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The . . . Yard Sale - Garage Sale - Estate Sale
The "How To" of holding the Sale

The Sale  -  Yard Sale  -  Garage Sale  -  Estate Sale  -  Priorties
Neighbors  -  Pricing  -  Hours  -  Security  -  Signs  -  Parking  -  Strategies


Yard Sale listing Links
 

 
The Sale

 
A Yard Sale, Garage Sale, Estate Sale or other has become a Summer American Tradition, reminescent of the community markets of days gone by. Holding "Yard Sales" or going to "Yard Sales" is a hobby for many. For some customers the sales allow opportunities to purchase items they could not otherwise afford. For the seller it provides the opportunity to sell unwanted items while gaining monetary value for them. Some sellers use the opportunity to sell crafts and other hobby items. The sales provide a recycling of items keeping them out of landfills.

On occassion a real prize is gained at a garage sale.  A Norman Rockwell original painting (That once hung on the wall of Seattle's Smith Tower) was sold at a garage sale by the owner's neice not knowing the value... a great buy for the purchaser. A lady not knowing what she had, sold a first edition of John James Audubon's "Birds of America" for two dollars, only to later view on an antique television show that its value was 6 to 7 hundred dollars.

My wife is constantly getting compliments on her clothing even when they were purchased at yard sales. We have saved a lot of cash! Whether treasure hunting, hobbying, or for neccessities the summer sales prove to be a treasure hunt for both the seller and buyer.
 

The Yard Sale


It is often that people use tables to place items, however some will simply place blankets or tarps on the lawn. Remember to have pathways around grouping of items so a customer can easily view and reach the items. If rain might be a consideration you might consider placing tarp canopes to keep your items dry.

On all your signs call a Yard Sale a 'Yard Sale' and do not use other signs with other wording, such as "Garage Sale" or "Estate Sale". Be consistent... see Sale Signs. Consider safety placing your items so they will not snag or fall causing injury. You also need to keep vigilance that a customer does leave an item in an unsafe manner. You do not want a lawsuit over an upturned rake.
 

The Garage Sale


The garage sale as stated is in a garage. Having a sale in a garage has the advantage of keeping your items dry, when it rains, and you only need to close your garage door for the night, for easy set up the next day. Only use the term "Garage Sale" on your signs as it informs prospective cusotmers they can view your items out of the rain. Be consistant and accurate... see Sale Signs.
 

The Estate Sale


The Estate Sale is when a member of the family dies and you are attempting to liquidate their household items and possessions. Estate sales usually bring out a large variety of items that the average "Yard Sale" may not. One usually expects the Estate Sale to be a large sale with many items. As with the other sales be consistant having all signs saying, "Estate Sale"... see Sale Signs.

When you do not have many items it is best to not use the term "Estate Sale". When a person follows signs to an estate sale that appears small or not to be an "Estate Sale" they often will not stop of if they do will not spend as much time looking over the items. Keeping that in mind if most of the items are in the garage or house, have a large sign, easily read from the street, saying "More Inside Garage" or "More Inside House." A false impression of only a few items may turn some prospective customers away.
 

Set Your Priority

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You must decide whether you want to get rid of the items or gain back the value of the items before you begin pricing. The higher the price the less likely it is to sell. You will get rid of items more quickly when the price is low. The old addage, "One man's garbage is another man's treasure" can also be reversed; Your treasures may not be so to another. If a price is too high I may not even bother to make an offer.
 

Notify Neighbors


Notify your neighbors a week or two before the sale that you will be holding a "yard sale." That will inform them the traffic will be crazier than usual. Perhaps ask them to park in driveways and not on the street on those days. Ask them to join you in your sale, the more people looking over the items the less likely they are to be stolen; safety in numbers.
 

Pricing

Customers are usually annoyed when prices are not marked. The Con-artists love it for they will use asking about a price to distract you while another person walks away with your more valuable items.

Decide before the sale if you will consider offers. Dickering is a past-time for some customers. If you do not consider offers post a sign saying "All Prices Are Firm."  Whether you take offers or not a simple "No" will suffice when the offer is made and/or is too low. You might choose to make a counter offer. You may come to an agreeable price and if not, 'no sale!' Do not be offended at any offer. An item may have value to you but not to the customer.

Price your items before you open.  Pricing is a task that may require some thought especially if you wish to gain value for value. When you are not concerned as to value prepricing alleviates traffic congestion during the sale. When the pricing has been done you can concentrate on the buyers and watching that items do not walk away.

