Thursday, May 07, 2009

Yard sales - the uncharted territory

Thanks to all those of you who waded through my last post. I was especially challenged and encouraged by those of you with special-needs kids...I need to hear from you and remind myself the reasons I go to work! More than ever, I realize my world of "normal" is such a huge blessing, one that I have taken for granted.

The other thing is how the special needs world must be so lonely. The moms I have met are so dedicated to their kids, and are very limited in the amount of time they can be away from them. I'd like to challenge you to look around and find someone in that spot who could use a friend!

And in other news, for the next week or so I will not be working outside the home. I will be doing nothing but tearing my house apart, teasing out the outgrown, the underused and the no-longer-useful.

Yep, I'm having my first-ever yard sale next Saturday (May 16).

I've never been much of a garage saler, mostly because when the kids were all little, it was too much trouble to buckle everyone in, unbuckle everyone out, keep them from knocking things over, chasing the homeowner's dog, and/or keep them from whining to buy ANOTHER stuffed-animal Barney JUST LIKE the one they already had collecting dust on a shelf at home - only to find out the sale had nothing I was interested in buying.

I did, however, LOVE our local thrift store in Big Suburb. One stop, and everything was labeled, priced, and color-separated. It was almost the exclusive provider of children's clothing for many of our lean years, and is still the source of most of our preschool toys and all of our Legos. All that, and I could confine little people to a shopping cart!

Dennis, surprisingly, is really into the whole garage sale thing (maybe because he knows I'm TOTALLY overwhelmed at the thought??). He's been devouring tips on the internet, and already has things in piles all over the garage. I am SHOCKED, that, for a family that purged ruthlessly just ONE year ago (for our move, no less!), we still have stuff to get rid of!

People from our Sunday school class have donated items, so we are really hoping this turns out to be a good fund raiser for Allie-15's Africa trip.

Since this is uncharted territory for me, I would love to hear from anyone who has more experience than I do on garage/yard sales!

Some of the things we are trying to figure out:
  • Whether or not to price some things, or just let people make offers
  • How to set things up
  • What foods/drinks to have to sell
  • How to display things like clothes and small items
If you've done something that really works, let me know! If you've made mistakes, tell me what they are so we can avoid them! What would you do differently next time?

Anxious to hear from you!


Cassandra said...

The easiest way to price is the "colored dot system"...especially for clothes. One colored dot is for $1 items, another color for $2 so for shoes and most things.Take a big board and draw big dots that tell dollar amounts and colors. Keeps questions at bay! :)

knick knacks and such, you can price seperately and books two categories- hard backs one price, soft covers another price.

Food? Cookies and brownies in ziplocs and bottled water.

and make sure there is like a poster out there for customers to see what the trip is about...should be sure to boost sales ;)

E. Tyler Rowan said...

As one who loves garage saling while the kiddies play at Grandma's house, here are some things I hate:
- unmarked items - I want to know the asking price so I know if it's even in my range to barter
- clothing stacked in piles - it is just so much easier to see if there's anything in the size you're looking for if it's all hung on a line.
Things I love:
- knowing that proceeds are going to something worthwhile
- pre-packaged snacks to buy (like chips, granola bars, cans of pop) as opposed to homemade - you know how we never let our kids eat anything homemade at Halloween?
- seeing a full yard/garage with a lot of variety (nothing is worse than stopping at a yard sale that turns out to be just Grandma's old doilies, lol).
Have fun!

Laura said...

I prefer things to be marked with a price as well. I love Cassandra's dot system...very clever!

Maureen said...

I am the garage sale queen. When I needed extra money for my daughter's dance classes this year, I decluttered my home and made about $200!

Put prices on things, but usually people will negotiate with you. I would put all the clothes in boxes separated by women's, men's little boys, babies etc.... with a sign 25 cents a piece or whatever you want to sell them for.

As far as food and drink, who can resist a cute kid selling lemonade? My kids love to set up a lemonade stand and make their own money!

On the other hand, I love to go to yard sales! Without the kids. My mom and I will go to them on occasion and Grandpa is in charge of the kids for the morning!

I am sorry this is long, one last thing. I have a cousin who makes a living off going to yard sales and then selling the items on ebay. No kidding. I wish I was as ambitious. Good luck!

