Shutting down your yard sale

Posted by on July 5, 2011 in For buyers, Tips

We ventured out Friday afternoon in an effort to hit at least one yard sale over the holiday weekend, and guess what? We got there just in time to see them them packing up their last boxes and closing up shop.

BIN THERE: Remember most "donation bins" only take clothes and shoes, not household items, toys or books. Photo by Ambernectar 13 via

With our yard-sale experience denied, we began brainstorming “shutting down” tips for today’s post:

  • STICK TO YOUR HOURS: With the above experience fresh in our minds, that’s our first tip — keep your yard sale open until the posted time. Just like you, your shoppers have a schedule to keep. If you close before your posted hours end, then you aren’t helping yourself get rid of your  stuff or helping your customers take your stuff.
  • CONDENSE: As your items begin to get picked through, condense your tables down.  Fold up and put away your empty tables. Clean out your plastic tubs and stack them in the back of the garage. This helps shoppers breeze through quicker and more importantly, it will help you pick up quicker.
  • SIGNS: Be sure to remove any road signs you have placed within a few hours of closing. Some shoppers will show up at sales solely because a sign pointed them there. It’s frustrating to follow signs for a yard sale that was actually held two weeks ago.
  • GARBAGE: I wouldn’t put your “not really worth anything” items directly on the curb and in trash cans. It (sadly) invites garbage pickers and salvage “crews” to come and browse your newly minted freebies for their own use. We don’t do this, but we’ve seen people do it. Wait until garbage day.
  • DONATIONS (PART ONE): If you are planning to donate your leftovers, remember you can get a charitable donation form if you take it to the Salvation Army or Goodwill store. This can help you on next year’s tax returns.
  • DONATIONS (PART TWO): When you donate your leftovers, remove all the price stickers you put on your items. Both the Salvation Army and Goodwill won’t take them if they have stickers.
  • DONATIONS (PART THREE): As you leave items at the anonymous drop boxes, remember you can only put clothes and shoes there. Anything else is considered littering and you could be fined if you are caught.
  • STORAGE: If you can’t part with your items even after they didn’t sell at your yard sale, store them all in one plastic tub and you have a base for next year’s sale. However, if you haven’t sold them in two years of trying, it’s probably time to pitch or donate those items.
  • THE LAWN: Sometimes yard sales can damage your grass as you have people wearing paths along your displays. It will greatly help its recovery if you quickly take a leaf rake over the area. This will peel the grass blades from being ground into the soil and help them air out and recover from the trampling.
  • HOW DID IT GO? Sorry to be a little self-serving, but leave us a comment on this blog and tell us your experiences. Your knowledge can help future yard-sale hosts!
  • THE MOOLAH: Now that you’re flush with all your yard sale profits, it’s time to consider what to do with all that extra cash. The nest egg for a vacation fund perhaps? Maybe a little extra into the kids’ college funds? Whatever you do, make it count.

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