Have a Yard Sale
One way to earn a bit of extra cash through getting rid of your unwanted stuff is to hold a yard sale or garage sale. Before embarking on this type of project, know what you're getting into and plan accordingly.
A yard sale is an excellent opportunity to sell unwanted furniture, knickknacks, clothing, used sports equipment, jewelry, collectibles, and other personal and/or household items. Keep in mind, however, that at best, you'll probably receive only a fraction of what you originally paid for the items you're selling. People who attend yard sales do so in search of bargains. If they find something they want, they will likely negotiate for the lowest possible price.
After sorting through all of the rooms in your home, determine whether you have enough stuff to sell to make organizing, promoting, and actually holding a yard sale worthwhile. You may want to ask a few of your neighbors and friends to participate and sell some of their unwanted belongings as well.
Yard sales can involve a significant investment of time. If you are in a rush to get your home in order, you may not want to divert your energy in this way, especially because most items can only be sold for a fraction of their original cost.
Take inventory of the items you plan to sell. Make a point to clean up items so that they're in the best possible condition. Then set prices for the items you plan to sell, knowing that the price you set will be a starting point for a negotiation.
If you're selling clothing, give the items fair prices, keeping age and wear in mind as you determine their value. If you're selling collectibles, consider a price that's about half of what the book value is. For other types of items, set prices you think are fair, based on value and condition. You can always lower your prices during the actual sale.
One way to ensure that your prices are market appropriate is to attend several other yard sales in your community and see what prices other people are asking for similar things. Make sure you stick price tags on all of your items. You may also want to post signs stating that you're willing to negotiate. It's also an excellent strategy to offer a “buy two, get one free” offer on items such as books, videos, CDs, video games, and some types of collectibles (e.g., trading cards).
How do I price my items for a yard sale?
People often overvalue their own possessions. A realistic price for a used item that is still in good condition would be between 10 percent and 30 percent of the original cost. If your sale lasts two days, drop prices even further on the second day so that you can move more items.
Promoting Your Event
Advertising is critical for drawing a crowd. Send a notice to local newspapers stating the date, time, location, and types of items to be sold. Most community newspapers have a local calendar or events section in which yard sales are listed, sometimes free of charge. You can also take advantage of paid classified advertising, or in many cities you can advertise for free via Craigslist.
As for other forms of advertising, nothing is more important than plastering your community with signs. Several days before the event, post signs in your community — on lampposts, in store windows (with permission), on community bulletin boards, and in supermarkets. If you'll be selling special items, such as a rare coin collection or children's clothes, highlight this information on your signs. You also want to clearly display the date, time, and location of your event.
If possible, create signs that are waterproof. Most hardware stores sell plastic “Yard Sale” or “Garage Sale” signs; you can use a permanent marker to write in the important details. It's also helpful to announce the reason for the sale. For example, your sign may say “Moving Sale.”
Post your signs in high-traffic areas within a two-mile radius of your home. Your signs should answer these basic questions (but not necessarily in this order): who, what, where, when, and why. Remember to make the largest signs possible and make them easy to read. Make sure someone looking at your signs will learn the important facts quickly.
Also don't overlook the power of the Internet to promote your event. Local chat rooms and message forums are an ideal place to share information about your upcoming yard sale. You can also use the Internet to seek out information about putting together a sale.
On the day of the sale, hang balloons in front of your home and at the end of your street (if possible) to draw the attention of customers. As you begin to display your items, think about setting up a large bin or table and offering a few items for free. Select items that you want to get rid of, but that you don't think people will pay money for. Not only is offering a few items for free a nice gesture, it also helps create a buyer-friendly atmosphere and will help reduce shoplifting.
Whenever possible, display your items on tables, bookshelves, or portable clothing racks. Try to keep the items organized and readily accessible. Don't make people dig through piles of stuff to find what they're looking for. Also, divide up your items into categories. For example, set aside separate areas for used sports equipment, kitchen items, clothing, CDs and videos, furniture, collectibles, and books.