Some will use tags to price each item. Others will tag tables with differing prices, and all items on the table would be the specified price. You will need to keep an eye on the items that they are not unintentianlly or purposely be moved to a lower priced table. When items are from two or more sellers, tags with a code symbol will make easier your tracking of the sales.

It has become popular to have a "FREE" box of items which more recently has become a "FREE" stack or area. You want to keep ALL "Free" items well away from items to be sold. I was at a sale and began to wonder if the camping gear was free as well, when one of the attendants began asking others if they sold some of the gear. I informed them the "Free" stack was awfully close to the camping gear. That mistake was costly. They moved the "FREE" items across the driveway 20 feet from the other items.
 

Sale Hours

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Ideally open your sale at 9:00 am or earlier but it is best not to open after 10:00 am. Be prepared to stay open until 5:00 pm.  Or state boldly and plainly your hours on your signs; 9 to 4:30 (See Sale Signs) Many people will continue looking for yard sales untill 5:00 pm. Feel free to stay open longer but no one expects a sale to stay open beyond 5 pm. If you have advertised or posted a closing on your sign do not close early. When you have not advertised you may close early if you first remove the signs before putting away the remaining items of your sale.
 

Security


Do Not let the money box, bag, or pouch out of your site. It only takes a few seconds for it to disappear while you are distracted by another customer. Ideally have one person handle the money leaving two or more others to answer customer's concerns. It would be good to have one other person who only watches for shoplifting having no other duties than that, to avoid being distracted while items walk away. The more people watching the sale the better.

When you make change do not put the customer's bill with your money until you have given them their change and they are satisfied. When you take a $5 bill and put it away and then give the change you cannot prove otherwise... when the customer says it was a $20 bill!  It is best to leave the bill in the customers hand while you get the change then take it into your hand as you count the change to them. When the customer is satisfied then put the bill away.

Keep the doors of your house that are not in your view locked. Do not allow strangers into your home without being accompanied. You cannot watch them and the sale. Before the sale know of the nearest public restroom. Do not assume a gas station or convenience store has one; go inside and ask if the restroom is open to the public. When the restroom is for customers only or not open for the public, find one that is available for public use. Some public parks have restrooms but you should check to see that is is open and not closed for the season or for maintenance.

Keep safety in mind to avoid injury and possible lawsuits. Have those watching for shoplifting, also watch for safety issues.  Knives in a bin with other utensils is a cut waiting to happen. Knives down low... well... watch out for the children.  Customers may move items to an unsafe position so keep checking: safe now may not be safe in 30 minutes.
 

Sale Signs

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I have seen many Yard Sale signs in which I could barely read the sign. Using a pencil or pen does not make a sign for it is so light one cannot possibly read it from a car.  Use the larger felt-tipped pens. All lettering should be bold and 2" high to be easily read by the driver of a car. Arrows should be bold with the Arrowhead solid and 2 inches high to be easily seen as a person drives past. If you cannot read your sign easily from 40 feet away it will not do its job. A safe driver is paying attention to the traffic around him and is unable to spend much attention on a sign. So, make your signs simple, bold, and easy to read.

Do not bother to list your items on your sign. A driver does not have the time to sit in the street and read a novel. Do not place directions on your signs for the same reason; use signs with arrows to direct to your sale.
If your sale is a long way from the sign location use an arrow on your sign and simply state "Yard Sale; 1 1/2 Miles" Have arrow that match your sign along the route and matching signs at all intercections. Ideally you only need to say "Yard Sale" or such and the days open, such as; Friday Only; Fri, Sat, Sun; Saturday & Sunday; etc. Again the lettering needs to be bold and 2" high. Remember to remove your signs after the sale. Some will state the date 14, 15, 16 to specify the days but I believe Fri, Sat, Sun, works best; I do not have stop and think what the date is. Keep your signs simple and easy to read.

Be consitent with your signs. They should all look the same using the same color background; same color lettering; same style lettering; etcetera. I once followed signs that were Bold and had 3 inch silver stars making them unique standing out among the others. Consistency will keep the customer from jumping onto another set of signs leading them away from your sale.

A sign out in front of your house may grab the attention of others not specifically looking for sales. Place your sign high and/or visable when other cars are parked in front of your home. You might park your car across the street and place your sign on top of it.  It is more important to have a sign on the street in front of your home,when having a garage sale, estate sale or even a yard sale when sale items are not visable from a few houses down the street.

