Introduction

On Saturday July 11, 2015 we had a very successful neighbourhood yard sale. Since we don't have yard sales everyday, I started to take some notes so that I can share what worked and what didn't work, so that other people can even more successful yard sales.

If your about to embark on your own yard sale journey, read up on how we were able to have a great day. I know there's a lot of other websites out there that will give you tips, but I know from personal experience that everything on this page was critical to making our yard sale a success.

Pre Planning

"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." - Abraham Lincoln

We have been talking about doing a yard sale for a long time. This year we were absolutly gun-ho about it. No more procrastination!

We worked with one of local neighbors on the best weekend to have a neighborhood yard sale. We talked and hand delivered fliers to our neighbors about our plans. Several neighbors decided to join in and we knew that it was game on!

The yard sale would be on July 11th from 9am to 1pm.

Getting the Word out!

We hit all the the usual social media sites, Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist , yardsale.net and yardsalesearch.com. In addition. we did some Google searching of 'Framingham yard sales' to find all the other places that are promoting yard sales. (Gone are the days of posting the yard sale in the local paper.) In all the announcements, we included general information about what people would find sale at the yard sale. If you have something unique to sell, such as coins, baseball cards and furniture, you should include some pictures. Your best to make the announcements at least 5 days in advance.

Many hard core yard sale people use online announcments to plan their Saturday yard sale morning runs, some of the sites have iPhone apps so people can plan their route. The best way to get these hard core yard sale users is to get as many neighbors involve in the sale. The more people selling, the better the opportunity for someone to stop by.

In retail business to be successful; it's location, location, location. In yard sale terms, it's neighbor, neighbor, neighbor. Do what ever it takes to get your neighbors involve! It's strength in numbers! Just think if there's two yard sales in your town on the same day which one would you think that people would go to? The single family house, or the neighborhood one?

To generate local traffic, we hung up signs all around the neighborhood. We couldn't hang up the signs as early as we wanted because a few days before the yard sale there was some rain the forecast. The goal of the signs should draw some traffic with people that are driving in the area. Key things that we did with the signs is keep it simple and make sure to post near major intersections or local events. For example, we found out that a local carnival off-site parking was down the street - so we made sure to post signs near the parking lot.

The signs should also help people that found out about the yard sale online, makes it easy to know that they are in the right area.

Final Preparation

We went through all the items that we were selling and put a price sticker on them. We double checked some items to see what they were going for on eBay. We put things in containers by the door to get ready for a very busy morning. This was a good opportunity to make sure that we had anything else that we wanted to sell.

This was an opportunity to make all the signs that we needed to display. We also made sure that we had enough cash on hand for change. We had the following in change, 25 $1 bills, four $5s and a couple of $10 bills, we took some nickel, quarter and dimes and put them in the cash register. We didn't need pennies since we didn't have an penny items.

Pricing Items for Sale

Pricing items is very complex. There are some websites that have pricing guides that you can use to determine the price of the items. The way we figured it was what was we thought was reasonable given any wear and tear. We used Craigslist and ebay as a reference.

If you have a lot of small kids toys (Think Infant toys) you can create a bin and put all the toys in in there and then add a sign that says; "Anything in the bin $.50." It's a good way for people to quickly sell some old toys. Just make sure that the toys are clean and not missing any pieces!

Here's a sample breakdown of the items we had for sale:

We had a large collection of DVDs that we priced $3 for one or 5 for $10Size 4/5 girl clothes went for $1 a piece
Assorted rubbermaid storage containers went for $1 eachAdult books were $2 and Children books were $1 each
Kids Toys - $1 to $3>Speaker with Stands - $10 Each
Audio Receiver - $10Large Mirror - $30
Blenders - $10Microwave - $10

Yard Sale Day

We started setting up the show at 7:30 am. Since it was going to be a hot day, we used an EZ-up tent so that we had some shade. The cars were moved out of the driveway, on the grass on the opposite side of the house - so they wouldn't get in the way.

We set up all the of the tables - including the patio table and a kids picnic table where we could store all of kids toys that we were selling. We created an isle so that people could walk down and see the various thing we were selling.

We placed things in categories to make it easier to find thing such as kitchen supplies, DVDs, Toys, Clothes and misc table. We also prop up mirrors and frames that we were trying to sell.

As the day went along I would move product around so that the tables didn't have any bare spots. I also put out a few props so that people would know that something we were selling was actually a wine rack. I was focus on getting people that were driving by to actually stop. Curb appeal is critical to getting people to stop and .

We got a lot of traffic very early - the first car stopped by at 7:50! The guy looked through our stuff and didn't buy anything. Once we started putting things out in the driveway, someone was always outside watching and setting things up. The first big wave was around 8:20 and it was a bit crazy will all the people trying to ask for discounts.

Throughout the day we got a lot of people asking for discounts on sale items that we felt were discounted a lot. I read someplace to not offer any discounts during the first couple of hours of the yard sale. Someone wanted to know if we would sell a $10 bedding supply for $2. (Really?) There were a lot of people looking for specific collectable things such as electronics, coins and baseball cards. We attracted families with much older kids looking for electronic games and clothes.

We generated a lot of foot traffic. However, we didn't sell any of the big price items - mirrors, furniture, stroller and pack n play. We mostly sold kitchen knickknacks.

The final big wave came around just before noon time. We closed shop at 1:20pm once we waited to see if there was any last minute people stopping by.

Six Key Lessons Learned

If we had to do it over again...

  • When making the street signs, make sure they are clear and readable from a distance. The template signs that you get at Staples seem small for busy roads. Make the sign big and readable. When in doubt, make it bigger. Be creative and use multiple signs, something like Wall Drug does.
  • Have plenty of tables and be creative making them. Don't make potential buyers have to bend down to pick up small items. If you don't have enough tables, ask around.
  • Add props so that people know what things are for. If people keep asking you about something, then it isn't clear what the item is or how it functions. You could be losing out on buying opportunity from those that don't ask. (For example, put empty wine bottles in a wine rack.)
  • Have a power station near the yard sale. I plugged in the TV and DVD player so people would know that they worked and worked well together. I also had a spare plug available so that I could plug in any other electronic device that people wanted to know if it works.
  • Know what you are selling and how much it is. Someone was taking prices off some items and stuck them on other items. This caused some confusion with customers. When it's a bit quiet, take a walk around and make sure things are priced correctly. If someone complains about how expensive something is, justify it's value. (For example you can say similar items are going for much more on ebay/craigslist.)
  • If you have any unopen seal box kitchen items and someone ask to open it. Don't open it! Don't loose the "never used" appeal just so someone can look at it. If your unclear about the item inside do some research on Amazon or Ebay so you can answer people's questions.

Bonus Tip

If you have any children that want to help with the yard sale, you can have them run a lemon aid stand. It's a good way to keep them busy during the sale.