Monday, April 19, 2010

Yard Sale Wrap-up

I am so glad to report that we held our yard sale over the weekend, and everything went well!

What I achieved:
  • I didn't finish the final declutter areas in my Purge Process, but we still managed to sell over 200 items in our sale, including a large old TV (not digital!) that I would have had to pay $20 to recycle. We gave it away for $10, and I hope that it holds together for a few more years for the lucky purchaser!
  • Most of the remaining items we carted off to Goodwill. It's a mess, but we have lots more space in the basement now.
What I learned:
  • You don't need to pay for advertising! I posted a free advertisement on CraigsList three days before the sale. We also hung up a total of 9 signs in our neighborhood, leading people from two major roads to our street. I was really nervous that this wasn't going to be enough advertising, but it was fine! We had consistent traffic to our sale all morning, and continued to make a few sales after Noon while my husband was taking down the sale (after we had taken down our signs!)
  • Stuff will get stolen. We had a few small items stolen: cheap jewelry and some colorful plastic cups. They weren't worth  much, but it gave me an uncomfortable feeling, that people had interacted with me and my family and had chosen to take an item rather than pay $1 for it. I tried not to let it get to me. If you're going to have a sale, keep a close watch on your valuable items! (Or sell them another way. Most of the stuff we sold was not very valuable.)
  • The more the merrier. Our niece brought over her items to sell at our sale, and my friend brought some larger bikes and furniture to sell. A few neighbors brought over a few items, too. Still more neighbors stopped by to socialize, and a friend of mine was visiting from out of town, so she came over for a while, too. My son's friend came over with his dad, and the dad ended up taking the boys to the park after hanging out for a while. It was a nice community-building event that was much more fun than I expected! If you're planning a sale, get some people together to make it a more festive event!
What I recommend:
  • Carry your money on your person. I made sure to have lots of small bills, and I wore them in my jacket, which has four zip-pockets total. I put $10s and $20s in one pocket, $5s, in another, and put $1 and quarters/change in the other two pockets. It worked well, although I got a little hot near midday.
  • Be willing to bargain. I had some impressive hagglers come to the sale. I had to really concentrate to keep up with the offers she was making. I gave her great prices and she bought a lot of stuff. She even came back later and bought more. (I wonder what she plans to do with it all? Hold her own sale, perhaps?) I think she really liked that I was willing to haggle with her. I recommend coffee to help you keep up with the math. But if you are set on a price, stick with it. I held firm on certain items that I had decided on in advance.
  • Be willing to hold items. One purchaser had a $100 bill which I was unwilling to break so that she could purchase $7 worth of items. I told her I could hold her items for an hour. She returned and ended up buying $5 of additional stuff once she broke her hundred at a nearby fast food restaurant.
  • Put out an extension cord so that people can test the small appliances. This led to several sales when we could confirm that the items still worked.
  • Enlist help to watch your children. (See community building above!)
How much did I make, you ask? I'm not going to say yet, as I want to wait and report all my results for the month in my April Declutter Challenge Report. I'm waiting for my consignment check to be mailed, too, and you can guess how much that total will be. The person who guesses the closest without going over the total will win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

I'm so glad that so much of my stuff has made it to a new home, where hopefully someone is getting good use out of it! I don't think I could have a yard sale every year, but maybe in 2-3 years we'll consider holding another one. It was fun!

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