That delightful crispness in the air, warm amber hued leaves and the revival of your winter wardrobe are all signs that the autumn has returned. It’s fall again, and that always seems to alert us to the fact that winter is on its way. If you’ve meant to clean out the garage of clutter, organize your storage space, or free up some space inside your home to make that yoga studio to fend off the ‘winter 15,’ a yard sale is the perfect way to free up space, and put a few dollars in your pocket to help with the heating bill.
In this post, we’ll outline a few friendly tips to hosting a successful yard sale in the fall instead of taking that dreaded trip to the junk yard.
Warm But Effective
Fall inevitably means the mercury will drop, and you’ll need to be outside in your driveway for a lengthy period of time keeping an eye on your things. Beyond wearing a jacket to stay warm, there are a few things you can do to help make your sales prowess a bit easier as well.
Consider wearing finger mitts with sticky finger pads on them to give you some traction when rolling through bills and change. The finger pads will help you to keep your gloves on in some potentially chilly morning weather, and will speed up your change-giving abilities as you won’t have to constantly take off your mitts to help your customers or rearrange your goods.
Further, think in layers. Fall can be deceptive, and you’ll likely find that it warms up considerably as the day progresses. If you’ve slated the start of your yard sale for early morning and the temperature is less than accommodating, wear a fleece under a light jacket to keep your warm, rather than breaking out the parka just yet. This will allow you to shed the jacket as things warm up during the morning. You can acclimatize and remain with your stuff, instead of having to run inside to grab something lighter - you could miss the big washer/dryer sale if you leave for a couple minutes.
Get Others Involved
It is likely some of your neighbours also procrastinated during the warm, sunny summer months. There’s a good chance that they meant to free up some space and eliminate clutter as well, but didn’t get around to it. Ask them if they have anything to add, and if they’d like to consider hosting a street or block sale, rather than going at it solo.
A bigger sale with more options isn’t only advantageous to you and your neighbour, but a bigger sale is a real eye-catching prospect for bargain shoppers enjoying a weekend drive. They’ll also be able to help advertise and spread the word, helping you out. Many hands make light work, as they say - watch the posters go up, and balloons dot the street corners to attract traffic. Plus, block sales usually evolve into block parties - this is an excellent way to get the community outside and together during back-to-school time.
Advertise for Nothing
Any good event needs to be advertised in some way - but key to the yard sale ethos is to keep money in your pocket, not spend it trying to attract thrift buyers. Try free online classified sites like Kijiji, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace - and don’t forget to put up good old fashioned paper signs on telephone poles and mailboxes around the community, at grocery stores, and other shops.
Include a potential rain date for your sale in case of inclement weather, and be sure to include start and stop times so people know when to show up - and when not to show up. There’s nothing worse than over-eager yard-salers knocking on your door at dawn before you’re ready. If there’s rain in the forecast, consider putting up a pop-up gazebo, or camping dining tent to ward off the rain.
Plan for Saturday. Sunday is the time-tested day for yard sales, we realize, but advertising for a Saturday morning sale allows you to extend your sale by another day if you don’t move as much stuff as you anticipated. Sunday can also easily act as your rain check day.
Price Things Ahead of Time
Yard sales are intricate interworking of haggling and negotiating. There’s a delicate balance involved when pricing your items because the idea is to free up space and free up some extra cash as a bonus - not necessarily to get rich. That said, it’s important to not undermine the value of your goods - take the time to price out your items beforehand with stickers and a pen the night prior. Take your time and select a reasonable price that you can expect to get for the object in question. Expect people to try to negotiate you down to a lower object, so be crafty in overinflating your asking price, therefore accepting the price you feel is perfectly acceptable. Want $10 for that old lamp? Ask $15.
Food & Music
Adding a mini bake sale table or a coffee/tea stand is a great way to attract visitors who may otherwise not be interested in picking up a knick-knack. It’s helps you to generate a few more bucks, and if you have kids, it’s a fantastic way to get them involved. The bake sale table becomes their domain - who can resist buying a cookie from a couple of adorable kids helping out their parents?
Next, toss on some tunes. Bring out the Bluetooth speaker or an old boombox to help give some background noise to the usual yard sale chatter. Playing the radio not only helps to help the time go by faster, but creates an upbeat and happy mood for the people who visit the sale.
The concept of the yard sale is a North American institution geared towards turning your clutter into cash. It’s also a perfect way to get your community together for an impromptu morning of haggling over a coffee. Summer and spring may be nice, but fall is the perfect time to clear out some space in your home and free up some capital. Enjoy!