Saturday, September 9, 2017

Yard Sale Helpers

Last week our neighborhood put on its yearly yard sale.
I joined in our first summer here because we had quite a bit of furniture from our rental house (which had very little storage) that wasn't needed in the new house.
Our new house also came apparently partially furnished with the previous owners cast offs most of which wasn't worth keeping around.
It was a lot of work.
I had to be up sooooo early, price everything, lug out too many tables, make crazy change transactions (mostly in my head), and deal with all the leftovers afterward.
By the end of it all, it felt like a lot of time and energy with not much return.

I decided to jump in on the action again this year.
To make it all easier and more motivating for me and to hopefully bring in more reward I did a few key things:

1. "Would I rather have a dollar in my hand right now than this item?"
With the mentality that I craved more free space for our family and fewer space-sucking items, I cleared stuff out for weeks with the very motivating promise of eager bargain hunters  just searching for what I didn't want anymore.  
As I combed through closets, bins, drawers, cabinets, and even our attic I asked myself with each item I saw "Would I rather have a dollar than this thing?"

That one little question made it incredibly easy for me to make a quick, no-regret decisions.

2. Set a purpose for the $$$ you make from the sale
If a dollar isn't terribly motivating for you, set a purpose for the money you might make from the sale. If you are able to get rid of 100 items, each marked $1, that's $100!!! A purpose we set for our money was to buy our daughters a bunk bed for the room they share. You wouldn't believe how much that goal encouraged even them to throw out toys, shoes, and clothes for the sake of their own bunk bed.

3. Make space to keep items until the sale
When I decided it would be worth it for us to have a yard sale, I asked Adam if he would help me by parking his car in the driveway for the month so I could use his garage space to keep items together and out of the way until the sale. He had no problem with that. Having a designated space to toss things to while I combed through the house made it simple to get things out of our way and out of the reach of young hands. Also it kept young eyes from seeing and asking for the toys and clothes I was sure we didn't need and wouldn't miss.

4. Mark things the easy way: don't
Don't mark all your stuff! Other than bigger, well working items that really could go for $5, $10, or even $20, my time is too valuable to spend it marking individual items as 50 cents here and $1.50 there. There was no agonizing over what that unwanted item was worth to me. It was much better for me to just make two signs posted at the front of our driveway stating that everything was a dollar unless marked otherwise. So simple! So easy! And shoppers are usually way fine with paying a straight up dollar than negotiating over cents.

I've also heard of people not marking anything at all and just setting out a by donation box with very good results. Generally people are more generous than you would ask of them.

5. For the last hour, make everything 50% off
Would you rather get half of your initial asking price and get rid of everything or have to lug everything back into your house and make nothing for it? If the former, then mark it all down! When I made the price signs for our driveway, I wrote on the back that everything was half off. When I had about an hour left of my sale, it was easier than pie to simply turn the sign around and let the flood of shoppers fill the driveway, people handing me 50 cents over and over again and walking off with my unwanted stuff. It was great!

Bonus: If like me, you really don't want to shuffle around what's left at the end, cart it all out to the curb and put a for free sign on it. Others benefit without having to pay higher prices at Goodwill and I didn't have to run an extra errand. If anything is left, feel free to trash what you couldn't even give away.

Maybe it goes without saying, but our yard sale was incredibly successful.
The best I've ever put on.
We were able to make over $200, get rid of countless unnecessary items that were eating up extra living space, and the new bunk bed is scheduled to arrive in just a couple days.
Woot woot!

Also no yard sale is complete without....

A Terre Haute specialty and the best donuts you'll ever have!
Adam made sure I was well supplied. 

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