(Originally posted on my old blog "Work Around Your Wallet")
Ok...I'm finally starting the yard sale series! It took long enough eh? In this part of the series, I'm going to talk about what I've found and give some tips for yard sale-ing.
I really think alot of people have the wrong conception of yard sales. They think yard sale equals junk and that's just not the case. Yes, sometimes there is junk but I believe most would be pleasantly surprised at what they could find. And not only what items you may find, but how little they cost. With that said, click on the slideshow below to see some my recent good buys:
I'm doing a palm tree theme in our bedroom and bathroom hence all the palm tree items! The items pictured in the slide show are just a handful of bangin' deals I've found at yard sales. I don't want to keep you here all night though. :oP
I've seen just about everything for sale: toys, furniture, books, cds, movies, kitchenware, picture frames, decor, collectibles, and even some unusual items. The list and possibilities of what you can find is endless.
Now for some tips. These are just things I do and guidelines I follow for myself:
1. If there are alot of sales it's best to organize them. Get a sheet of paper and create sections by the time the sale starts. A majority will start at either 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. However, you do have a few every now and again that will start at 7:30 or 9:00, etc. Write down each adress under the corresponding time that it starts. This may sound crazy but trust me, it's alot easier than trying to read small newspaper print. When you have them all in front of you in this manner, you can better organize your route. This way, I can go to the ones that are in the same area of town and then move on to another area when I'm finished. It saves time and gas as well. After I check out a sale, I cross it off my list.
2. Have somewhat of an idea of what you're looking for. Since I'm doing our bathroom and bedroom in palm tree decor, I'm always on the lookout for those things at any sale I go to. Another thing I keep an eye out for are Dr. Seuss books because they do well on ebay which I'll get to in the last part of the series. Those are just a couple of examples but you get my drift.
3. If you don't have a place or use for it, don't buy it. I know it's hard when you see something cool that's cheaply priced. But if you don't have a place for it, it will just create clutter and probably end up in your yard sale.
4. If you see something you really want and the price isn't what you would like, don't be afraid to ask the owner if they'll come down on it. You can either suggest a price you think is fair or let them suggest one if they are willing to budge. The worst they could say is no and a majority of the time they don't because they are ready to get rid of the stuff.
5. Don't show up any earlier than 10-15 minutes before the actual start time. Early birds can be a nuisance. I speak from experience. Usually, most owners are set up by that time and have probably already been raided unfortunately (for you anyway lol). It's a personal rule for me. I just think it's courteous and respectful not to show up mega early. It's easier to set up when you don't have someone looking over your shoulder trying to see everything you're sitting out to sell and asking you questions.
6. Don't judge a book by it's cover. Yard sales in nice neighborhoods may yield the nicest items, but don't pass up a sale because the place doesn't look good. I'll share my story. A friend and I were on our way home from yard sale-ing when we passed an old house that had stuff set out. It was an unadvertised sale and mind you, I didn't see anything from the road that looked useful, but I decided to stop anyway. As I'm looking through the items, I come across a Mary Engelbreit napkin holder (pictured in the slideshow). I couldn't believe it. My kitchen decor theme is Mary Engelbreit so I snatched it up. The sticker said $.50 but when I went to pay the guy, he gave me one of my quarters back. So it only cost me $.25! That was the last place I would have expected to find anything Mary Engelbreit. So check out every sale whether it's in a ritzy neighborhood or the ghetto.
7. To save time, make sure your car is gassed up and make sure you have plenty of cash so you don't have to make unecessary trips to the ATM.
8. Have fun! Make friends! I see alot of the same people every Saturday. I guess you could call us regulars. It's nice to chat with them and I find they are a hoot. I really enjoy my Saturday mornings out. It's nice to get out of the house and there is a little excitement in me as I drive to each sale. I get such a high on finding a good deal. I like nice things and finding them at rock bottom prices is the bomb diggity.
