Planning a Yard Sale

Get paid to get rid of your excess stuff with a yard sale. Learn how to manage the sale and make money from your unwanted stuff.

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Planning a Yard Sale

There's no better way to get cash for your castoffs than having a yard sale. And if you're selling your house a yard sale will help you declutter so your house appears less full of stuff and more inviting. Just about anything can sell, but the most popular items are sporting goods, baby equipment, framed art, kitchen appliances, dishes and books.

Timing is everything. Saturday mornings in the Spring and Fall are prime time because the weather is comfortable and bargain hunters are out and about. Sue Brannegan from the eastern shore of Maryland who plans an annual Fall sale with friend Janet Healy suggests "Coordinate your sale with a large community event which generates traffic and brings more people to your sale. "Don't take any unsold items back in the house, the idea is to get rid of things" cautions Healy, who says they bring unsold items to a local thrift shop or donation center.

The more items on display the more likely a sale will attract passers-by so consider a neighborhood sale when everyone sells their stuff.

Call your town office to see if a permit is required and learn rules about posting signs. Make signs on light colored poster boards with large easy-to-read letters or buy "Garage Sale" signs and fill in the information in the blank space. Add arrows to direct customers to the sale unless you live on a busy street. Post signs on trees and poles on busy intersections.

Get the word out with flyers on bulletin boards in local stores. Consider taking an ad out in a local circular or newspaper.

Plan ahead and save bags, boxes and newspapers for wrapping breakable items. Collect quarters, singles and five dollar bills for making change in a money box or wallet.

Gather all items in one place so you can organize and tag them. If you want to get rid of things price them at least 80% below their original cost. Tag them with dot stickers marked with the price; identify more than one seller with different color dots.

If necessary borrow tables from a church or public hall and group compatible things together. If items are coordinated like place mats and dishes sell them as a package. Use clear plastic bags to wrap bed sheets, table linens and towels noting the size and quantity. Hang clothes on hangers on a rack arranged by size so they can be easily seen. And make a table for small items priced "Any 4 for $1" or a set price table where all items cost the same "Anything on this table for $3".

If your selling electronics have extension cord and batteries available to demonstrate they work.

Don't forget to take down the Yard Sale signs after you've cleaned up and counted the money.

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