15 Tips to Host the Best Yard Sale This Spring
Spring cleaning season is almost upon us, and many of you out there are going to be looking to purge some of the stuff you don’t need. You could just take it all to Goodwill, but that involves the hassle of loading it up in your Nissan Rogue (or whatever car you own) and driving it to the nearest location.
Arguably, a better option is hosting a yard sale (or garage sale, tag sale, rummage sale, or whatever you’re partial to). With a little planning and preparation, you won’t have to move anything farther than your front yard, and you might even be able to make a little dough while you’re at it!
But where to begin? Take note of these great tips for hosting a yard or moving sale in your neighborhood.
1. Figure out what you want to sell
Let’s start with the most obvious one. Whether you’re hosting a yard sale in Birmingham, having a moving sale in Hoover, or getting a garage sale ready in any other part of the country, creating a list of things to sell is step #1.
Figuring it all out will involve taking inventory of what you own and deciding whether you need it in your life anymore. This can be more difficult for some than it is for others. Maybe you have a sweater you haven’t worn in 3 years, but don’t feel like you can get rid of it because it was a Christmas gift from your great aunt Maisel. Could be an old lawnmower that you know you could fix, if you just made the time. Maybe your kids have grown out of some toys, and it’s time to let them in on the decision.
Either way, the whole process begins with sifting through the contents of your life, channeling your inner Marie Kondo, and figuring out what can go.
2. Get the word out
This is perhaps one of the most important steps. Once you have a timeframe locked in, and you’re properly staffed, it’s time to hit the town with some advertisement. Set up some larger posters at all entrances to your street or neighborhood, with letters large enough to be read by passing cars. Try to have some fun with it and get creative; colorful construction paper, bomb it with glitter, write a fancy catchphrase, whatever you think will grab attention. Also, consider getting signs laminated to protect from random squalls of rain.
After you’ve got your neighborhood stomping grounds covered, go to some close spots where your local community congregates, like churches and rec centers, and ask if you can post some flyers. Make sure you do all of this at least a week before the sale, and, of course, include pertinent info like address, date, and time.
The best way to advertise a garage sale is online. Hit up Craigslist and other similar sites.
3. Do some product research
We’ve all heard stories of folks hawking around garages sales, looking for items that are crazy-underpriced, just so they can turn around a flip them for a profit.
To combat this, the savvy yard sale host might to do some research about the true value of what they have. Maybe you found a collection of old Super Nintendo cartridges in the attic, and instead of putting them all out priced at a dollar a pop, do a little digging on eBay, or sites like Mercari. With just a little poking around on the internet, you could discover that some of those classic games is going for over a hundred bucks online.
Any sort of collector’s or luxury item, whether it be video games, or jewelry, or home décor, should be carefully appraised, so you know the real value of what you’re selling, and don’t get taken advantage of.
One last thing to note: don’t be afraid to ask for more than you really want when pricing items for a garage sale. Haggling is part of the process!
4. Set a timeframe
You want to give yourself a couple of weeks to plan for your yard sale, for two main reasons. Firstly, to gather the necessary inventory you want to sell, as well as supplies, like tables, boxes, bins, and clothes racks. Secondly, to get the word out; a yard sale can only be a successful as how much it’s advertised.
5. Make it competitive
Some yard sales only happen for a day, whereas some take place over the course of a whole weekend.
The professional yard sale goer will often show up early on a Saturday morning to get first dibs on the full selection you have to offer. This is where a bit of planning-ahead can be a huge benefit. With the sun setting later and later as spring turns to summer, you can try to push yourself to keep yours open later in the day, which will allow folks with busy daytime schedules to peruse your stock. This becomes much easier if you’re able to get some extra hands on deck to run the thing.
6. Enlist some help
Spouses, children, and close neighbors can all be excellent candidates to help you man your yard sale operation. Indeed, it’s no simple task to run one by yourself, depending on just how much stuff you’re trying to sell. Think outside the box—if you have any friends free, many might be happy to help, especially if you sweeten the deal by ordering some pizza.
Refreshments and food are always encouraged (more on that later).
