Opening the Doors to Healthier and Stress-Free Living
A Column by Alice Abbott-Moore,
Content Access/Information Delivery Teams, Ekstrom Library
Do you have items that you haven't used in quite some time? For some reason you don't use them anymore—perhaps they do not fit, do not match, may be broken, may be out of style or may not fit your current lifestyle.
Are you thinking of moving to a bigger space because you seem to be so over crowded at home? Does getting something out of the cupboard seem to be a hassle because you have to take out so many other things to get to the thing you need?
Were you ever given items that you don't want? Are there bad memories associated with certain items?
Finally, could you use some ready cash?
There is a solution. Have a yard sale!
Yard sales can rid your life of unwanted, space-taking, energy-sucking stuff while generating space and money.
Yard sales can be fun and can serve as studies of human nature. These sales tend to bring out the thriftiness in people. Yard sales are very social since there are many different kinds of people who attend looking for bargains.
Here are some yard sale tips:
- Start going through your stuff. Organize it and start labeling. Price things realistically. Remember prospective buyers will try to negotiate the prices down.
- If you find that you do not have enough stuff to have a sale on your own, ask family and friends to join you in the effort. Remember that too little stuff will not draw crowds to your sale. The more stuff—the better! Everyone can label his/her own items with his/her initials and price.
- When you know you have enough stuff, set a date for the sale. Have a back-up date in the event it rains on the day of your sale. Advertise your sale in the newspaper. If you are having your sale on a Saturday, place an ad (call before Wednesday morning of that week) for both the Friday and Saturday classified sections. In The Courier-Journal yard sales are listed as "Special Sales". The following is a sample ad: "Yard Sale / Saturday, Oct. 9 / 8-1 1111 Library Way / furniture, children's toys, household items, etc. "
- A few days before the sale, place posters up on the busiest traffic corner near your house or the site of the yard sale.
- Make sure you have plenty of helpers on the morning of the sale. You'll need help hauling things out of your house or garage. Also, when lots of people come, it is necessary to have a least one person to take money at all times, while another keeps an eye on things. Also, if one person needs to go to the bathroom, eat, or do something else in the house, the other(s) can "hold down the fort."
- On the night before the sale, make your lunch and snacks for the following day. You will not have time to prepare a more difficult meal in the middle of the sale. Prepare simple food and drink so that you can eat during the sale.
- If you have extra grocery bags and would like to get rid of them, use them for folks who need items bagged or padded.
- On the morning of your sale, get up very early. Eat a big breakfast because it may be a while before you eat again! If your ads say the sale starts at 8:00 a.m., get up in plenty of time to get everything out by 7:00 or 7:30 a.m. because customers come early. It is easier to deal with them if you are not in the middle of hauling things out of your house.
- By 7:30 a.m. place signage in your yard by the street.
- Wear a fanny pack or slacks/shorts with lots of pockets to hold coins and bills for change. I suggest starting with at least $10.00 to $20.00 in bills and change.
- Dress in layers. If it is cooler in the morning and will warm up later on, wear clothing that is easy to peel off.
- Have some chairs for you and your helpers. Standing during the whole sale period is difficult. Also, place your chairs in places where you may see everything. Unfortunately, there are a few folks who come to yard sales to pocket items without paying for them.
- Do not leave your house unlocked. If you need to leave a door unlocked, make sure it is a door that can be viewed from the sale at all times. Customers sometimes find their way inside houses rooting for additional bargains.
When the customers start to arrive, be ready for them. They will come in droves. Most likely, transactions will be steady until mid- to late morning.
After the sale, the fun part begins—hauling the stuff away. What you should do with it? You may want to put it in your car and donate it right then to Goodwill or to another charity. If you do that, you can get a receipt for tax purposes. Or you may have some folks in mind who could use the items.
After cleaning up, divvy up the money to see who gets how much. Most likely you will have made a profit after paying for your ad in the newspaper.
Then enjoy your cash and your additional space. Chances are you may not have to move to a bigger space after all!