When it comes to keeping a tidy home, seasons have a purpose: we clean in the spring and sell our stuff in the summer. Tag sales are the perfect opportunity to purge all our unwanted clutter. And if you follow these ten tips, hopefully you'll make some cash while you're at it!
Without further delay, let's skip to the tips:
#1 Get the word out - We used a three-pronged approach to advertising our recent yard sale. First, we posted a Craigslist ad (with pictures) describing our goods in detail. Next, we placed an ad in our local newspaper's tag sale section. Print media may be dying, but many buyers still peruse the classifieds. Finally, we placed bright signs with bold black lettering at a nearby intersection and at the bottom of our driveway.
#2 Buy a permit, if necessary - Many towns require you to purchase a garage sale permit. Check at your town hall or municipal building for your local laws.
#3 Have your money in order - Before you start selling, be sure to have plenty of change for your customers. Stop by the bank for coinage and a wad of ones. During the sale, keep a cash box inside your house, so your earnings are safe and out of sight.
#4 Price to sell - Face it, people don't go to tag sales to pay top dollar. We bought a pack of price stickers and weren't afraid to label things at $1 and under. Records were a buck each. Books and CDs we sold for a quarter. More expensive items like furniture and electronics were typically sold for a third of their original price.
#5 Keep early birds at bay - If you post an ad for an 8am start, expect the die-hard buyers to show up at dawn. To ward off these early birds, I parked my car at the end of our driveway with a sign kindly turning them away. But be prepared for absurd behavior: one buyer arrived an hour early, drove right past my car and over our lawn. Try your best to turn them away — people who show up on time hate to see a sale that's already been picked over by the vultures.
#6 Serve food and refreshments - Don't ask me why, but there's something about free lemonade and cookies that put people in buying mode!
#7 Organize a free pile - If clearing clutter is your main priority, give some stuff away for free. As the hours tick by, place more and more unsold items in the freebie bin. If children show interest in a cheap item, let them have it. Chances are their grateful parents will buy something small in return.
#8 Don't take it personally - Tag sales can bring out the worst in people. Hagglers often offend with their low-ball offers and rude demeanor. But while an item may have sentimental value to you, buyers may simply see it as second-hand junk. If you're unhappy with someone's offer, don't take it personally, just don't sell to them.
#9 Stay open 'til the bitter end - You never know who will show up in the final minutes of a yard sale. We sold a lounge chair, a Playstation 2 and a microwave in the last half hour. That adds up to at least two fancy meals at Applebee's or Olive Garden!
#10 Donate the rest to charity - At the end of the day, hopefully you made a little bit of money. Now it's time to give back. Charities like Salvation Army and Goodwill have convenient drop-off boxes or pickup services in most towns and cities. Now smile! You've cleaned out your house, made a bit of money and helped the needy in the process.
Do you have any tag sale tips to tell us? Please leave comments below!