Jen said...

My only advice is....if you really want to get rid of it and someone offers a lower a price...and you know if its still there when the sale is over and it will be loaded up for good will....take the offer....please.....I have hit myself so many times for not taking the offer and it goes to goodwill and I get nothing for it....

On another green beans are coming up and onions....we planted squash, tomatoes, watermelon, 4 kinds of peppers and cucumbers...some zucchini and a huge herb garden on the deck...cant wait until it all comes in....

Good luck with the sale...I love going to them but hate having them.

Mary said...

I say price everything. The dots would work great for your sale. I just hate having someone ask me how much I want for something because I'm not quick on my feet and can't come up with a price off the top of my head so I end up taking whatever they offer.

Seth, Annelise, Elijah, & Joshua said...

1. Put a price tag on EVERYTHING!!!

2. Buy, borrow, make, steal ;), a clothes rack. Maybe even two. One for children's clothes, one for big people clothes.

3. Let the little ones have a lemonade stand. Lemonade and ice tea are good business. Cheap to make, easy to rack up on the profits.

Put the big/hot sell items out where buyers can see them from the road... COVER WITH A SHEET OR BLANKET ANYTHING YOU DO NOT WANT TO SELL IN YOUR GARAGE/yard sale!!! Thieves go around to yard sales, look in people's garages at what they aren't selling and then steal the stuff later. Happened to us last year. One of my husbands very expensive power tools was stolen the week after our garage sale. Police told us the scam. it was a bummer.

Happy selling! Praying it is great!

Rachel said...

My best advice is price everything. A lot of people won't make an offer if it isn't already priced. They don't want to have to ask for the price on every single item.
Definitely have Allie make a big poster about what the money is going towards with a few pictures. People will donate money without buying anything.
Have water and pop for sale. Kids are to cute to resist.
Kids clothes I will look through stacks for but adult clothes I like to see on a rack.
Other than that I would say group like items together.
If you're doing it on Friday and Sat. and someone offers you a lowball price on Fri. don't feel like you have to take it, or if it's early Sat morning. Tell them you think you can get the full price and they are welcome to come back later and see if it's still there.
That happened to me with a changing table. 3 people offered me less on Friday and I held out and first thing Sat morning someone snapped it up, full price. Which was about $10 more than I paid for it. lol
Good luck. We'll pray for beautiful weather and lots of buyers.

Terra@mggoslings said...

Hey Katherine! I am going to Africa too, but in October. And, having a yard sale (hopefully) with the proceeds going to the trip. I plan on making a couple of big signs with the mission trip info on it stating that the money will go to the trip. I had a friend that did this, did not price anything, and made more than any other sale she has had. People even donated when there was nothing there they wanted to buy. Let me know how it goes. I know what it is like for God to have to provide for an Africa trip. I am becoming a semi-professional waiter!

Diane said...

Check out this link on Real Simple's site.

Good luck!

Ginger said...

You and me both! Sat. the 16th will be our 1st yard sale too! Every year we set aside stuff for the annual neighborhood sale, but then the idea of sitting there all day just doesn't appeal so we take it all down to the Goodwill donation trailer and are done with it.

I found at the store, colored, dot stickers with varied prices already on them, .25, $1, $5, etc. Kinda handy.

The kids are going to sell cookies and flower boquets with all my old 'vases' (used glass bottles).

We'll see how it goes. Oh, and a friend told me that towards the end of the sale, she'll tell people anything from the clothes/books/whatever that you can fit into a bag you can have for ___$. Just to get rid of more.

Good Luck! :)

Destiny said...

Praying y'll have wonderful weather the day of the Yard Sale. Have you ever watched the show "Clean House"? They host a yard sale on this show every episode. They have wonderful Yard Sale ideas. I agree with the other comments, have everything priced and tell people what the proceeds are going can even have a box/jar next to your register that says "donations for the trip" even if some one doesn't want to buy anything, but feel led to support. My sister had a yard sale to raise money to come here, and she made a lot. also advertise the yard sale in your local paper, and put flyers up in your neiborhood and stores near by. Praying that God blesses the labor of your hands beyond your expectations!

Dahl Family said...

That is so funny! We just had our first ever yard sale too-as a family!! I pray yours will go well!! :)