Spring cleaning means everyone has something they’re ready to let go of. Yard sales have been a common way of getting a bit of return investment on those forgotten clothes, furniture, trinkets and more. Kimberly Chrislip Payne, a volunteer with Seville Yard Sale, shares tips and tricks on how to get the most bang for your buck, while staying safe and organized during garage sales.
While it’s good to have a firm price on items that have a clear value, Chrislip Payne recommends allowing some room for negotiating, which usually leads to more buyers being interested in purchasing your items. Start by pricing something 5 or 10 cents more and seeing what interested customers are willing to give. “The best sales have signage that encourages conversation like ‘What’s your best offer?,’ ” she says. “If you see something that you like, haggle with us a little bit.”
Weekends are the best for yard sales — especially early mornings for those early birds who like to come out and get items like furniture. In addition, social media has made it easier to spread the word about times, so if mornings don’t work for you, just advertise online as much as possible to get people in the know. “But there’s no doubt that the very best time is Saturday morning,” she says. “And Sunday, it’s kind of a ghost town.”
It is still best to have sellers and buyers wear masks and stay six feet apart, but there are also other things to remember even aside from COVID-19 regulations. Chrislip Payne highly recommends having plenty of sunscreen, bottled water and a first-aid kit available. Also, make sure there are clear pathways in your yard. “I always tell people, to get some wooden stakes or cones around your property [for areas] that you know could be a trip hazard,” she says. “Or maybe the ground goes a little bit low in one area.”
Flip Or Flop
Before setting those price tags, make sure to refine your yard sale inventory, while choosing what needs to be held on to or thrown away.
Keep: Family Heirlooms
Make sure you have a pile for things you might want to save. With the chaos of organizing items for a sale, you don’t want to accidentally throw away a precious heirloom or antique that has been in the family for years. Plus, these sentimental items might be worth more down the line.
That piece of furniture or unused exercise equipment sitting in your basement probably needs a new home. If you’re still on the fence, Chrislip Payne points out that these items usually sell the best when reselling online or in-person. “Anything that you still have the packaging for, is great too.”
Throw Away: Worn-out Clothing
Even if you think that old Rolling Stone’s tee has a couple more wears in it, clothing is a tough sell for yard sales so Chrislip Payne recommends only putting out things in the best condition. Be disciplined and say goodbye to items with irrepairable damage. “If it’s stained or has armpit problems, it’s not going to sell,” she says.
Local photographer Daniel Lozada, who has resold gently used clothes and old camera equipment, shares some pros and cons between platforms.
Best For: Vintage or gently used clothing
Pros: Typically, clothing can be a difficult thing to sell online. But if you’ve got a niche or vintage item, this app has the right demographic of fashion-focused users to get you a sale.
Cons: While buyers on other apps tend to be quicker on the draw, selling items on Depop will take some patience.“You list something thinking it’s good and then three months later, you have to discount it to get some eyes on it,” says Lozada.
Best For: Furniture and electronics
Pros: Since Facebook is already a familiar app for most, posting a listing is simple: just set a price and you’re good to go. Plus, there are no fees or shipping costs because everyone arranges pickups or drop-offs.
Cons: On the flip side, since your selling page is the same as your personal one, you will be exposing your account to everyone you know, or don’t know. This is good for exposure, but may be a privacy concern for some users.
Best For: Sneakers and electronics
Pros: While you might have to pay for shipping, it’s good that this app doesn’t charge listing fees like other platforms tend to.
Cons: As the name implies, OfferUp definitely encourages negotiating prices, similar to bidding wars on eBay. “If it’s 150 bucks for a jacket or shoes, they’ll offer 50 and completely try to lowball you,” Lozada says. “So I just set the pricing a little bit higher usually.”