Spring into action with a profitable yard sale

Community Times

Many of us have closets and drawers that are overflowing with things we haven't used in years.

Some things we bought on sale because they were a great deal. Some things were given to us. And some things were once quite useful but are now collecting dust in our home. Well, guess what? You could be sitting on a potential goldmine! You may have hundreds or even thousands of dollars in goods that can be "re-homed."

So, what do you do? One of the best ways for a family to de-clutter their home is by holding a yard sale. And what better time to do that than in the spring? The warmer weather is an excellent occasion for bringing folks out of their homes looking for bargains.

If you have never held a yard sale, they can be a fantastic way to earn money to put toward family purchases such as a summer vacation or a new car. However, a successful yard sale does require some planning. Follow the five simple steps below to clean out and cash in:

Schedule a date: The first task is to schedule a date and time for your yard sale. The date of your sale could mean the difference between big bucks and a big zero, so be sure to choose carefully. Most prefer to schedule their yard sale on the weekend when more people are typically home. Be sure to consider other family obligations and events and try not to schedule your event during a time when you think you will be busy or very tired from other obligations. It is also a good idea to schedule your yard sale around the time of large local events. For example, if you live on or near a major street, schedule your sale for the same weekend as a local festival or fair and take advantage of the additional foot traffic in your neighborhood.

Sort items: Sorting through the items in your home is an activity in which the entire family can participate. Get the kids involved by having them go through their rooms. Have them place any outgrown clothes, toys and shoes in boxes or bags designated for the yard sale. Keeping everything together and organized will save a tremendous amount of time when you need to set up your sale. In addition to children's gear, items like furniture, men's and women's clothing, sports equipment, electronics such as game systems and TVs, and antique items also tend to be in high demand.

Advertise: If you think of your yard sale as a sort of micro-business, then it will be easy to understand that you most likely will not have customers without advertising. The most traditional form of advertising is word of mouth. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, members of your church, everyone you can. You can also create a flier to distribute or hang in your neighborhood (don't forget to remove them when your sale is over). Or take advantage of technology and advertise your sale online. Make use of sites like Craigslist, The Baltimore Sun classifieds, Yard Sale Search and various social media platforms to promote your sale. Whatever you choose, be sure to begin advertising at least one week before your sale so that shoppers can put it on their calendar.

Set up: Setting up your sale can be time consuming but will go smoothly if you take the time to plan ahead. Assemble the supplies that you will need at least one week prior to your sale. Supplies such as tables, chairs, a container for money, pens/markers, bags (recycled grocery bags work well), and whatever else you may need. If for some reason, you did not price your items when you were sorting them, price them as you are gathering your setup supplies. You can use stickers or labels to attach prices to each item or create a list of your items with a suggested price for each. You may even choose not to put prices on your items and let your customers make you an offer. Shoppers love to feel like they are getting a great bargain, and you may end up selling more items this way.

Sell, sell, sell: Be sure to have everything set up and ready before (or at least by) your advertised start time. Remember to have fun and greet your customers. People are typically more inclined to shop if they feel welcome and comfortable.

While I can't promise that your yard sale will make enough money to fund a weeklong vacation to the Bahamas, at the very least you will hopefully have made a few new friends from your neighborhood and spent some quality time with your family. Happy selling!

Danielle Moser is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at threepeasservices@gmail.com.

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