I'm now going to discuss having a yard sale of your own. Not much to it really other than I think lots of people have an unecessary fear of having one themselves. It's veiwed as a whole Saturday gone and forget the weeks before just trying to get everything ready. Granted, it is a little work, but you can have fun with it. There are two positive aspects to consider when throwing your very own yard sale: 1.) You are decluttering and opening up spaces you never knew existed in your home, garage or attic and 2.) People are paying for it.
Nobody ever said you couldn't have more than one every few years. We've had 4 since September. Granted, the most recent was our last one for a while. We were getting ready to move along with trying to clean out our storage unit but with me having two little ones at home and my husband being so busy, we had to do a little at a time. Hence, 4 yard sales in 6 months. LOL
It doesn't have to be all fancy shmancy either. I did the most work the night before and the morning of. I threw prices on stuff using those little price stickers you can get at Wally World with the amounts already on them. We tried to put all the toys, clothes, household items, etc. together. That was about as organized as it got. It doesn't have to be perfect! It's a yard sale for cripes sakes not the grand opening to Bloomingdale's.
Just remember too that since it's yard sale, people expect to pay yard sale prices which is cheaper than Goodwill but a little more than free if you catch my drift. You can't always expect to get half of what you paid for something...at a yard sale anyway. If want to get more money for an item, it's best to try craigslist.org or ebay. If you're ready to get rid of the stuff, work with people. A little generosity goes a long way.
As far as setting a time to start. Whatever time you choose, plan to start an hour early because you will have early birds whether you said "No early birds please" or not. They'll come anyway so just be prepared. It's ok if you're not finished setting everything out. Just keep going and let them peruse. Most are very nice.
We did good at all our sales. We made at least $200 at each one with the first one making around $350. Not too shabby! That's almost an extra $1000 in 6 months. You can view it as getting paid to declutter. LOL
A good reference and resource website to check out is http://www.yardsalequeen.com/. There are all kinds of tips and even a message board if you have questions. She's more hardcore than I am but use the tips you want and then make your own rules. It's your sale!
If you want to make some extra money, you can scope out yard sales for items to resell. It's a way to acquire cheap inventory. Go with products you know about. For example, if you're a parent, then you're quite up-to-date on the hottest toys and their price range so keep an eye out at each sale you go to.
Do a little research first by checking out completed ebay auctions for items that you're "in the know" about. If you come across something at a yard sale and you aren't 100% sure about the profit potential, don't buy it. Instead, make a mental note to go home and research it. You have to make sure there is enough profit to make it worth your while. If you plan on putting the item on ebay, remember to consider the auction and paypal fees. Personally, I don't feel like it's worth my while to go through all the time consuming activities of ebaying (taking pictures, uploading them, making sure you have accurate description) for just a buck or two profit.
A great site to check out is http://www.resalequeen.com/. She has great tips mostly on children's items to resell. She hasn't been posting much lately but check out her archives. She'll crack you up too.
And lastly, a warning. If you want to maybe try reselling hangbags, MAKE SURE THEY ARE AUTHENTIC. If you don't know how to check for the authenticity of a certain "brand", google for direction. I got a Kate Spade hangbag at a yard sale for $1...or so I thought. The bag was in like new condition and I had every intention of putting it on ebay. It occured to me a couple of days later that I might better check and make sure it was a really a Kate Spade and not some knock-off. I googled "authentic kate spade" and it led me to a site that instructed how to check my purse out. As I was checking out the little tag that seemed to be sewn on, I noticed a little bit of the thread was unraveling. From the advice of the site, I decided to make sure the tag wasn't glued on and sure dang enough, that sucker peeled off. I was so disappointed. LOL The dollar signs diminished but my little girl did inherit a cute play purse in the process. Can you imagine if I'd put it up on ebay and this happened to the person who purchased it? And they would probably not believe it was just my sheer ignorance! So heed warning and be careful.