It's getting to be that time of year when the weather finally begins to warm up and our thoughts turn to Spring and all that goes with it. For many that could mean some Spring cleaning. If you are one of those folks or you just have some piles of stuff that you no longer want or need maybe it's time to host a YARD MARKET. I noticed this new term the other day and I think I like it. Classes up the old Yard Sale.
For years I have coordinated my Yard Market with an annual neighborhood street fair. There's more traffic than usual on my street and the party atmosphere is good for sales. It is however in September and I find people can be burned out on Sales by then so this year I am going to do it as soon as the weather allows. We've been cooped up indoors for months and people should be more enthusiastic about the first Yard Market of the season.
Having been in the retail business for years I take my Yard Markets quite seriously and prepare accordingly. Below is a list of suggestions for how to get the most from your Yard Market.
-Set a tentative date when you think the weather will cooperate so you can organize, clean out and ready yourself as much as possible.
-For best results go through every cupboard, closet and drawer in the house. Sift through the contents of the garage, attic and basement. Make piles of Give Away, Yard Market, Trash and one more category Think About. Box up items that you haven't worn or used in over a year and if you can't bear to part with them you can revisit them in another year or so and perhaps you will then be able to let them go. Selling them for a good price may inspire you to at least offer them for a price at the sale and if you don't get that price you can hold onto them for the time being.
At this stage Give Way means items that you would like to gift to friends or family members, not necessarily sell or give away to charity.
-Once you've checked the weather and know the date:
If there are large items call and make an appointment for pick up by a local charity that offers pick up for the items that didn't sell and you want to donate.
Start advertising through your social networks, free local online classified ads and Craig's List. Send emails to your local email contacts. Make the ads snappy, clever and succinct.
Give clear information for time, location and merchandise offered.
-In the time running up to the sale use a central gathering place and price items if you have time.
-Arrange for or obtain these items:
Poster board-bright colors
Tables or blankets to display merchandise
Bags/newspaper/boxes to package sold items
Clothing rack or rope for hanging clothing
Cash box and about $100 in small bills and a roll of quarters
(I do not price anything under 25 cents.)
Stick on brightly colored price tags
Apron with pockets to keep change in, makes transactions easier if you've got some money on you.
-Make brightly colored posters that are easy to read from a distance and post around your neighborhood and close major thoroughfares.
-Have everything ready to go the night before so all you have to do is set things up outside.
-The morning of the Market hang the posters, make the coffee and get ready to roll.
If you have kids this is a good opportunity for them to either sell their own cast offs and pocket the dough or to set up a lemonade or cookie stand. Never to young to learn about money and business.
Your merchandise will sell better if it's clean and displayed well. My girlfriend, who usually joins me in this endeavor is great at displaying items. Making vignettes of like or complementary items will inspire the buyer. You might display merchandise by color or use. For example...all pastels together or all black and white. Or you might set up some dishes as a place setting with napkins etc. Placing like items together and items with the same price is helpful to the buyer.
Clothing is not a huge seller unless it's vintage or up to the minute and in good condition. Gently used kids clothes sell well. Hanging clothing helps it sell better.
I price items over $1.00 with a sticky tag and group the rest by price on a table or blanket with a sign 25 cents...50 cents or $1.00. I find I am less likely to buy something at sales if they are not priced. Often you can't get the attention of the seller and you don't want to continually ask "How much is this?" Not pricing items could discourage your customers. If they don't like the price you may encourage them to make an offer or post a sign OBO (Or Best Offer).
Toward the end of the day when you are weary and never want to see your stuff ever again you may want to make everything half price or offer a set price for everything customers can stuff into a grocery bag. Make sure you remove or exempt merchandise you don't want to lower the price on.
When you've had ENOUGH and you've come to end of the allotted time, start boxing things up. The remaining items either come back into your home and you store it for another Yard Market or give away and the rest gets boxed up to drop off at a local thrift store or for larger items to be picked up. Hopefully you will have sold out of everything and have nothing to clean up save for the tables and blankets. Unfortunately, I have yet to see that happen. There will be some cleaning up.
The best Yard Markets have some forethought and planning involved. Do your best to clean, organize and merchandise and price your items. Join with friends or neighbors, it's easier and more fun when shared. Don't be stingy...you want to get rid of this stuff, be generous with your deals.
And....most of all...Have Fun! Make new friends and a little cash.