Friday, July 31, 2015

Let It Go!

Last Friday as my client and I were pricing items for his impending yard sale, I received an email from 1-800-GOTJUNK containing tips on how to run a successful sale. I thought 
how apropos! 

I proceeded to read the tips to my client to reassure him I knew what I was doing when it came to running a sale. While I know he trusted me, I think hearing from an impartial source helped him calm down a bit. As it turned out, we were almost sold out by 8:30AM on Saturday and we weren’t even open officially at that time! We happily closed up shop at 11:15AM and took a very small amount of items to the Shelter Island Goodie Section (more on that later). My thrilled client and I were able to lounge by the pool the rest of the afternoon drinking an excellent local sparkling rose brought by a longtime friend. But I digress…

This is prime yard sale season so if you are inclined to have one, here are some tried and true tips to make your sale a huge success. Some of these may be obvious to seasoned sellers, but to you newbies, take note:

1) Make sure EVERY item is marked clearly and perhaps write your initials on the price tags. The latter is especially important if you are participating in a multiple family sale to avoid confusion and insure monies go to the correct seller. 

Price in increments of .25 on up and have about $50 in a mix of bills and quarters on hand to make change. Most people pay with $20’s so make sure you have enough singles on hand.

2) Price items to move. The primary goal of a sale is to get rid of unwanted or unnecessary items. Making money while important, is not always the ultimate. Sometimes telling the provenance of an item makes it more appealing and apt to sell.

Our Sale War Room
3) ADVERTISE!!!! With social media and the internet, there are additional outlets for getting the word out about your sale. Post on your personal and town FB, Twitter and Craigslist pages. Even send a group email to friends who may be interested in checking out the sale. However, if your town or area has a local paper, also place an ad. Most of the buyers at our sale when polled, came because of the ad in the paper.

Make good signs  - lots of them - and make sure they are legible and strategically placed the night before the sale.  Don’t forget to take them down once the sale has ended.

4) Depending on where you live, try to bring items out the night before to save set up time in the morning (see #4) or bring the items to the garage or area closest to the spot where you are holding the sale. While we were sunning ourselves at the pool after our prep on Friday afternoon, we made a few sales because dealers drove by and saw our set up on the lawn. 

5) Merchandise your sale like a store. Put like things together, e.g., all kitchen items together, furniture with furniture, etc. Customers appreciate easy the organization.

6) Be prepared to make deals. Know your bottom line and be willing to negotiate if it means getting rid of stuff. If you have some items that you stand firm on, tell buyers and perhaps give them the option to come back at the end of the day and see if the item is still there. If it’s a choice of taking less or having to keep an unwanted item, it might be time to be flexible on prices.

7) Expect early birds.  My client didn’t believe me but sure enough, we were mobbed at 7:15AM while setting up. Be polite, friendly and let them peruse. You have to make your sale when you have the customers so don’t ask them to come back when at your posted start time. This is where having everything marked ahead of time comes in handy because buyers can shop while you continue to set up.

8) Lastly, nothing comes back in the house when the sale ends. Leftovers can be left at the curb with a free sign (make sure this is allowable in your area). Or make a drop off at the local thrift shop (don’t forget to get your receipt for a tax deduction) or take it to your town’s version of Shelter Island’s Goodie Section. Many town recycling centers have swap areas where residents can drop off unwanted items that are in usable shape and be taken by residents. It’s like their own version of and insures items are not designated to crowd landfills. 


With some careful prep time, organization and a positive attitude, your tag sale will not only relieve your physical load but also your mental one. Let us know your tips for a successful sale. And of course if you feel you can’t do this on your own, get in touch and I can facilitate.

2015. Rosemary Flannery. All Rights Reserved.