Q: Help! Toys, knickknacks and other treasures we’ve collected over the years are taking over our house! What’s the best way for us to sell some of them?
A: First, pat yourself on the back. I speak for myself when I say it’s hard letting go of belongings. But if there’s something that I can’t see myself ever using, no matter how much I love it (like my collection of dashboard hula dancers!), I set it aside for a yard sale. Over the years I’ve learned a lot of tricks for convincing other people to buy my cast-offs—and earned some extra cash in the process. I bet that no matter what you’re selling, the tips below will help you plan—and pull off!—your own sale.
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1. Tag-team it
If you don’t think you have enough stuff to draw a large crowd to your yard sale, join forces with a friend or neighbor. You’ll lessen your own prep work and make the event more fun.
2. Sell as if you’re a store
Group things by texture and color to make them look their best. Bunch together some single pieces—like old picture frames or mismatched plates—and sell them as a unit.
3. Bribe friends to help
Promise each one a free item or two from the sale, and you’re sure to get lots of help moving heavy objects, wrapping sold pieces and answering shoppers’ questions throughout the day.
It’s easy to make your own flyers and then hang them in coffee shops and the grocery store. Consider posting a listing in local papers and online classifieds like craigslist.com. And if you’re hanging signs by a road, make sure the print is large enough for drivers to see.
5. Encourage savvy shopping
Everyone likes a deal, so set up a special sale area, such as a three-for-one table. It can also be enticing to offer a box that’s filled with an assortment of items. Set a starting price, let people bid on the box and its contents, and watch the hodgepodge from your attic go home with a new owner.
6. Add nice touches
Clean, simple price tags that are neatly written look good and lessen the pressure of having to answer the “How much will you take for this?” question. And pops of color like a red ribbon tied around a few books can go a long way!
7. Feed your customers
Bite-size nibbles do wonders to build goodwill (save by buying in bulk from your local wholesale club). Free sweets make people happy. And happy people buy more!
8. Donate the leftovers
Arrange for a local charity to pick up whatever doesn’t sell—and be sure to get a tax receipt!