Hosting A Yard Sale – A How-To Guide

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Last weekend we held our annual family yard sale. If you’ve never experienced the pleasure of dragging your junk out in the front yard, pricing it for practically nothing, and then quarreling with strangers over pennies…boy have you missing out!

We’ve been repeating this springtime ritual for several years in a row now, and people are always asking me: Val, where do you keep getting all this stuff? Well, Random Person, I’ll be honest with you…I have no idea. Each year I get rid of a ton of old tchotchkes, dusty knick-knacks, and other household miscellanea, yet each year I manage to find a whole ‘nother yardful hiding out in my house. I’m telling you, the crap just keeps multiplying like rabbits.

I’m sure there are some of you out there who have never had a yard sale or a garage sale and are wondering just how you go about organizing one of these lovely events. Therefore, today I thought I’d give you a little step-by-step tutorial.

Step One — The Gathering

So the first thing you’ll want to do is take a good look around your house and see if you have any stuff you can sell. Ha! Considering we’re probably the only country where people have so much stuff they actually have to pay someone else to store it off-site in some faraway storage facility, I’m pretty confident you have a few things lying around you can part with. Some things you might want to look for: unopened wedding gifts, George Foreman Grill(s), lightly used exercise equipment (i.e., any exercise equipment), that ratty old Whitesnake concert tee you haven’t been able to fit into since 1987, those old jeans that never really fit you in the first place, old toys, old electronics, old bathroom floor mats (Don’t laugh! I sold one.), etc.

Step Two – The Advertising

Saturdays are the best days for yard sales, since most people don’t have to work and are out looking for foolish ways to spend their hard-earned income. Once you pick a date, share it on all of your social media accounts, post it on Craigslist, and advertise it in the local newspaper. The newspaper, Val? Really? Yes, Dear Reader, the newspaper. Although I don’t know a single soul that still reads the newspaper, apparently they’re still out there. I know this because how else would all those crazy old pickers find out about my yard sale and then show up two hours early to ask me if I have any old guns, toys, wristwatches, Lionel trains, or sports cards. (“Why yes, Scraggly Old Pickerman, I actually do have a shoebox of mint-condition Honus Wagner baseball cards in my basement! I was planning on putting them out right after I sold my Slap Chop and my kids’ old chewed-up sippie cups.”)

Step Three – The Selling

The biggest mistake most people make when having a yard sale is just sitting back and hoping their junk will sell itself. Hate to break it to you, but no one really needs your old Discman. It’s your job to convince them they can’t live without it. So pop in that Spice Girls CD, crank up the volume, and let good ol’ nostalgia help you close the deal! As for pricing your individual items, you have to make a choice: Do I really want to sell this crap, or do I want it to keep gathering dust in my house? Whatever number you have in your mind, take another 50% off, and then just accept that you’re still only going to get maybe a buck at most for your kid’s old bike, which you originally paid $150 for. Welcome to yard sale-ing.

Step Four – The Cleaning Up

A lot of people will tell you to pack up all the leftovers and haul them back into your garage or basement or living room until next year’s sale. Big mistake. How do you think I ended up having so many sales in a row? Others will tell you to haul it to the local Goodwill. Sure, by doing so you can write off your donation, but you know you’ll just end up going inside to buy someone else’s yard sale leftovers. Instead, set it all by the side of the road with a big sign that says “FREE!” The moment you turn your back people will be coming out of the woodwork to dig through your trash and take home that old VCR that just five minutes earlier they refused to pay fifty cents for.

Step Five – The Relaxing

This is my favorite part of the sale—lounging on my front porch with an ice-cold beer and gazing out onto an empty yard that only minutes before looked like a landfill. Now it’s time to just sit back and relax before going off to accumulate a whole new pile of crap that you’ll just end up selling at next year’s sale.

Face it. You know it’s true. ~

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Copyright © 2017 Valentine J. Brkich

2 Responses to "Hosting A Yard Sale – A How-To Guide"
  1. This one really spoke to me, Val! You hit the nail on the head. This IS what garage sales are all about, and guess what? I’m in the process of downsizing. 🙁 We actually do have several Slap Chops, Sham Wows and Obama Chi Pets because we laughed so hard when we saw them advertised that people actually gifted them to us as a joke! Now, we also have a nice Pearl drum set that would take up half of the yard and a carousel horse. Match that with two kids that are now grown; (one thinks the house is a storage shed and the other literally threw away everything he didn’t take with him) so it’s an eclectic mix of 35 years in one house. Thanks for the tips. I look forward to that ice-cold beer!

    • Hey Linda! Yeah, the stuff piles up quick. Sometimes I feel like I’m bailing water out of a sinking ship. ; ) Good luck in your downsizing!

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