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Liz Weston: How to make more green at your next yard sale | Home + Life + Health


A profitable yard sale entails hours of preparation and loads of onerous work. So does an unsuccessful sale. I’ve had each sorts and might confidently say the model that makes cash is healthier.

If you’re able to reap the benefits of hotter climate and the chance to declutter, think about the following pointers culled from specialists (and bitter expertise) for having a great sale.

First, think about whether or not a yard sale is the proper methodology in your targets. Yard gross sales and their cousins — storage, property, shifting and tag gross sales — may also help you eliminate stuff and lift some money. But you’ll be able to’t anticipate to get prime greenback.

If earning profits is your precedence and you’ve got time to attend for patrons, think about providing your extra useful gadgets elsewhere. Check out public sale websites corresponding to eBay ; apps together with Letgo and OfferUp; platforms like Craigslist, Nextdoor or Facebook Marketplace; and consignment shops and even pawnshops.

People are additionally studying…

If you simply need to get stuff out of your home, donating your undesirable items is normally the quickest and best choice. (You’ll get a tax break in your donation provided that you’re one of many few who itemize deductions.)

If your targets are comparatively balanced — you need more room and extra money, for a number of hours’ price of labor — a yard sale could also be the best choice.

Consider enlisting not less than one different family that may contribute helpers and stuff in your sale. Shoppers need to see all kinds of products — there’s a purpose many yard sale adverts use the headline “Multifamily sale!” — and the entire expertise is much more enjoyable with buddies.

Tools, kitchen devices, sporting items and tenting gear are sometimes the most effective attracts, says Chris Heiska, who has operated the yardsalequeen.com web site since 1996. What normally doesn’t promote: something damaged or badly stained. Outdated expertise may be hit and miss. Our buddies discovered no takers for his or her VCR tapes or Princess phone . But vinyl data may be scorching sellers.

Expect to spend a number of hours amassing, sorting and pricing your gadgets. Pricing is crucial — many individuals received’t ask what one thing prices, so that you’ll be dropping gross sales if there’s no sticker, Heiska says. You can discover lists of advised yard sale costs on-line or verify different gross sales in your space. When doubtful, Heiska suggests pricing one thing at one-quarter to one-third of what the merchandise prices new. In some areas, 10% to twenty% of the unique value is commonly the norm.

“You have to think of your shoppers,” says skilled organizer Cyndi Seidler of Los Angeles, who manages property and shifting gross sales for shoppers. “They don’t go to these things to pay retail prices.”

Pro tip: Price as you go, so that you’re not making an attempt to do all of it proper earlier than the crowds arrive. You can use masking tape and a Sharpie, however I invested $8 in an enormous package deal of pre-marked pricing stickers ordered on-line. Each of the three sellers used a special shade, which made it straightforward to maintain monitor on the day of the sale. We additionally procured some change: quarters, singles and some bigger payments. How a lot we began with is a matter of dispute; I’ll get to that later.

Craigslist is an efficient place to promote your sale without spending a dime, nevertheless it shouldn’t be the one web site. That’s the error I made with the yard sale that flopped a number of years in the past, with few attendees and even fewer gross sales. One of these attendees defined that veteran consumers verify the websites dedicated to yard and storage gross sales. (Search for “yard sales near me” to see which of them pop up and provide free listings.)

This time, we marketed on a number of of these websites plus Craigslist, Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace. We additionally used a few of our social media accounts to let native buddies learn about our sale. We employed old-school signage as effectively: vibrant yellow yard sale indicators, scored from a greenback retailer and duct-taped at a number of native intersections with the tackle, date and time drawn giant sufficient for passing drivers to simply see.

We additionally made our sale “a shopping experience,” in Seidler’s phrases. That meant borrowing tables and garments racks from buddies to maintain issues off the bottom, grouping like gadgets collectively and, towards the top, creating bundles of things and slashing costs. For instance, we scooped all of the leftover craft gadgets right into a field and offered the lot for $5. (By this level within the day, I not cared whose gadgets have been whose; I simply needed all of it off my driveway.)

Our five-hour sale was a blast and netted round $600. As talked about above, we didn’t hold cautious monitor of how a lot cash we introduced into the sale, so how a lot we cleared is a matter of some debate. We’ll pay extra consideration subsequent time, as a result of there undoubtedly might be a subsequent time.

This column was supplied to The Associated Press by the private finance web site NerdWallet. Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a licensed monetary planner and the writer of “Your Credit Score.” Email: lweston@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lizweston.

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