by Christina Heiska
In fall 1997, the Dollar Stretcher featured two of my articles about yard sales: having a successful yard sale and how to be a savvy yard sale shopper.
Since then, I've gotten several new tips to share. For the complete list of tips, visit the Dollar Stretcher site or my webpage (address below).
More Yard Sale Tips:
First and foremost, find out if there are any restrictions your neighborhood or local government may have on yard sales.
If possible, display some of your more interesting items for sale at the end of your driveway to act as magnets, luring people in. Some people just drive by slowly and take a quick look to determine if the sale looks worthwhile.
Generally, if you are looking to buy baby clothes and toys, you probably won't have much luck yardsaling in a retirement community. And if you are looking for antiques, newer communities with swingsets in every backyard probably aren't the best places to start your search. But I am not picky; I try and go to them ALL! That's what makes yardsaling fun; you never know what you will find and where you'll find it.
Clothes are a great deal at yard sales because they are generally inexpensive. When buying used clothing for kids, don't rely only on the size listed on the tag; keep in mind it's been washed many times and may have shrunk. Bring one of your kid's shirts or a pair of pants to use as a guide. (Make sure you wash the "new" clothes before they get worn.)
If you are trying to sell clothes, I recommend taking some of your nicer clothes to consignment stores first, rather than trying to sell them at a yard sale. You will most likely get better prices for them at a consignment store. People are reluctant to pay a lot of money for clothes at yard sales because they can't try them on and see how they look.
When asking the price of an item, it's always better to get the seller to name the price of an item, rather than for you to answer the question "what do you want to pay for it?" When you are selling something' try to get the customer to name his or her price for an item --if it's too low, you can refuse or counteroffer; if they name a high price, you lucked out.
If you see an item you may want, pick it up and carry it around a bit, then decide. If you don't take it with you, someone else may purchase it before you decide you want it and you'll be kicking yourself the rest of the day. When yardsaling with kids, try and hold their purchases too. I've seen situations where a kid will put down a toy for a second and another kid will grab it.
Safety first! If you are trying to sell a bunch of old kitchen utensils, rubberband the knives up so people don't get cut. If you are trying to sell a mirror, watch where the mirror reflects. I once saw a make-up mirror reflection burn a hole in a nearby cardboard box!
A tip about making change: if someone hands you a large bill and you need to give them change, leave the bill out until after you have given them their change. Otherwise, a dishonest person could say afterward, "I gave you a $20, not a $10," and it would be your word against theirs.
During your sale, as things get sold, fill in the empty spots on your tables to keep things looking attractive.
Debt is preventing me from taking a vacation this year or the vacation I'd like to take this year! Tell us: Yes, debt is affecting my vacation plans! or No, we're going exactly where we want to go but we'd love to learn make our trip as inexpensive as possible!
Christina can be found almost every Saturday cruising around Maryland looking for good deals at yardsales. She has given 6 yardsales in the past 7 years and gone to countless others. For more information and details on yardsales, visit her webpage at YardSaleQueen.com or send her an email at YardSaleQueen @Comcast.net.