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How can I Have a Successful Yard Sale?

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2016
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After you've had a few successful years of accumulating clothes, toys, power tools and other household effluvia, it may be time to hold a successful yard sale to deal with it all. There are a number of things which go into having a successful yard sale, however, from choosing the right day to presenting an attractive display for potential drive-by customers. The difference between an unsuccessful and successful yard sale is often the amount of pre-planning a homeowner puts into the process.

One way to have a more successful yard sale is to plan your day and time well. Saturdays are traditionally the best days to hold yard sales, although Sundays and warm weather federal holidays can also be good. Many seasoned yard sale buyers also prefer to do their browsing as early as possible, often before the official beginning of the event. If you want a successful yard sale, be prepared to start very early and haggle with customers as you continue to set up your display. Cash speaks volumes with early shoppers, so be sure to have plenty of small denomination currency on hand to make instant change.

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A successful yard sale is often an exercise in customer psychology. Many yard sale shoppers are looking for something of personal interest, but they don't want to pay retail prices for it. This philosophy is why you should prominently display your most unusual items in a cluster, away from the usual merchandise buyers expect to find. A surfboard or an unfinished dune buggy, for instance, is bound to attract more attention than a box of magazines or clothes. Hobbyist equipment or musical instruments are also bound to be noticed by impulsive buyers, so place them conspicuously throughout the display.

To have a more successful yard sale, remember that many of your potential customers begin as drivers. You only have a few seconds to convince a passing driver to stop for your sale, so visuals are very important. Avoid setting up your yard sale in a typical "too many clothes in the back, worthless glassware up front" arrangement. Seasoned yard sale customers are often turned off by prominent displays of used clothing. For a more successful yard sale look, try putting the clothes off to one side and place large appliances, bicycles or electronics in the rear area. If a driver spots a computer monitor or a set of golf clubs, it might imply that the yard sale may contain other big-ticket items as well.

Pricing is also critical for a successful yard sale experience. If you don't feel like haggling, price most of your items low enough to sell quickly. It may sound sacrificial, but your ultimate goal is to clear out your inventory to make room for new merchandise, not necessarily make a significant profit. If individual pricing becomes problematic, try separating items into several price brackets and display them in boxes or separate tables. All books may be 25 cents, for example, while all toys may be a dollar. If customers do want to haggle, you may be able to negotiate package deals to move several items at one time.

Advertising can also play a key role in a successful yard sale. When placing an ad in the local newspaper, try to mention a few interesting or big-ticket items which may entice more readers to visit. Some families will combine their efforts and hold a multi-family yard sale to increase visitor traffic. If you want to increase your chances of a successful yard sale involving multiple sellers, scout out the proposed display area ahead of time to prevent parking or accessibility problems for neighbors and buyers alike.

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