Maria Thacker doesn’t consider herself a yard sale pro. Still, she is savvy enough to pull in big bucks when she hosts a sales event from her Atlanta area home. On her first two tries, she raked in about $500 and expected no less the third time around this past weekend.
She grew up going to weekend sales with her mother and as an adult, has shopped her way to some good finds, like a $100 dining room table and chairs set. When her turn came around, she was well prepared. That, said Laura Leist, president of the National Association of Professional Organizers and founder of Eliminate Chaos, is key to any yard sale success.
“If you have a well organized yard sale, you’ll probably have a better chance of selling your stuff,” Leist told Bankrate.com.
Having quality items doesn’t hurt, either. Just a week ago, I bought a name brand sweatsuit for the winter for 50 cents and a fleece sweatshirt for 25 cents. That doesn’t compare to what Deanna Mingo found at a yard sale in Candler Park, her favorite garage and yard sale haunt: A ceramic flat iron, regularly priced at $60, still in the box and selling for $3.
“It still had that brand new smell,” she said.
So, what else makes a good yard sale? I asked Mingo, a regular shopper, and Thacker, a successful host, for their tips.
Thacker: Price things reasonably and use price tags. “Otherwise, it can become crazy,” she said. In advertising your sale, it also helps to describe the items you have.
Mingo: Have nice signage. “A good sign catches my eye.” Signs should be bright and colorful and indicate the days and times of the sale. One helpful place to locate sales is GarageSalesTracker.com, which uses a map to pinpoint the locations.
Mingo: Quality matters. “I look for things that are in good shape; not something beat up that you’re trying to get rid of.”
Thacker: Keep it clean. “Dust and clean things off. Use a little Windex on a mirror and you can get $1 or $10 more for it.”
Mingo: Customer service goes a long way. “If you have kids selling water or juice, that’s great. It’s helpful; it’s been terribly hot lately.”
Thacker: Make it enjoyable. “I usually have a little music in the background; nothing inappropriate.”
Thacker: Be Neat. “Nobody likes messy sales. You don’t want to dig through a pile of things at the mall, so why would you want to do that at a yard sale.”
Thacker: Change, please. “Make sure you have enough change on hand.”
Best advice from both ladies: Be polite.