One of my favorite ways to get rid of extra stuff around the house when I was growing up was yard sales. Something about the simplicity of them just resonated with me. And although I know in retrospect that they’re not all the simple to host since you need some organizing and planning along the way, they can still be an extremely effective way to get rid of excess from your home without having to cart it all away yourself.

Not only can they generate some extra cash, but if you do it right, it can also be pretty fun. For some of you, it may be the first time you are having a garage sale and you might not know just yet what you should do. So here are some tips and tricks to make this your best yard sale ever:

photo credit: paalia via photopin cc

photo credit: paalia via photopin cc

  1. Get some help from your friends/neighbors — If you’re willing to ask, you’re certain to find some friends and neighbors to help. Free beer and food is always a plus. They may even have some of their own stuff to sell as well. A block sale is a real attention grabber for bargain hunters near and far since there’s so much to choose from. The more people you have helping you keep track of pricing, provide change for people or just make sure stuff doesn’t walk away, the better. Plus, I have often found that if you get someone to just stand there and look at your stuff as if it’s interesting, you’re more likely to attract buyers.
  2. Be prepared— Don’t be discouraged by rain. Instead, be prepared for it. If you own a portable gazebo or anything that can protect you, your items and the people from rain, it is best to set it up out front just in case the weather changes. You can even use your garage or a shed for the sale. People prefer shopping when they’re not soaking wet and a cover will also help shade your shoppers so they can browse longer and buy more!
  3. Price Accordingly — Be reasonable with your prices. People come to a garage/yard sale to get great items at cheap prices. Try visiting other yard sales or a thrift store before hosting your own event to get some ideas on how they price their items. If they can get a book at a thrift store for a dollar, then it is unlikely for them to buy one from you for $3.
  4. Groupings — Make it easier for people coming to your sale to shop. You can group your items according to price or you can group them according to use – all kitchen supplies together, all gardening tools together, etc., and then sub-grouping them according to price. Whatever seems practical so that people can buy more of what they need in one place.
  5. Advertise — To make sure that people show up, make the sale known to them. You don’t need to pay for advertisements. There are social networking sites that are at your service free of charge. Advertise by sending out emails, posting a message on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter. You can print some leaflets and hand them out or take advantage of the power of the word of mouth. Ask your friends to pass on the news to others and use public bulletin boards around your community as well.

    photo credit: sushiesque via photopin cc

    photo credit: sushiesque via photopin cc

  6. Make it fun! — Liven up the mood with good music. Not loud, blasting music but some good tunes that are easy on the ears.
  7. Snack bar, drink stand, bake sale — Get a little bit more money by preparing a snack bar with some of your favorite homemade baked goodies and drinks. If you have little helpers around, this is the best way to make them feel part of the sale.
  8. Raffle it up! — Select an item from your stash or a baked good you especially made yourself, sell tickets for a very minimal amount and raffle off the item you have selected. Not only does it generate a wee bit more income, it also adds fun and excitement to your garage/yard sales. When you conduct another one the next time, people are surely going to be back.
  9. Expect early birds — If you plan to have your doors open a bit earlier than your ads says, you are sure to get some people strolling through in search of bargains.
  10. Create grab bags — If you have lots of small stuff (especially small toys for kids), get a few small paper bags and create some grab bags that can be bought for $1, $2 or even 50 cents. These are fun ways to entice buyers to get a surprise for their kids or even for themselves.
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