In A Cash Crunch? Hold A Yard Sale
Do you have a garage or basement full of clutter? Hold a yard sale - your unused stash can turn into cold, hard cash. We'll show you how.
Invite the Neighbors
To turn your sale into an event, invite your neighbors. Having a multi-family sale creates a bigger attraction for shoppers. Better still, round up support from your entire neighborhood. Having multiple participants provides multiple families to share in the cost of advertising.
Post signs at busy intersections and on your front lawn. Big arrows pointing the way toward the sale make it easy for motorists to navigate their way to your wares. Use heavy, colored poster board for durability and visibility.
Placing an ad in the local newspaper is a good idea too. Be sure to run the ad for several days prior to your event. Websites, such as Craigslist, church bulletin boards, and neighborhood association sites can also be useful. (To learn how companies use advertising as a competitive advantage, read Advertising, Crocodiles And Moats.)
Another Man's Treasure
Put some real effort into cleaning out your closet, empty the basement, take that clutter out of the garage, empty the attic, and round up every item you own and haven't worn or used in the last two years. Just because you can't imagine anyone wanting your old items doesn't mean that somebody else wouldn't love them. So, put out your old junk, stand back, and collect the cash. (To find out what to do with your old stock certificates, see Old Stock Certificates: Lost Treasure Or Wallpaper?)
Prior to your event, you'll want to be prepared. Start by cleaning everything. Set up tables in your front lawn and arrange merchandise in price order, grouping similarly priced items for shoppers' convenience. Either put a price tag on each table or price each item individually. You don't want to be trying to figure out prices with a lawn full of potential buyers. You'll do well to remember that people want a bargain. Items priced at 60% off of retail are likely to sell.
Hang the clothes rather than putting them on a table. It's easier to examine hanging items and it'll keep things looking tidy. Have an extension cord available so that shoppers can test out any electrical items that you are selling. Have a trash can handy so that any trash ends up in the can and not on your lawn.
Hold your sale on a Saturday and, if possible, Sunday too. Because Saturday tends to be a popular day for yard sales, you should generate significant traffic. At the end of the day, you can decide whether to continue your sale into the next day.
Be sure to have plenty of change on hand, including bills and coins. While you may be tempted to stick to your prices, just remember that you don't want this stuff anyway, and whatever doesn't sell will need to be hauled away or stuffed back into the basement.
Time To Sell
Wake up early and be out front and ready to sell at least an hour before your event is scheduled to start. You will be amazed at the number of people ready to shop even before the morning paper arrives. Keep in mind that your advertisement may have said that the sale starts at 9am, but bargain hunters may show up earlier to beat the rush and get a jump on the competition.
Be polite, but don't hover. Nobody wants to feel like they are being watched or pressured while they are shopping. Also, lock your house. You don't want uninvited guests wandering in and out while you are distracted.
When the sale starts to wind down, consider reducing prices. Whatever you can't sell can be donated. Just be sure to ask for a receipt so that you can write off the value of the items when you file your taxes. (For related reading, see Deducting Your Donations.)
A yard/garage sale is a good way to generate quick money, it is also a great way to clean out the clutter in your house. Follow the tips above and you should be well on your way to filling up your wallet with a little extra cash.