1. Post on craigslist (under garage sales), your local newspaper and definitely make signs to help guide people along. Many people specifically look for yard sales under some type of ad, but there are many who just see the signs and show up that way.
2. Have your prices set, mark some more pricier things with tape and the amount.
My mistake: I did not do this, and therefore stressed myself out by making up a price quickly in my head because I kept thinking to myself, is this a fair price? Am I making it too low? Especially when many people are there at once and everyone is asking, I was not able to keep a good eye on people and therefore, items came up missing...a.k.a yes, someone stole some things.
3. Get $20-$40 from the bank in 1's, 5's and 10's.
4. Stay firm.
My mistake: I am a huge pushover. I definitely sold things for way too cheap. Of course you want to make money and don't want to price things too high, and most things should be negotiable, but if you do a good enough job of advertising your yard sale, someone will show up who won't mind paying $2-3 for a brand new shirt with a tag on it. If the person puts something back because they felt the price was too high and you really want to get rid of it, obviously offer it for a dollar cheaper, but try to stay firm and make sure you yourself, are being reasonable.
5. Be Prepared- people are CRAZY.
My mistake: People bombard you with questions, and people will steal. Keep your eyes pealed for the thieves. It is helpful if you have someone helping you with the yard sale who can also keep an eye out. This also means take down your signs when you are all packed up. I hadn't taken mine down yet and one of the crazy families came back at 6:30, asking me if I still had a photoalbum. I felt bad for the guy as I felt he had a mental problem, but at the same time we were pretty freaked out about it.
Side note: It was SO hot, it felt like 115 degrees, so we almost decided we were going to have it inside, since we have no furniture on our main floor, we are SUPER glad we did not do this. If you are moving, maybe, but def don't do this if you are not, and hurry and take those signs and ads down. There are crazy people in this world, you never know.
6. Write down on a notepad what you sold and for how much, and have a calculator handy.
My mistake: This is another good reason to have someone helping you. I really wanted to do this and had it planned, but wasn't able to because my lack of good planning...also, my huge pushover/make people happy type self didn't want to piss anyone off by making htem wait so I could write it down. I regret this, as I noticed some stolen items.
7. How to get money for the unsold items- Either take it to goodwill or salvation army and get a tax write off, or keep the good things and sell on ebay or craigslist. OR, find a flea market in your area and hold the items until then and buy a space to set up a table.
All in all, lessons learned:
- I need to stop being a pushover.
- I need to prepare better next time.
- People are insane.
- Two ladies, one old hippie seeming lady and then just a cranky lady seemed to have ran ito eachother a lot at different yard sales. The old lady kept telling me I had wicker furniture on my ad and where was it, I told her over and over it was not me. She insisted it was and that I erased it. The old lady did not like the hippie lady and told me she would probably steal. The hippie lady came back and asked me about some gold earrings and who had bought them, and the old lady said "why didn't you just ask me?!" the hippie lady responded, "because last time I asked you, you said 'you didn't want to talk about it." They started awkwardly beefing.
- The one crazy family who consisted of a young crackhead looking daughter, her mom and dad (and had the returning visitor, the dad), kept telling me over and over about the dad, he had a heart attack and he had surgery, please just give the item for $1 (on numerous items). They said they were homeless and I was doing it for the homeless (they clearly were not homeless). They told me the clothes were washed out, and that I said .25 cents per item, which I NEVER did, I replied the shirt she was holding was brand new and had the tag still on! They bombarded me when I was trying to add things up, and I just so badly wanted them to leave. And then again, the dad came back at 6:30 and wouldn't understand we did not have any of the items anymore.
- Then there was a lady who lived in a richer neighborhood, who talked and talked, said she had 5 kids, and her youngest, the 5 year old girl said she wanted to be a stripper. I asked her how the daughter had heard about that and she said she didn't know, they don't even have cable tv, she is just "sassy." Um, ok...if that's what you want to call it.
So, all in all, I made $43, it wasn't much of a success, I blame the hot, hot weather, my lack of preparation, and mostly, my inability to be firm with my prices. Maybe if I ever do it again, I will have better luck next time! I at least learned a few things about myself.
P.S. A BIG thanks to a pregnant Angela (from The Budding Librarian) and Juan for coming out to help in the heat and allowing for an item to get stolen. We enjoyed your company!