By Rosemary Chieppo
1. Attracting buyers to the sale should be your top priority. But first make a call to town hall; some towns require a permit to hold a tag sale. Once you know the local rules, advertise in your daily newspaper (on Friday for a Saturday sale), as well as in a weekly newspaper in your area. PS: These websites offer free virtual bulletin boards for tag salers nationwide: www.craigslist.org, www.garagesalehunter.com, and www.yardsalesearch.com.
2. Post large cardboard signs around the area and on main streets directing people to your house. Use black marker on a light-colored background, big arrows, and the address so they can find your house easily. Use a single color of paperboard for all your signs so potential shoppers aren't confused by inconsistent signage.
3. A yard sale with friends and neighbors will boost enthusiasm as well as help divide duties so the sale will run more smoothly, but keep in mind that having more sellers also requires more delegating and organizing, such as using different-colored price stickers for each seller. And since nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd, create an inviting party atmosphere by tying up balloons and playing music with mass appeal. Upbeat tunes are an instant people magnet at an outdoor sale. PS: Make sure you have someone on hand who can help move heavy objects or load items in buyers’ cars.
4. Here’s what you’ll need to get rid of what you don’t need: a fanny pack with lots of change; a calculator for tallying sales; measuring tape so shoppers can measure furniture; extension cords to test electrical appliances; a full-length mirror so shoppers can see what clothes look like; bubble wrap, boxes, and old newspapers for packing; and plastic bags to make it easy for shoppers to buy multiple items.
5. The top-selling tag sale items are: sports or soda memorabilia, such as old Coca-Cola or Pepsi bottles; collectibles such as vintage chrome appliances and Elvis mementos; DVDs and CDs; children’s/baby clothes; classic toys; and decorative household items such as candleholders and lamps.
6. Create zones for the different kinds of items you’re selling. Organize things into labeled sections, such as “housewares”, “sports gear”, “tools” and “kids”. PS: Clean everything to make it look as new as possible.
7. Encourage browsing by setting up tables to form aisles so items are accessible from all sides. People backtrack a lot at yard sales, and you want to make it easy for them to return to things for a second look. How you display items can also work to your advantage. Put the most valuable items on tables so they can be more easily seen. Toys should be on the ground where kids can pick them up and get attached to them. Put big ticket items like furniture and electronics where drivers can see them.
8. Price it right. For a list of popular tag-sale items and suggested starting prices, go to www.realsimple.com/tagsale. Most tag-sale items usually end up selling for 10 percent of retail. Use removable stickers to price everything, no matter how small the item. PS: Be creative with pricing, like “buy one get one free”, and don’t be afraid to mark things down as the sale progresses.
9. Let’s talk about men! They are a totally different type of tag sale shopper. Even when just browsing, they shop with a goal in mind, and want to shop quickly. If you’ll be offering tools or building supplies put them up front where they’ll be easily seen, and have an extension cord handy if anything is electric powered. PS: Items must be marked; many guys won’t take the time to ask a price. Sort of how they won’t ask for directions.
10. When the sale is over, don’t take unsold items back to your house. Pack up what’s left and donate to charity for a tax break.
The most popular period for tag sales nationwide is between June and October. In college towns, the moving months of August and September can be particularly profitable. Dedicated shoppers get up early, so expect the biggest crowds at 8AM. Sundays are generally poor days for sales. Good luck!
Rosemary Chieppo has been a professional organizer, writer and public speaker since 1999. The costs of not being organized are enormous: time, money and stress. Organizing is the greatest gift people can give themselves; it clears the path to life’s more important destinations! Visit Rosemary's website at http://www.borntoorganize.com