November 20, 2014

Autumn Yard Sale

Another Sunrise
Another Sunrise

Teddy Bears to Tea Pots... and Everything in Between

I know that I have begun more than one post on this blog with a sunrise photo taken just outside my door, and here is another one. However, the morning of our recent yard sale dawned so very beautifully that it was impossible to resist snapping a shot of it as I hastened to get ready for the big event. Since this was before the November time change, and the sale began at 8 a.m., I was literally out before daylight moving items out of the garage and on to the wide expanse of our driveway. Though we have a large garage, I determined that it would be better if the sale itself were outdoors. That way I didn't have to worry about over eager customers exploring Larry's tool shelves or bottle-necking in a cramped area.

I decided to have a sale several months earlier than it actually occurred. Though I had a fair amount of stuff, it wasn't really enough to warrant an individual sale. I checked in with the family, and several of them wanted to participate. Things were sort of on hold for awhile, giving everyone time to go through things and decide what they wanted to sell. And, this being Florida, waiting for the worst of the summer heat to abate. I attended a few sales during the summer, but not many. Having sweat roll off in sheets beneath a merciless sun on someone's driveway is no pastime for the less than dedicated bargain hunter. The lead time was a good thing for me. It gave me the chance to get to the cleaning and organizing of items for the sale. In my view, preparation is crucial to a successful yard sale.

Getting Ready for a Yard Sale

I did a bit of research, using Pinterest, as I so often do, to find blogs and websites with useful information. My search yielded all sorts of valuable advice and great tips for making the sale a success. I just wanted to pass along what I found particularly useful, and what I learned from this sale.

Yard Sale
As I have already said—Prepare. Have your items clean, sorted and priced beforehand. My daughters who were joining in this sale brought their stuff over several weeks before, so we had a good idea of what we were dealing with.

I placed an ad in a local paper and we also advertised on Craigslist and Garage Sale Finder (I found this neat site on a Pinterest Board). Since one daughter had a lot of baby items, we noted that in the advertisements. I also went to the bank and got a stack of $1 and $5 bills. I figured it was better to have more than I needed than to run short. A surprising number of people do not carry small bills, especially since many get their cash from ATMs. More than one blog I looked at emphasized the need for bright, eye catching signs, and since we are in a rural area, I purchased several sheets of florescent poster board. My youngest daughter did the lettering and arrows. The success of our signs was brought home on sale day when numerous people inquired about a sale nearby. I had seen their signs when I put up my own. They were small, cream colored with lettering impossible to read from a moving vehicle. 
Yard Sale Day
I had everything ready to go on the morning of the sale. We had several tables and some benches to put merchandise on. We had quite a bit of clothing, and I really did not look for it to sell well. However, I did know from experience that it was much more likely to be sold from a rack. I had one small one, but that was not nearly enough space. A bit of invention on my Better Half' s part provided us with ample room to display clothing. He hung a wire shelving unit from the garage door tracks, and it made a splendid clothing rack. As it turned out, clothing sold much better than I anticipated. I posted a sign on the wall with prices of standard items such as sweaters, tops and slacks, etc. Specialty clothing was individually marked with prices, and we attempted to make certain sizes were marked or easy to locate.

Sale Tables
I had several autumn themed vinyl table cloths which were great for sprucing up and tying together the tables.  We tried to group like items together— large baby furniture, toys and the like lined the edge of the driveway. One table had housewares, with glasses, dishes, etc. at one end and linens at the other. A small table held shelves, wall art and accent pieces, and another collectible teddy bears.
Teddy Bear Table
We did not have room to place all items on the table, so some were displayed beneath. Note that we were careful to keep walk ways clear though, so no one would trip. Other items were displayed initially on blankets spread out on the driveway or in cardboard boxes. Many of these were then moved onto tables as space cleared, keeping everything as neat and organized as possible. One other note, again on a tip I gleaned from exploring other bloggers experiences, was to put out a Free sign. I placed items such as non-functioning small appliances and technology, broken or otherwise damaged goods on a blanket next to the gate. I made a prominent (flourescent) sign stating that these items were non-working etc. and slated for disposal. Every item I put out disappeared. ( I wish I had cleaned out some more stuff from the barn. Live and Learn.)

Overflow items
We scheduled our sale for a Friday and Saturday, closing up at 2 pm each day. I think the closing time was appropriate, as we saw a drop off of customers after lunch time both days. Surprisingly, Friday was far the better day both in volume and money made. We had more casual lookers on Saturday, but many of them were more passing the time than actually serious shoppers.

Something I saw mentioned on more than one blog, and that I will pass along here, is to have an ice chest of at least water to sell to thirsty shoppers. I had a variety of soft drinks also, and it went over very well.  I sold water for 75 cents and drinks for a $1. I wouldn't have a sale without it again. I actually sold drinks to a number of people who were not even purchasing items from the sale.

There you have it. Sale done. Garage and house cleaner and less cluttered, and I made a couple of hundred dollars in the process. Altogether, we netted about $700 for the two days. Not a fortune, but satisfying. If you are planning a sale—good luck. I hope I have helped.

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