Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Organizing Project: Yard Sale Prep

There's nothing like a neighborhood garage sale to bring my organizing projects to the forefront! I know that if I can get myself together and put in a little effort, I'll be rewarded with a less-cluttered house come next week, which will make it easier to find a place for all the items that we decide to keep. Items that we don't need anymore will be connected with people who need them enough to pay for them (hopefully), and items that no one wants will be donated, where it will be put to good use--if a use can be found.

And hopefully none of the sale items will reappear inside the house somewhere. Oh, and hopefully none of the stuff from my neighbor's sales will end up at our house, lovely items that they are. (Gee, I wonder who might be the culprit of such activities? If it isn't me, it must be one of my dear family members. I might have to lock the house and subject everyone to a search before they are allowed back inside!)

Here is my plan to get ready for the Big Day:

In the week leading up to the sale:

1. Designate a Yard Sale Spot. For me, this will be the table in the basement. It could be any area in your home or garage where you can put all of the items that you are planning on selling in the sale. This is where I will collect everything together for the sale so that I can price items and get things organized by category, etc.

2. Purge. I'll grab some boxes and then move through the house collecting items for the sale. I'm going to use last year's checklist to be sure and hit all the hotspots in my house:
    • My closet and drawers
    • Daughter's closet and drawers
    • Son's closet and drawers
    • Linen Closet
    • Large kitchen cabinet 
    • Pantry
    • Buffet in dining room (aka Craft Storage)
    • Toy Cabinets, DVD Cabinet
    • Basement Play Room
    • Garage
    • Storage Room
3. Get the family involved. I'll do most of the purging, but I'll encourage the kids to pick some items from the sale (and promise them the money) and I'll beg my husband to find a few things to part with. (I already have a few things in mind!) Another project for the family may be to make signs for the big day.

4. Sort. Before I start pricing items, I want to get things sorted into categories so that I can get a better idea of what I have and what is the best way to price things. If I have a lot of smaller items, I might put them all in a box with a sign that says '25 cents' or similar. Sorting before pricing avoids the situation of pricing two like items the same, or pricing a higher quality item lower than a lower quality item.

5. Price. I use stickers, some of which are blank, some have pre-printed prices on them. Many people like to haggle at yard sales in our area, so I think of prices as a starting point. If I have a lot of small, low price items, I might pile them in a box and put a sign on it that says '$1 each' or similar.

6. Get Change. I'll make a point to go to the bank and get a roll of quarters and a large number of $1 bills, probably about $50 worth of change total.

The day before the sale:

7. Advertise. This is a neighborhood yard sale, so several neighbors are taking care of this step for me. Ordinarily I would post an advertisement on Craigslist.

8. Set-up and Transfer. The day before the sale I'll start set up tables in the garage and transfer everything to that location. (I don't want to do this until the day before the sale because it's rainy here this week and I would rather park my car in the garage as long as possible!)

9. Extension Cord and 'Broken' signs. It's a good idea to have an extension cord set up for the sale so that people can test items with electrical components. For items that don't work well (such as my old Oster stand mixer) or that no longer work, I include a sign stating that fact. You would be surprised at what people are willing to buy even when it doesn't work! I guess they might fix the item, or use it for parts for another item.

The day of the sale:

10. Open Early. Be prepared for the first shoppers to arrive even before your advertised opening time. I typically have shoppers looking at items while we carefully carry tables out of the garage to the driveway (which is why I like to set everything up the day before!)

11.Hang Signs. Post signs at nearby intersections to direct local drivers to your sale. I typically end up doing this after the Early Bird rush is over.

Linked to Top 10 Tuesday and WFMW!