Yard sales are a great way to make some extra cash in order to pay down debt. They are also useful for decluttering closets, basements, garages, etc. If you've never had a yard sale before, the easiest part of the entire process is the actual day of the sale. The real work comes before -- when everyone in the family must sort through all their "stuff", deciding which items to part with, as well as which items to keep. In this post, we will provide some tips on how to have a successful yard sale of your own, as well as some tips on group sales.
Decide on a Date
Friday afternoons and Saturdays are typically the best times to have a yard sale. It's even more ideal if you can make your sale coincide with a public event that tends to draw people out and into the local community. It may also be possible to gather with neighbors and sponsor a group yard sale, either at your home or someone else's in the neighborhood.
The Countdown Begins
Once you commit to a specific date, then comes the real work. Sorting through all the things you and your family have takes time. It may take several weekends for each family member to sort through all their things, deciding which things they no longer need vs. those with which they can't part. Once everyone is finished, check whether each item is in good condition and ready to sell, or if it needs a little cleaning or minor repair before sale day arrives. You can always try to sell items "as is", but that typically means selling at a reduced price.
People who attend yard sales typically appreciate having every item clearly marked with a price tag, so take some time prior to the day of the sale and attach a price sticker to each item. If you are having a group sale with your neighbors, mark your family initials on each tag so the results of the sale go to the correct family.
It's important to advertise both prior to and on the day of the sale. Social media outlets such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, community Facebook groups, etc. are great places to advertise a sale at no cost. Some grocery stores, hardware stores, and post offices allow public boards where community members can paste a local yard sale flier. At a minimum, the flier should include the specific dates and times of the sale, along with a general description of the types of items available. It should include multiple paper tear-offs that reiterate the days and times, along with the address where the sale will occur.
Other Prep Work
Before sale day, make sure you have enough coinage along with a variety of bills in order to make change for the first few transactions. In addition, have plenty of bags and/or boxes available so people can easily cart away all their purchases. Try to organize your sales items into groups (i.e., children's clothing, toys, sports equipment) all in one area, and provide sufficient space so that buyers can easily walk through the sale without accidentally tripping over or breaking an item.
The Day of the Sale
In order to help people easily zero in on your location, place a clearly marked, brightly colored sign in the driveway or yard, perhaps with some attached helium-filled balloons. In addition, since yard sale attendees tend to be early birds, on the day of sale, be fully prepared and ready to go by opening time.
Especially when participating in group sales, it's important to keep a record of each sale so the proceeds of the day are correctly distributed. The easiest way to do this is to list the sale in a notebook and place the price tag next to the record of the sale. The most secure way to keep track of the all the money received is to designate one person as the record keeper and have them keep all the proceeds in a fanny pack strapped around their waist.
Resist the temptation to waste all the money you just earned by going out and buying more things you don't need. Honor all the hard work you and your family performed by applying the proceeds to pressing debt. Tangibly seeing your debt going down by a sizeable amount is reward enough.