Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Yard Sale Rules & Observations

Finally, a day to sit down and actually write my blog.  I hope I come up with something profound to say.  If not profound, at least something funny or useful.

This weekend was productive, yet relaxing.  Saturday, my friend and I braved the chilliness of the season, and went yard sale-ing.  We managed to hit quite a few between getting coffee and delicious pastries!  I love going to yard sales.  I do not love having them, except for the money part.  Sometimes, I feel like I should do a class on effective yard sales.  Some people just don't get it.  Ah, I feel a profound "How to Have an Effective Yard Sale" post brewing...

Rules according to me, followed my observations that only cement the "rules".

How to Have an Effective Yard Sale

1.  Advertise:  There are many ways to advertise for a yard sale.  The old school way was to place an ad in the local newspaper.  This method has pretty much gone the way of the dinosaurs.  Our local newspaper charges a ridiculous amount to have a small ad in the paper, so most people don't do that anymore.  There are other good places to advertise.  Craigslist has been my advertising venue of choice.  I look every Friday night to see where and when the best yard sales for the stuff I'm looking for are.  Here are a few tips on placing a craigslist ad.  Most of these seem so obvious, but as you can see, people tend to leave things out, making their yard sale less effective.  Which, sucks for them.
*  Give the actual date of the yard sale.  Some folks just say "this weekend", but post 2 weeks early. Then your sale ad gets lost in the shuffle.
*  The TIME for Pete's sake!  I like to plan my venture according to location and time.  If you don't tell me what time your sale starts, I might drive by your house while you are still sleeping.  Or, you might have the best stuff ever, and I might have bought it all for a premium price, but I got there 3 hours after you started and am now disappointed.
*Address...do I need to continue?  I'm floored how many people advertise, give the time, post lovely pictures of stuff, yet never give an address or even a set of cross streets.  How, pray tell, am I to find your "Huge Yard Sale!"??  A few people post, "please text, call, or email for the address".  Seriously?  Too much work. And frankly, I really don't want you, perfect stranger, to have my phone number or email address.  Below is an ad that has none of the above.  Huh, I know it is in Clovis, but WHERE???!!!

yard sale items must go (clovis ca)

Date: 2012-11-11, 4:50PM PST
 dr5hw-3403126185@sale.craigslist.org[Errors when replying to ads?]

we are having a yard sale 2 families downsizing. great stuff
  • Location: clovis ca
  • it's ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

*  Signs.  This could be one of the most crucial things about advertising your sale.  Yes, I check craigslist, but sometimes the only address given are cross streets, which without signs, can be super vague.  Bottom line is, if you have good signs, I'll find your sale and if they are awesome signs, I'm more inclined to spend my money.  This sign does not interest me, but at least it was specific.  Ha ha!!

Do you get to choose sex and color? 

2.  Okay, so I'm at your sale...
*  Display.  The way you display your stuff is kind of important.  If everything is strewn about your grass (which is wet), still in large moving boxes (God only knows what I might touch reaching in there), or you have everything piled in a giant heap on the ground, there's a good chance, I won't even stop.  I HATE looking in boxes.  That might be the biggest pet peeve of all.  I'm not saying you have to have displays worthy of Bloomingdale's at Christmas, but some order is nice.  If you don't have time to hang your clothes, at least lay them out on a tarp or a table.  That shows you actually care about your stuff and I will look at it.  

*Condition.  If your stuff is broken, it should be labeled or put in the trash.  If it is damaged, know what the damage is and be honest.  I can fix some stuff, don't care about other stuff if it is damaged, but dislike when people lie.  Don't put out dirty, moldy clothes, one shoe (doubt that one legged person is coming by), or things that look like they were taken from an episode of Hoarders.   It's a yard sale and you are trying to get rid of stuff.  I get it.  And I want some of it.  If I ask if it works, don't tell me, "Of course."  Ask me if you can plug it in for me.  I have passed up many an electrical item because I was told it worked, but no effort was made to prove it.  I bought this item at a sale a couple of months ago for $17.  This is a $200 appliance and when I asked if it worked, the lady immediately got an extension cord and turned it on.  SOLD!!  

Best invention...EVER!!
*  Original Cost.  No one cares how much you paid for it when you bought it new.  Great information, but I know how much a Coach purse costs new.  If you are selling it at a yard sale for $20, I don't need to know that you paid $380 at Macy*s.  It doesn't change what I am willing to pay for it.  I might not want to pay $20 for it, even though I know it is well worth it, because I don't have $20 left in my wallet!  I love the people that got something as a gift, try to sell it at a yard sale and say, "But this costs $200 new at Lowe's."  Right, and you paid nothing.  Anything I give you is more than you paid for it.  Don't get me wrong, I will pay "top dollar" for something that I think is worth it, however, it's a yard sale.  

*  Brand name.  This kind of goes along with the last entry.  I know my brand names.  This weekend, we were at a yard sale in a fairly fancy part of town.  That's why we went there.  The woman had racks of beautiful designer clothes.  All clothing items were $2 and well worth it.  I found a few things and was happy to pay that amount.    Most of the items still had tags attached.  She was one of those, though, that had to constantly remind everyone there that her clothes were designer clothes and were originally quite expensive.  Irrelevant information when you are selling them at a yard sale.  No one cares that you spent $300 on a blouse that you are selling for $2.00.  And you should not be offended when someone offers you less because there is a stain on it.  If you want more money, take it to a consignment shop, sell on eBay, or don't put it in a yard sale.

*  Offers.  If I offer you something below what you want, don't dismiss me as being cheap (okay, I am a little), trashy, or uneducated.  I might only have a certain amount in my wallet and I'm trying hard to stretch those dollars.  Yard sale-ing is fun for me and I like to find lots of bargains.  Sometimes, I think what you're asking is ridiculous.  Sometimes, I know what you have and know you don't want to put it back in your garage.  Sometimes, it's just fun to bargain.  If I don't like your price, I'll either walk away or suck it up and pay it, because I know I'm getting a great deal.  Like the Keurig!  Although she wanted $20 and I offered $15.  I would have paid $50, but it was our first stop of the day.

*  Change.  Have change.  I promise that I, as a seasoned shopper, will not come to your yard sale and present a $20 bill (or larger) for a .25 item.  That is just wrong!  However, if I have a .25 item and I hand you a dollar, you should have change.  Or you could very sweetly try to sell me something else for the dollar price.   I've been known to come home with 4 books instead of just one.  I'm pretty reasonable as far as that  goes. 

Whew, that was a lot!  As far as rules for shoppers at yard sales.  Remember, it is their stuff and they can ask whatever price they want.  You don't have to buy it.  There have been many times that I have walked away a little disappointed that I couldn't get a certain item, because I wasn't willing to pay the price requested, or talk them down.  

Yard sales are a great place to find project pieces and things I've seen to create on a Pinterest board.  I have    a few projects on deck for this upcoming weekend.  I'll post before and after photos when I get them finished.  I'll leave you with a favorite:

$2 table  

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