Over the past year, the shed in the backyard has been deemed the “yard sale shed”. It slowly but surely filled to the brim. This past weekend we decided it was finally time to unload the goods and have our house’s very first, official 7th House yard sale.
We ended up selling almost everything and made a grand total of $903. Cha ching! The weather couldn’t have been more perfect… except for the fact that I totally underestimated the sun. I look like a lobster.
Yard Sale, Garage Sale, Tag Sale, Driveway Sale, Rummage Sale… Technically, we call it a “Yard Sale”, but we put “Tag Sale” on our signs. Everyone around our part of the country calls them “Yard Sales”, but by putting “Tag Sale” on the signs (which is what they call them in the Northeast), people are more likely to stop by. We literally had at least 20 people tell us they came just to see what a Tag Sale was.
Ever since I was about 15, my designated job at family yard sales is that of the cashier. I even have my own toy cash register. It was my brother’s when he was little and we’ve kept it around just for yard sales. I’ve always liked having this job because I get a chance to talk to people. We haven’t been in the neighborhood for long (“we” as in Greg and me. My family has lived in this neighborhood since I was 11!). It’s nice to get to know your neighbors a little better. For instance, I met a fascinating woman who has traveled all over the world, is a huge Disney World fan, an avid scrap-booker and a professional Origami instructor. How cool is that? She pulled a patio chair up next to me at the cashier table and we sat and talked about Australia and Disney World for a while.
We also had fun hanging out with some of the neighborhood kids. One of the kids from down the street scored an exercise ball – to play with while riding his skateboard. Haha! His big brother (who’s 14) started his own lawn mowing company and offered to trade his expertise and highly recommended lawn mowing services for a small speaker system. Score!
In my book, an organized yard sale is a happy yard sale. By the end of the day, you’re tired, achy, hungry… and look like a lobster. But if you get started on the right foot, you can still have fun. We put together our 2 cents on how to pull off a successful (and fun!)
Tag Sale Yard Sale:
A FEW DAYS BEFORE
- Check with your local and community leaders to see if you need a yard sale permit. Our area doesn’t require one, but we hear some areas do.
- When making your posters, make sure they all look uniform (same handwriting, same color combo, etc). That way, it will be easy to spot if they are following them to your sale. Don’t put the date. Putting the date will just clutter up the sign. For example, you only need to put “Saturday at 7:00am”, everyone will automatically know it’s this Saturday. This is also make it convenient to use the signs for future yard sales.
- Unless you’re tied down to a tight schedule, don’t put an “until” time on your posters. We started at 7:00am and were planning on wrapping things up around noon, but we were still steadily selling stuff around 2:00 so we decided to stick around a bit longer.
- Put out signs in all major intersections near your home a few days before your yard sale. For instance, if your yard sale is going to be on Saturday morning, put the signs out Thursday night. People will see them driving to and from work on Friday.
- Don’t forget to advertise online! Advertise your yard sale on Craigslist, YardSaleSearch.com, and even your personal Facebook page. If you’re doing a yard sale with a lot of mega ticket items (cars, boats, antiques), consider running a Facebook ad targeted to your area.
- Start collecting extra grocery bags and small boxes for people to take home their yard sale finds.
- We set up the tables the night before (price tags, table signs and all) and left them in the carport overnight. When we woke up at the crack of dawn the next morning, the only prepping we had to do was to set the tables out in the driveway.
- Put your “big ticket” items near the road so people will be more likely to stop and shop.
- Categorize your items like a store would. Put all of the home decor items together, toys together, seasonal together, etc. Then create small signs for each table. I tired to make it interesting by labeling the seasonal table as “‘Tis the Season”, the jewelry table as “Sparkly Stuff”, “Lighting Dept” for the lamps and light fixtures, “Art Gallery” for wall art, and the kitchen table as “Get Cookin’”.
- Because I knew I would be half asleep the next morning, before I went to bed I sketched out a “floorplan” of where I wanted each table to go. That way, when my dad and Greg put the tables out they had a map to go by… I was still inside doing my hair : )
- Having a designated cashier table answers all of the “who do I pay” questions and makes the process go along much smoother. On the cashier table, I had my play cash register (the calculator came in handy for my non-Mathlete-self). I also had a jar of Easter candy that I got the night before 50% off at CVS. And of course I had a pad of paper, a few Sharpies, a good book, grocery bags for customers, and my Disney World travel mug.
- Put the smaller, more expensive items near your cashier table so you can keep an eye on them. It’s sad, but people do tend to “lift” things from Yard Sales. During our sale, we had four Wii games disappear.
DURING THE SALE
- Turn on some music! It will help the shoppers be in a better mood and help the time go by faster for you. Keep it easy, fun and relaxing. We turned the radio to our local popular “light rock” station, Lite 98.
- Greg was the designated “let me help you with that” guy. It’s always good to have someone ready to help people to their car with big items.
- Have an extension chord hooked up to an outdoor outlet for people to test drive items that plug in. It’s also good to have a few batteries on hand for battery-operated items.
- To lure drive-bys, we staged a box of new born puppies with a big sign that said “Free”, set up a petting zoo, and rented a $2,000 bouncy house. Just kidding. Just wanting to see if you’re paying attention!
- Don’t bring the left overs back in the house! Or the shed! We ended up taking everything we had left over to the Goodwill. In some areas, you can even schedule a Good Will truck to come pick them up for you.
- Before you head in to take the long-awaited hot shower, make sure you go around and take all of your signs down. Not only is this polite but we heard you can get fined for not taking you signs down (at least in our area you can).
Do you have any Yard Sale tips to pass along? We’d love to hear them – even though Greg says we’re not having another Yard Sale for a loooooong time, haha.