7. Tidy up the garage
We may usually call it a “yard sale” here in the south, but plenty of northern folks call it a garage sale for good reason: a lot of your stock might be sold right out of the garage itself. This strategy has plenty of benefits, like giving you a backup plan in case of bad weather.
Going back to the point of presentation, it always looks better if your garage isn’t a disaster. Think about how to organize a garage sale in a way that isn’t off-putting to potential buyers. If you have a shed or other area where lawn equipment can be stored, be sure to make use of that, too. This has the additional upside of eliminating any confusion as to what is and isn’t for sale. Not only will you have a successful garage sale, but you’ll also have a clean garage come Sunday night!
8. Plan a layout
This is where you need to start thinking about some logistics. You already know how much stuff you have to sell, so how many tables, racks, and chairs do you need? Presentation is all-important, and you don’t want the vase you’re selling for 30 bucks just sitting in the grass.
It’s often a good idea to place bulkier, eye-grabbing things like furniture at the forefront to draw people’s attention, and keep smaller valuables like jewelry back toward the garage area, so you can keep a better eye on things.
9. Have plenty of cash handy
It’s always a good idea to price your wares at nice, round numbers to eliminate the need for coins. Make sure you have plenty of ones, fives, and tens on deck so you can quickly and efficiently make change.
10. Consider purchasing a phone-based card reader
This might seem like a huge hassle, but the average card reader is actually super simple to use, and also quite inexpensive.
Most people who come to yard sales come with cash in hand, but in this day and age, the simple fact is that a lot of people haven’t carried cash with them since the 90’s. Having a card reader handy can be the make-or-break factor when it comes to completing a sale, and the easier you make it for the shopper, the more likely they are to buy.
11. Figure out a place to stow your cash
You probably don’t have access to a store-grade register and till, so you might have to get creative with this one. If a wad of bills in a rubber band works for you, that’s fine. But it might be worth it to insert in a cash box, which resembles a register at a store. This keeps all of your money and coins neat and tidy, and most of them even lock to make sure your money is secure.
Whether you’re accepting cash, card, or a little of both, be sure that you’re keeping a ledger of what’s being sold, and how much it’s being sold for. Aside from all the organizational benefits, being able to watch those dollars stack up over the course of the day doesn’t hurt!
12. Where are you parking the car?
The day has finally come, and you’re all prepared, but where are you stashing your ride in the meantime? Yard sales tend to take up the bulk of space in both your garage and driveway, if you’re doing it right. Sure, you’re proud of the new Nissan Altima you just bought, but it’s not exactly conducive to turning your front yard into a bazaar. You’ll probably want to leave plenty of street parking for patrons. A good solution for this is to ask a neighbor if you can keep your vehicle in their driveway (they’ll likely do so for free, if you offer to return the favor).
13. Offer some refreshments
This is one of those seemingly small details that can go a long way. Go ahead and prepare a pitcher of lemonade or sweet tea, or even just keep a keg of water handy, and give it to patrons. You can charge a small fee for these—say 25 cents for a glass—but offering it up for free is a classy move that engenders good faith between you and your clientele. It also helps curb that southern humidity.
14. Offering some snacks can’t hurt
While this isn’t essential, it’s always appreciated. Consider looking into budget-friendly ways to accommodate your patrons, like grilling hot dogs or handing out bags of snacks, many of which can be bought in bulk at the grocery store for super cheap—anything to provide a good experience and get people talking about how great your Birmingham yard sale is.
15. Provide a fun atmosphere!
Shoppers are more likely to buy if they’re in a good mood, and what puts people in a good mood better than some good music? All it takes is a decent speaker and a streaming service subscription (or a mix CD if you’re old-school) and you instantly have a fun vibe for any hopeful buyers.
You can also put up some minor decorations. Blow up some balloons, hang some streamers from the trees, make a banner to go above the garage—whatever helps provide a lively environment that guests can enjoy while they walk around.
Best of luck from the team at Jim Burke Nissan!
And, hey, after you rake in all that dough from your super-successful yard sale, if you’re in the market for a new ride, like the 2022 Nissan Kicks, call our Birmingham Nissan dealership at (205) 390-7564. Simply ask about how our $500 price protection promise guarantees you get the very best deal on a car in Birmingham. Happy selling and happy shopping!