A few times a day you should check on your signs. They may have been taken down by the city or kids or have been blown down by the wind or rain. Placement of signs on telephone, power and light poles are illegal in many states and communities. The use of A-frame signs are often left alone by the cities. The more dependable locations are on private property. Ask permission to place your signs on another person's property. Wire your signs to fences when you have permission to avoid leaving nails and staples.

Remove your signs when the sale is done or if you decide to cancel. I can only guess the miles I've driven to not find the sale. Leaving your signs up is inconsiderate and litters when they become weathered and blown down. When you cancel and have previously advertised, place a sign at your location saying "Sale Canceled". When there is a long drive to your location, at the main streets where you would originate your signs place a sign that says "Sale Canceled; 1245 ABC Street" courteously informing prospective buyers not to bother looking further; then remove after the scheduled days.
 

Parking


Park your cars to allow parking for your customers. You might choose to park your car/s down the street, or down at the intercection with a "Yard Sale" sign on it.  Ask your neighbors to park in their driveways and not on the street during the scheduled days. When you have a large yard, rope off where you do not want vehicles parking on your lawn. Likewise plainly mark where parking is allowed.
 

Strategies

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Holding an item.  - Do not hold an item without a deposit for more than one hour.  Hold an item for a day and when they do not return you may have lost a sale from another buyer. Even with a deposit, they may return and just want their money back. I suggest that you only hold an item for one hour into the sale the next day and then if someone else buys the item be prepared to return the deposit when the first person returns.

Later consideration  - If not willing to lower a price, but you might consider it later, take the person's name and telephone number for later consideration.

Continued use  - When a customer has paid for a large item that is visable from the street to return later to get it, place a small sold sign it. Let the item continue to draw costomers out of their cars until the time it is picked up.

Inticing a customer  - When you are willing to lower a price and a customer has been intently viewing an item wait until they begin to leave then ask them if they are interested in for the lower price.
 

(c) 2010 Roger W Hancock, ImagineAuburn.com

Yard Sale Listings

List Your Yard Sale!

Craig's List - South King County - List Free
Oodle - login or Sign up - List Free
GarageSales.com - List Free
SeattleSuperAds.com - List Free

Yard Sale - Garage Sale - Estate Sale - Listings

Craigs List:

Craig's List Auburn
Craig's List - South King County

Craig's List - Greater Seattle Area
Craig's List - Tacoma
Other Listings
NWSource G-Sales - Greater Seattle Area
Oodle - Yard Sales - So. King Co. / No. Pierce Co.
Auburn Community Yard Sales
Garage Sales.com - listings to your Email
SeattleSuperAds.com
KOMO News - Yard Sales

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Single Items - Classifieds

Oodle Classifieds for Sale

Oodle - Collectables - So. King Co. / No. Pierce Co.
Oodle - Baby-Kid Stuff - So. King Co./No. Pierce Co.
Oodle - Computer Accessories-So.King/No.Pierce
Oodle - ELECTRONICS - So. King  / No. Pierce
Oodle - Furniture - So. King  / No. Pierce
Oodle - Classifieds - So. King Co. / No. Pierce Co.
Oodle - Free Items - So. King  / No. Pierce
Craig's List Classifieds

Craig's List - Collectables - Greater Seattle Area
Craig's List - Baby-Kid Stuff - Greater Seattle Area
Craig's List - Computers - Greater Seattle Area
Craig's List - Electronics - Greater Seattle Area
Craig's List - Furniture - Greater Seattle Area
Craig's List - For Sale - Greater Seattle Area
Craig's List - Free Items - Greater Seattle Area

(c) 2010 Roger W Hancock, ImagineAuburn.com


 




 












 




 












































































































































 

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Exercising your right to vote entitles you your right to gripe.                      - Roger W Hancock  Exercising your right to vote entitles you your right to gripe.                      - Roger W Hancock  Exercising your right to vote entitles you your right to gripe.                      - Roger W Hancock  Exercising your right to vote entitles you your right to gripe.                      - Roger W Hancock  Exercising your right to vote entitles you your right to gripe.                      - Roger W Hancock  Exercising your right to vote entitles you your right to gripe.                      - Roger W Hancock  Exercising your right to vote entitles you your right to gripe.                      - Roger W Hancock  Exercising your right to vote entitles you your right to gripe.                      - Roger W Hancock  Exercising your right to vote entitles you your right to gripe.                      - Roger W Hancock

 


 

All Rights Reserved  (c)  2006,07,08,09,2010 Roger W Hancock, ImagineAuburn.com
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