Question for Yard Sale experts

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I didn't sell as much as I'd hoped today although the police being at my home at 7:00 this morning probably didn't help. Anyway, after about 1 1/2 - 2 hours, I reduced the prices on everything to 50%. One or two people suggested that I put a couple of more signs up since I'm back in a cul-de-sac. I'll do that for tomorrow since I decided to just keep stuff out and extend this thru tomorrow. I'm not sure many people go to yard sales here on Sundays though. This morning I had pastries for people for 25 cents each and no one got a single one. I wouldn't mind including a cookout tomorrow, too, and selling plates of burgers or dogs or whatever if I thought people would buy it. But I definitely don't want to prepare for that then people not buy it. So I'm wondering two things- 1) Do you advertise the cookout so people will be prepared or do you ask them to contact you ahead of time if they're interested in it or what?, 2) Do you have any other suggestions about how to get more people in? There is a house down the street for sale, I was thinking I'll ask them if they want to add anything in for my next yard sale, 1-2 weeks from now, but I'm not prepared for that this weekend.

    Of course difficult child has disappeared again so it will probably be another night and early morning of police involvement. :(:whiteflag: However, I think I figured out how he got into the house this morning- so I have checked all first floor windows now to make sure they are locked. (I will let him back in if he knocks and I'm home but I have an issue with him sneaking back into the house in the wee hours of the morning- he knows he can call and tell me he'd like back in and I will unlock the door for him.) He refuses to give me the key to my car that he's somehow gotten a hold of, or if it isn't that, to tell me how he's getting into my car when I'm keeping it locked and my set of keys in my pocket 24/7.:mad:
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    If you are in one of those neighborhoods with lots of little courts and cul-de-sacs, your best bet is to probably try and get your neighbors to join you in a "street sale" in the next few weeks. Put an ad in the paper as well as signs at the entrance to the neighborhood.

    Definitely skip the pastries and burgers...
  3. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Professional yard saler here! Been doing yard sales for years (ever since I started an antique business 25 years ago).

    I would definitely not plan on doing a sale tomorrow (Sunday is not a good yard sale day), nor would I plan offering food (folks are a little leery of purchasing food when they don't know you - times have changed in that regard). My kids did sell lemonade and choc chip cookies a few times when they were younger and that went well - but folks like buying stuff for kids. At this time, you don't have the extra income to buy pastries or hot dogs you don't need.

    Around this neighborhood, there are several free ways to advertise. We have a google group and I put an ad in there; we also have a neighborhood website and an online northside thing I put ads in for free. The adjacent neighborhood also has a newsletter and website and I put something on their website.

    I always do Craigs list, beginning several days beforehand - but you need to re-list every day so your stays near the top. I put posters out on every main corner in bright colors (usually about 6) and I also advertise in the newspaper. Most pro yard salers use the local paper and shop by zip codes. Rather than buying pastries or hot dogs, put an ad in the paper. Remember that you are charged by work/character. If you've never placed a classified ad with them before, you may have to pay up front with a debit or charge card rather than have them bill you - I believe that's their policy now.

    And, DF has given you a great suggestion. We have a block email chain and I have coordinated three block yard sales. Since I live in a historic area, with lots of big old houses, folks love coming over here thinking they'll find some antiques! Getting a group together and advertising it as a block yard sale or multi family yard sale is always good. It means potential buyers can hit several sales in one small area.

    Lead your ad with a couple of the most interesting things you have to pull folks in. When I had my antique business, we would often have to buy a whole room full of furniture to get the one piece we wanted (man, the good old days of buying old furniture and collectibles for cheap is over - partially due to bay). I would "accumulate" a lot of things that were not worth fixing or cleaning up to take to a show. So, I would have a "Accumulation of Estates" Sale! That title really brought the folks in and it was the truth - it was a bunch of stuff from a bunch of different people.

