Having a yard sale? Use this checklist

Have a plan to stage your yard sale. Big, highly visible items go up front. Smaller items should be relegated to tables in the back.

Have a plan to stage your yard sale. Big, highly visible items go up front. Smaller items should be relegated to tables in the back.

If you’re planning a yard sale, then Yard Sale Secrets is your place to be. Here you’ll find a ton of great tips on how to sell for the most and buy for the least.

But on the day before the sale, sometimes you get too busy. Things are just too hectic for you’re own good.

With that in mind, here’s a checklist of things you need to do in those final hours.

MONEY

__ Get change. $25 in ones, $30 in fives and $40 in tens should be enough. Coins as well if you price things below a dollar.
__ Cash drop. Something to store your cash in that’s away from where your customers will wander (like inside your house). Put the $20s you get here. Periodically add more cash.
___ Change box or fanny pack. Use this to make change for your customers. Keep only about $100 here. The rest goes in your security case.
___ Calculator. To add up multi-item purchases.
___ Notebook and pen. To keep track of what’s sold and who the money goes to.

SETUP

___ Tables in place. Do this the night before. You can load them in the morning.
___ ‘WOW’ Items. Know what big items you have and plan to put them at the front of your sale to attract passersby.
___ Titles out. If you’re keeping items in box — such as a bunch of books or DVDs — are they displayed so their titles can be seen?
___ Clothes rack. Clothes will sell better if they have a department-store display. How can you hang up your clothes?
___ Table cloths. If you have something to cover up your ratty card tables, your sale will look much more appealing.
___ Like items. Sort through your sale items. Put like items together. When you put them on display, they’re presorted.

SALE ITEMS

___ Clean up supplies. Get a bucket and fill it with cleaning supplies. While you wait for customers, work on cleaning the items for sale.
___ Extra price stickers. Have some available in case some fall off.
___ Bags and packing supplies. Get plastic bags, newspapers and other supplies to help wrap up purchases.
___ Electricity. Have a plugged in power cord available for people to try electrical devices.
___ Batteries. Go to your local dollar store and buy a few packages of batteries. Take out your good ones and put these in so people can try out battery powered devices.
___ Food and Drink. You can turn a huge profit by buying some sodas and bottled waters and doubling their price at your yard sale. Just put up a sign and throw them in an ice-filled cooler.

ATMOSPHERE

___ Music. Set up a stereo somewhere near the sale. It helps people relax.
___ Sign-making material. You might want to create a half-off sign or other such notices during your sale.
___ Friends. Have some friends or family stop by so you can have a moment or two to use the bathroom and get something to eat.
___ Seating. Not for your customers, for you!
___ Phone. But don’t spend your day on it. Your job is to sell. This is just for an emergency!

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Three helpful (and fun) yard sale articles

Some yard sales stick around for so long that the weeds have time to grow around the tables.

Some yard sales stick around for so long that the weeds have time to grow around the tables. That’s one of the “Worst Yard Sales” that Wanting What You Have complains about in their article.

It’s still a quiet time for people in regard to yard sales, but that doesn’t keep the Yard Sale Secrets team from thinking about yard sales.

Case in point, we were doing some web searches on our favorite topic and wanted to point you to a few excellent articles:

From THE SURVIVAL MOM: This blog post talks about great items to grab at yard sales from a survivalist perspective. But don’t think its some sort of nutty rant about a zombie apocalypse, this is some good advice in general. Find it at “21 Things to Look for Every Time You Go to a Yard Sale”

From WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE: This article delves into some of the most dismal yard sale experiences one skilled shopper has experienced. From creepy people to washed-up Avon reps, we’ve seen a lot of the same. Find it at “The Worst Yard Sales We’ve Ever Been To.”

From THIS OLD HOUSE: Although it’s presented in an annoying slideshow fashion, we like some of the tips offered here, including labeling your sale an “Estate Sale” when it really isn’t and reminding people to try to include building materials in a sale. Plus they hit on some old standbys that we totally agree with: “Price everything” and “Don’t put your stuff on the ground.” Find it at “How to Have a Money-Making Yard Sale.”

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Get a spark from products with lifetime warranties

Zippo lighters and many other products have a lifetime warranty, making them great yard sale purchases. (Photo by liber via flickr.com -- http://www.flickr.com/photos/liberato/)

Zippo lighters and many other products have a lifetime warranty, making them great yard sale purchases. (Photo by liber via flickr.com — http://www.flickr.com/photos/liberato/)

We like the advice offered in this video about shopping at thrift stores. We totally agree with ThriftyTiff’s advice about stuffed animals and over-priced clothes.

http://youtu.be/_Ft6fJU1XVk

But then she surprised us with another idea  — one we had never heard of before: Her tip on hunting down products with a lifetime guarantee. What a great money-saving idea.

