Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What does it take to become the next Yard Sale Star?

What does it take to become the next Yard Sale Star?

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you live, you have the potential to become the next yard sale star. Your family will be proud of you. Your neighbors will put you on a pedestal. It is simple! Just follow the ten steps below, including the “do’s and don’ts,” and you will be able to relax while the money comes in. The greatest yard sale is the one you host yourself. So, why don’t you do it right and try to have a pleasant time?

Be advised to share the following steps and “do’s and don’ts” with your family members, so you won’t have unpleasant surprises. I speak from experience, sort of. Ten years ago, after moving from Brazil to the United States, I had an unexpected experience involving a yard sale. It was spring, and my neighborhood was filled with colorful fliers attached to the telephone poles saying “Yard Sale.” My mother asked me about it, and I briefly explained it to her. The next morning, I woke up to see my own mother selling my shoes in the front yard. She was having her first yard sale and she was glowing. Unfortunately, most of the goods on sale were mine. Only one of us was having fun that day, since I had to offer her money to get my shoes back. I guess I should have gone through the "do's and don’ts" with her. 

So, before starting a yard sale, communicate to everyone in your house that you will be hosting a yard sale on such-and-such a date and time so they won’t be caught off guard. Do ask them if they want to join you and participate. As you must know, a yard sale requires planning, organizing, advertising: it might take three days out of your schedule. So, any help you can get should be more than welcome! Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to rock n’ roll? If you hesitated for a minute, you should hold on to your stuff; perhaps you’re not ready to take the further steps. If your heart beats harder, hands start to sweat and adrenaline runs like crazy into your veins, every moment you hear/read the signs of a yard sale, you have been chosen to be the next Yard Sale Star.

Step 1- Pick a weekend, a day, and a time (start and end). Schedule your yard sale far enough in advance that you can place classified ads in city and community newspapers. Check the long-range forecast for good weather. You should host a yard sale on a Saturday, so you have Sunday to clean up and organize yourself before getting back to work on Monday. Don’t you be late for your own yard sale. Be on time! 

Step 2- Select the items that you will be selling. Most goods come into your life with an emotional and monetary value. You must be ready to get yourself detached from the items beforehand. Meditate about it so you won’t get too frustrated when people offer you too little for that crooked picture frame that got damaged when you broke up with your ex-sweetheart. 

Step 3- Advertise. Do place an ad in your local paper. It is usually advertised on Thursdays. Tap into no-cost resources, such as online listings or community newspapers that publish free classifieds. Make the signs and place them along busy streets in your neighborhood (on telephone poles) the night before. Make the signs large and easy-to-read for the neighborhood. Place them at every busy intersection up to 3 blocks away (but not further because that's a waste of your time). Put firm backing on the signs so the wind doesn't fold them over. Be simple and don’t forget to include the address and time on the signs. To prevent buyers from coming to your house after the yard sale day, don’t forget to remove the street signs. 

Step 4- Cleaning. Do scrub, wash, polish and launder the items you plan to sell. Don’t keep the spiders’ webs with the excuse that you are saving the planet.

Step 5- Organize. Do separate the items into categories (books, clothes, shoes, furniture) and by price. Use masking tape or colored dots and a permanent marker to price everything. Setting up "$1 or less" and "$5 or less" tables or boxes will save you time and attract shoppers. Try to keep the items displayed in a limited area, so you can control the space and make it harder to be robbed.

Step 6- Safety. If you want to be very safe, you can use rope to delineate the area where people can hang out during the yard sale. Don’t make yourself a target for strangers, who are more interested in getting into your house and robbing you while you are distracted with customers. Keep doors locked! 

Step 7- Cash. Do keep the money with you. Have plenty of small bills, change, a cash box, a calculator, pencil and pen, bags, boxes and newspapers to wrap purchases. 

Step 8 – Be nice to customers and don’t get into any fights. They might not be nice to you and hurt your feelings, but the best thing you can do is to keep yourself calm. I recommend the “Warrior 1” yoga pose to reach calmness, along with “Warrior 3” yoga pose, which will change the vibe of your yard. If you’re not familiar with yoga poses, you can check the website: thesecretsofyoga.com


Step 9- Pricing. Do price things with common sense. Be flexible and be ready to bargain down if you have to. 

Step 10- Up sell. Thumbs up for those people who want to sell lemonade and bottled water; thumbs down for those people who want to sell beverage with alcohol content. Why? It is against the law, dear Lindsay Lohan.

One more thing I would like to emphasize: the ten steps, along with the “do’s and don’ts,” are meant to be understood by you before the “big day.” Do your homework ahead of time. Consumers don’t deserve, on a beautiful Saturday morning, to wait for you to undo the boxes in front of them or wait for you to figure out what the price is going to be for your goods. Nor do they deserve to wait for you, while you try to find change. DO enjoy your yard sale, and DON'T give into the temptation (as I almost did) to throw a yard sale and sell Mother's shoes, this time around. Do all the “do’s” and avoid doing all the “don’ts,” and the title is yours “The Yard Sale Star.”

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