Open Season: A Few Tips for Yard Sale Season

in category of Opinions, Abby Lee Hood


If there's one thing I love about summer, it's that it's yard sale season! It seems that everywhere you go, somebody is selling something. You just never know what you're going to find. It's like a treasure hunt in a complete stranger's yard. Sounds fun, right? But it can get even better, I promise. Whether you're selling or buying, you need to know a few things to keep you in line and to make the experience the best you possibly can.

If you're having a yard sale, there are a few things that are really important to make it a success. The first is cleanliness and orderliness. One of the best examples of cleanliness comes with fake plants. People just love to sell fake plants at yard sales, but forget to wash all the dust off them. It's not necessarily the most disgusting thing in the world, but it may change a buyer's mind. "Ten dollars for this dusty old thing? No way!" It's a sentiment that of course is echoed with many other items.

You don't really have to wash any clothing you're selling, but make sure they don't smell funky. And make sure to dust items that you're putting out, as well as clean off any spots or specks. If you're selling mirrors or glassware, go ahead and polish them. "Orderliness" is also very important. I hate it when people put valuables on a blanket on the ground! You have to crouch down, get grass stains, and generally go through a lot of trouble to look through the items. So invest in a cheap table, or bring one out from the house. Cover it with a tablecloth, and keep your items off the ground, please, unless you can't help it, as with couches and floor lamps. Keep items in baskets, boxes, and keep them organized and generally “looking pretty.”

It's a great idea to offer things other than what you're strictly selling, like clothes and toys. I guess what I'm saying here is that you want to take on the appearance of an actual store. My family recently had a yard sale, and because it began early in the morning, we sold sausage biscuits. They were a complete hit! Many yard sale shoppers get up too early to eat breakfast, so we fed them ourselves (for a price, of course). You can offer things like drinks, small foods like hot dogs, or just an area with lots of toys that aren't necessarily for sale to keep kids occupied. It keeps buyers happy and more likely to purchase other things. Customer service can do loads of good!

If you're a buyer, I really suggest getting to the yard sale as early as possible. I try to arrive five minutes early. You shouldn't show up at dawn o'clock, because that's really irritating. I've even known people to stop by the day before and ask to look at the yard sale stuff! It really bothers the person who's having the yard sale if you show up too early, so plan on being just five minutes ahead of schedule. This way, everything isn't picked over when you get there. First choice, hurray! And if you see something a bit overpriced but you really want it, try to negotiate. If that doesn't work, you can always get the seller's number and call back at the end of the day. If they haven't sold it yet, you can bet on it that they'll be willing to lower the price.

A few parting remarks: For both parties, lock your doors! You never know what you're getting into, so if you're buying lock your car doors while you're shopping, and park where you can easily reach and see your car. If you're selling, stay outside at all times and lock your doors while you're out there. Don't let anyone go in your house unaccompanied, even if they're using the restroom or trying something on (though of course it's your choice whether or not people can even do those things).

Most of all, enjoy yard saling for what it is: buying and selling cheap stuff! You know, the old saying is true: one man's trash is another man's treasure. 


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