How to Grow Your Savings Account by Hosting a Successful Yard Sale

how to have a successful yard saleMost of us host a yard sale every now and then to get rid of junk and grow our savings a bit in the process. Rarely are these goals actually met.

It’s 3 p.m. and you’ve been hosting your yard sale since 10 a.m. Your old computer, stereo and television are all roasting in the sun as you count a whopping $16. That’s right, you’ve spent five hours in the heat to sell a total of two shirts and an old picture frame.

Anyone can host a yard sale, but not everyone knows how to have a successful yard sale.

Fortunately, we’re here to help. We touched base with the Garage Sale Gal – Lynda Hammond. Lynda teaches garage sale courses at Mesa Community College in Arizona, is the author of The Garage Sale Gal’s Guide to Making Money Off Your Stuff and owner of GarageSaleGal.com, a site matching garage sale sellers with buyers.

What successful yard sale tips does she have to offer so you can grow your savings account?

When & How to Host a Successful Yard Sale

You probably won’t get many customers at 3 a.m. on a cold winter night. That said, a sunny weekend isn’t the ideal time to set up shop, either.

According to Hammond, “Fridays are the best day for a seller to have a sale. It’s even worth it to take the day off work and hold a sale. On Fridays, there are fewer garage sales, but typically just as many garage sale buyers looking for sales.”

Hammond also says one-third of her customers are commuters who notice her sale on the way to work, giving added appeal to a Friday yard sale.

Successful Yard Sale Tips To Follow

Time and location are perhaps the most important factors in planning a successful yard sale, but other smaller efforts can also add up to help you make more from selling your stuff. From getting the word out to pricing items for sale, follow these successful yard sale tips and your savings account will thank you.

Advertising Your Yard Sale

Make Attractive Signs: Motorists pass by countless billboards, for-sale signs and other advertisements throughout the day. Give them a reason to take a good look at yours.

According to Hammond, “Make colorful signs that can’t be missed. If I come to a corner and I have a choice between a pretty neon pink sign that’s neat and easy to read and another sign that’s haphazardly made with paint and pieces of cardboard boxes—guess which one I’m going to? Yep, the sale with the pretty sign.”

Keep it Simple: Remember that a motorist traveling through your neighborhood is probably going at least 25 to 30 mph. As such, keep the ad as concise as possible.

Hammond suggests simply adding the word “sale” to your sign with an arrow pointing to your location.

Sign Location: Check with the proper governing authority – your city, county or HOA – regarding sign posting regulations. If permissible, Hammond recommends putting them at eye level for the best chance at grabbing a driver’s attention.

Monitor Signs: On sale day and perhaps even a bit before, monitor your signs to ensure they remain visible. Wind may blow them away, rain may make them soggy and illegible – the list goes on. Replace signs promptly, if necessary.

Also, Hammond recommends watching out for “sign jackers”, noting that one woman’s neighbors hijacked her signs and used them to advertise their own yard sale.

Pricing Your Items

successful yard sale tipsChances are most items you’re selling are items you consider “junk” at this point. However, as the old saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and you can surely benefit from shoppers looking for a good deal at a garage sale.

So, should you price everything to sell quickly? Should you price high to force low-ballers to a middle-ground? The answer, says Hammond, is not to list prices at all. Let buyers make the first offer, as you just may get a higher offer than you expect. To illustrate, Hammond says a buyer offered her $20 for a blanket she’d have taken a dollar for.

Of course, you can always counter or reject an offer, so don’t worry about selling your stuff for less than it’s worth.

(Image: Laviddichterman)

Perform a Final Inspection

Check all items you’re selling to make sure you’re not including things that you’d intended to keep. It also helps to open all containers and check inside objects to see that they are empty. According to Hammond, skipping this step is how sellers most commonly sell items by accident; she remembers on seller who miss family photos stashed in a suitcase, or another who forgot to remove four $20 bills from a set of Christmas stockings.

On this note, review your inventory and see that you don’t sell any valuables for next to nothing. To illustrate, according to Business Insider, a man purchased a box of junk at a yard sale in 2008. In it was a stock certificate that could be traced back to Coke. The man has since died, but his family contends they are owed 1.8 million shares of Coke stock and has challenged the matter in court. As of this writing, 1.8 million shares of Coke would be worth $70.2 million which, logic dictates, would be the worst garage sale mistake ever made from a seller’s perspective!

To host a successful yard sale, time it right. Remember that Friday is the best day of the week to do so.

Create attractive, yet simple signs to get word out about your sale and remember to point motorists in the right direction.

Don’t bother pricing items, as you’ll often make more by letting buyers make the first offer.

Finally, inspect items before displaying them in your yard. That piece of scrap paper in grandpa’s old desk may be worth more than you think! Together, these yard sale tips can help your spring cleaning efforts, as you can get rid of clutter in your home and while adding value where it’s needed most — your savings account.

(Article Image: Lynn Friedman)