    Good luck.
  4. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't try selling food either. You could probably manage to fly under the radar if it's just a neighborhood thing, but most places have a ton of health department regulations involved with selling food and if someone reported it, it could cause problems. Around here Saturday is the big day for garage sales but I've seen some caarry over to Sundays after church too. Good luck with it though.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks everyone! OK, I won't do food but since I'm too sore and tired to carry in all the stuff tonight, I might as well go ahead and let it carry over until tomorrow. (I only had 2 1/2 hours sleep last night.) I might not sell anything but frankly, I have nothing to lose since there isn't much else I can get accomplished on Sundays. I think it will be slow so I will take that time to pull out more from closets, shed, etc, and get it priced and organized then pull it back into the back room (difficult child's previous game room) and implement a better plan for next weekend. During this upcoming week, I will be busy with VA, PO, looking for a job, and trying to sell bigger things by appointment. only. I can stop by neighbors' houses early this week and see if they'd like to set a table up or two next weekend. Once I get some this stuff out of the way, I will advertise this as a moving sell, put the dogs in the back room, and let people walk thru the main portion of the house to view larger items and furniture. I might reconsider incorporating a cookout at that point if neighbors are involved in this, too. I wouldn't cookout/buy food that difficult child and I won't eat over the next few days if it didn't sell. He'll eat those pastries that I bought for this morning. I just wouldn't have done it if I thought no one wanted them. But I can re-evaluate that in a couple of weeks.

    Keep the suggestions coming- I'm reading thru them all and incorporating them the best I can!

    LDM, I had to chuckle at you- apparently that is what difficult child's father did until he was turning over enough to open a business as well. I KNOW you are not the type of person he is, but in his case, his advertisement is how I found enough info on him to give something substantial to DSS so if they actually make a real effort to go after child support, they should be able to get something. BUt I can't blame either of you- I am thinking more and more that if I can get out of crisis mode for a little while, I might start pursuing a few different avenues to see if I can get some sort of business off the ground. I think I would love it even if it ends up being twice as much work as working for someone else on salary and having more money and benefits. And as we all know, there is a LOT to be said for being happy and having a little satisfaction in our lives.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    So sorry it didn't go that well. At least you've gotten everything sorted and catalogued for the next time.
    I love the ideas here.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    It wasn't too bad- I think I got about $80 from it but you can barely tell anything at all was sold- I was hoping a lot more would go. It's a start though as I get the hang of it. I've only done this three other times in my life and they have been spread years apart so I don't have this skill honed yet. I have some bills due and with so much up in the air right now about what I might be able to get help with, I'm a little antsy about not getting some money quickly.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We don't do food at garage sales in Australia either, too many regulations on re-selling food.

    The typical way these days to let the neighbours know of a garage sale, is a combination of a sign stapled to a telegraph pole or fence post (do check first, don't staple it to anyone's private property if it's going to get you into trouble - you are, after all, stapling your contact details there, they can find you!) and BALLOONS. We blow up a bunch of balloons with a few streamers. Nothing flash, no helium or anything. And we tie them to the gate, or wherever we need to catch someone's eye. And the sign "garage sale" with the balloons is usually enough.

    In our town people often put signs up on the main street poles, near the shops. As long as you take your signs down later, nobody minds.

    Another option is to have a regular garage sale, perhaps in conjunction with other people, at a more central location. Once a month works for people, they get to know and look for you.

  9. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    What we've done, when it's really hot outside, is sell cans of soda and bottled water during the yard sale. Several times, we've made more on the drinks than the stuff.
  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I'm seeing this more often. I'd buy beverages and maybe a cookie from a kid (and even then I'd probably toss it) but I'd never buy regular food at a yard sale.

    I've done really well at a few garage sales and at others it's not been worth my time. These days I sort out the stuff that would likely go well on ebay or amazon and donate the rest.

    Garage sales have seemed a little different to me this summer--lots of smaller ones instead of the full garage sales that seem worth stopping for. Also smaller numbers of shoppers. I think the economy probably is driving both of those factors.
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm up and running- I've had a couple of people stop by and buy stuff already and my dog is telling me another might be on the way. My lot isn't huge but I've tried to include a diversity of things and cutting prices in half has helped a huge amount. I noticed not many seem to be haggling so much- they are going back and picking up more. I'm still not expecting as many today as yesterday but feel a tad bit more knowledgable about next weekend. Gotta go for now!!

    ETA: False alarm.- dog barking for the sake of it I guess. What I am noticing is that people are financially strapped and buy needed items at good prices- at least that is what is pulling them in here, then they might go ahead and get 1 or 2 unnecessary things they see, like a game for the kids.
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Good luck. I, too, wouldn't cook food for sale. I'm not a germ freak ;) but I wouldn't buy food from a stranger.
    Bottled water might be a good idea if it's hot. DDD