at a yard sale and now have items valued at thousands! The problem with yard sales is that it can become something of an addiction, and you end up having to have your own yard sale, because of all of the knick-knacks you've collected! Which brings me to my point: it's that time of the year!

So, as I gather the clutter and pile it into our garden tub (sadly out of use since our water heater can't keep up with the demand), I am reminding myself of what I learned as a yard sale customer, now that I am becoming the yard sale retailer:
1) Be neat and organized. Nobody wants to kneel on your driveway and sift through the wrinkled clothes you stuffed in an old box. Sort by category and do your best to hang clothes or at least fold them by size, gender, etc.
2) Signs can be vital. Use big, neat writing and HUGE arrows pointing in the direction of your home. Don't clutter it up with lots of descriptions and lists. Just make sure they can see it and follow it to your location.
3) Organize items by price: This box 25 cents, this table every item is $1. Offer a discount on bulk purchases (buy 5 shirts, get 1 free). Random, mismatched or repairable items can be placed in a FREE box close to the road to draw in customers.
4) Don't forget to have LOTS of change; or the first customer may give you a twenty for a $.50 item. As a general rule, it is a bad idea to take checks. Offer to hold an item for someone to go to the ATM and get cash.
5) Price reasonably. Hardback books 2 for $1, softbacks 4 for $1. Pants $1, shirts 50 cents. If you have more valuable brands or collectibles, it helps to print out a price from the internet or ebay to give a customer an idea of it's value. If you have an electric outlet available to test items, you're more likely to sell them at your price. When it comes to completing the sale, always be willing to negotiate. Yard sale-ers are expecting a bargain and won't be shy about asking for it.

Those are just a few tips for planning a yard sale. It's kind of overwhelming, but it can be worthwhile, and actually fun. You may meet some really interesting people too! I've had some really insightful and encouraging conversations with people I've met along the way. At the very least, you'll make some cash and clear out some space so next Saturday you can haul in your own treasures!

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