She lists a few items that have lifetime warranties, but here are some others:

  • Tupperware
  • Craftsman
  • Pampered Chef cookware
  • Cutco cutlery
  • Ross Reels fishing reels
  • Pelican transport cases
  • Briggs & Riley luggage
  • Camelbak
  • JanSport backpacks
  • Zippo lighters

That’s just a few of the companies that offer some sort of lifetime guarantee (check with the individual companies for more details) on their products. It might be hard to find such items at a yard sale or thrift store, but it wouldn’t be unheard of either.

Anyway, the ultimate idea here is that you find some of these items at a yard sale, haggle the seller down on the price, take it home, contact the company for a replacement and end up with a totally new item that you can keep or resell at a big profit.

(Know of any lifetime guarantees? List them in the comments below!)

 

 

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Make extreme couponing pay off at your yard sale

Yard sale shoppers often get a chance to buy up items from extreme couponers. Many of the items they have available were purchased at a low  (or  no) cost, meaning the're great profit-makers. (GuideToCouponing.com)

Yard sale shoppers often get a chance to buy up items from the “extreme coupon” crowd. Many of the items they have available were purchased at a low (or no) cost, meaning they’re great profit-generators. (GuideToCouponing.com)

This video offers a great guide on how to use your “extreme couponing” stockpiles to make big bucks at a yard sale.

http://youtu.be/YbLxARRrz5A

Even beyond those great tips for making the most of your super-discount buys, the video offers a lot of other great tips as well. Some key points:

  • Fruit crates can help you organize in advance.
  • List your yard sale in as many places as you can.
  • Notify your friends, customers and co-workers about your sale.
  • Use your sale as a springboard for your other interests and careers. (Posting a sign that you’re some sort of collector, for example)
  • Easy-to-read road signs are absolutely vital.
  • Know your municipality’s rules for yard sales
  • Avoid spending money to hold your sale. Use all the resources you can to avoid that!
  • Organize your sale by keeping light things together.
  • Save bags in advance and have them available for your shoppers.
  • Keep your neighbors informed and do your best to protect their property from your shoppers.
  • Donate your unwanted items after you’re done.
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The monsters inside of every painting

It should go without saying that the yard sale season is over here in central Pennsylvania. It’s early December, after all.

But we’re not discouraged. We can find deals anywhere — and brush up on our artists chops at the same time.

How, you ask? We mix our love of bargain-hunting with some creativity.

While browsing Facebook one day, we saw an interesting link to a site where Chris McMahon, an artist, introduced us to a fun new pastime.

To start off, he visited his local Salvation Army and Goodwill stores and bought up a variety of old paintings. But he wasn’t just going to hang them up on his wall as a kitschy testament to people’s awful taste and failed aspirations. Instead, he added something to each painting.

He added monsters!

 

"Throat Shark is Just Looking for a Good Time" is an involuntary collaboration completed by Chris McMahon

“Throat Shark is Just Looking for a Good Time” is an involuntary collaboration completed by Chris McMahon

"Untitled" is an involuntary collaboration completed by Christopher McMahon.

“Untitled” is an involuntary collaboration completed by Christopher McMahon.

"The Thing by the Boats" an involuntary collaboration completed by Chris McMahon.

“The Thing by the Boats” an involuntary collaboration completed by Chris McMahon.

You can do the same with illustrations you find at thrift stores. It appears McMahon uses only actual paintings, but it’s easier to find old prints at thrift stores. Either works.

Once you’ve made your purchase, you’ll need to:

  • Buy a selection of opaque acrylic craft paints. You’ll want to buy colors with a tint that matches you painting.
  • Buy a variety of paint brushes.
  • Wipe dust off the painting with a damp cloth.
  • Paint the main color of your add-in first.
  • Add highlights for depth.
  • Paint in some simple details.
  • Let it dry.
  • Add a sealant like Mod Podge.

A few additional points worth noting:

  • Assuming you’re willing to sacrifice a Salvo purchase, this project will be fun for kids.
  • You don’t have to get stuck on monsters — you can add flowers, clowns, Mickey Mouse, kitty cats or whatever you choose.
  • If you don’t think you’ve got the art skills to pull it off, don’t worry. Half the fun is making your art and the other art not match.
  • If you’re still worried about not being able to paint things well, then just have fun making the painting look different. Add mustaches to people. Stick some graffiti on a building. Paint a tree an entirely different color.

Visit Christopher McMahon’s Deviant Art page! Buy his prints too, even if you don’t get a discount.

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