Sunday, June 1, 2008

Yard Sales: My Turn to Sell

My sister (and roommate of the past 7 years) decided to hold a yard sale yesterday to get rid of some the many things that more than fill our house and make some extra cash. Not only am I new at buying at yard sales, I'm also new at having a yard sale of my own. In fact, while I've helped at other yard sales for friends, family, and charity organizations, I've never done one of my own.

We invited Angie's friend who had a bunch of baby clothes and gear to sell to join us. Michael also looked around his apartment and found some things he no longer wanted. So, we had quite a bit of stuff. Our yard is really small, but luckily our neighbors didn't mind that we spilled over into their lawn.

I don't know how much the friend with the baby stuff made, but we pooled the rest of the stuff and made $116. We were hoping to make more and get rid of more stuff, but I think it was the result of being novices. Since we had so much stuff already pulled out and deemed unwanted, I loaded most of the leftovers in my car to take to Goodwill. A few things I decided to keep just because I'd now like to keep them. A few other things that I figured wouldn't sell at Goodwill I put up on Freecycle. Several of those things are already gone.

I kept two boxes of other things that I'd like to try to sell again when we hold another yard sale in the fall. We already know we want to do another sale because once Michael, Angie, and I are all settled in our respective new places after the wedding, there is sure to be lots of surplus stuff.

Here's what I'm going to do to try to make the next sale better:

1. We only advertised on Craigslist this time because it's free to post an ad. I'd do that again, but I found another free place to post the ad too:

2. Depending on the amount of stuff we have, I may consider paying to place a classified ad online or in the print edition of the Washington Post in order to help increase the traffic. We probably should have done that this time, but I wanted to see how many people we'd get without doing it. It was a fair number, but we could have done better. It probably would have been worth the investment in the ad.

3. I will make and post more signs. I had them at two major intersections and then directing people from the main road to our side street. However, as I was hanging them, I thought of another busy road from which I could easily direct people to our house.

4. I will also try to get the signs up on Friday afternoon or even Thursday night instead of Friday night and Saturday morning. That means I can't wait until the last minute to make the signs again!

5. I may get some balloons from the dollar store on Friday night to attach to the signs on Saturday morning to draw some more attention.

6. We had 3 long folding tables and a card table to help display some of the stuff. However, next time, I think we need to do a better job of getting more things out of boxes and on display so people can see them easier.

So, was all the labor worth the $116? No, not in terms of dollars for the sale itself. However, the money was kind of a bonus that came along with starting to clear out for Angie moving out, Michael moving in, and me trying to thin down and reorganize what I have.

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