Trash or Treasure: Selling to Save

There’s not always a lot of extra time in my schedule as a new, working mom, but one thing that I try to consistently make time for is cleaning and organizing the house. I absolutely hate the feeling of living in clutter! I find myself sorting through items to decide what we really need to keep and what we can do without, and this has resulted in piles of “stuff” in corners of our house. I was so happy to learn that our new neighborhood has a community yard sale event just like our old one did! Yard and garage sales are great opportunities not just to de-clutter your house, but also to make a little extra cash. You can use this to help pay down any outstanding debt faster, or add it to your savings for later. If you’d like to host your own, whether it’s just you or you’d like to get your neighbors involved, as well, keep some of these tips in mind to get the most out of your experience, and hopefully, a nice chunk of change.

1. Advertise. Make sure you post some attention-grabbing signs around your neighborhood during the weeks leading up to your yard sale. Make them big and bold, use bright colors, whatever you can think of! A few of my favorite ones I’ve seen around lately have used humor to rope shoppers in, and it totally works. Want to reach an even wider audience? Consider placing an ad in your local paper or online to get the word out.

2. Time it right. The best shoppers know that the early bird gets the worm, so bargain hunters often head out early for the best finds. Start your yard sale earlier in the morning and finish up in the afternoon when the crowd starts to die down. Hosting the sale over a whole weekend instead of just one day will also increase your profit.

3. Set your items up with care. Set up neat and organized table displays, or if you’re using the ground, lay out sheets and tablecloths to lay your items for sale on. Make sure everything is visible to the customer, especially “big-ticket” items (things like designer accessories/apparel, electronics, etc.). Place these “eye catchers” where they’ll be seen first to draw in passers-by.

4. Expect negotiations when setting your prices. You should price your items based on their condition and what you would consider to be a bargain price. Yard sale browsers are out looking for deals, so expect a bit of haggling when it comes down to an item’s final payment – it’s likely that you won’t get your original asking price, so be flexible. Know your lowest offer limit, and don’t be afraid to stick to it.

5. Consider the unexpected. If you’re willing to part with it, price it! Just because you think something might be junk, doesn’t mean that it is. Someone out there could be looking for something just like it, you never know! I’ve sold things in the past that my mom would have otherwise thrown out – old toys, broken furniture, scrapped building materials, just about anything. If it doesn’t sell and it’s not worth anything to you, consider donating items in decent or repairable condition.