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3 Ways to Make the Most of a Yard Sale

With a few easy steps, savvy sellers can rake in as much as $1,000! Here, pros share their secrets on how to make your sale one for the record books.

Set the stage for success.

“Turn your sale into a party and you’ll sell, sell, sell!” says Bruce
Littlefield, author of Garage Sale America. That’s because the more fun people are having, the more they’ll buy. A few ways to let folks know they’re in for a good time: Tie colorful balloons to tables, play music, or have little ones set up a lemonade stand. Ensure your signs capture this sense of fun: “Make ’em big and bold, using vivid words like ‘spectacular,’ ‘smokin deals,’ and ‘dirt cheap,’” urges Littlefield.

Also smart: Consider asking neighbors to hold yard sales on the same day as yours. “Multifamily sales attract more shoppers because they seem like an even bigger party.”

Cash in on your creativity.

If you can make someone laugh, they’ll be more apt to buy, observes Littlefield, who encourages flexing your creativity by hanging humorous signs on your wares. For example, you might label a box of LEGOs Barefoot alert! and a bread maker Gave up carbs! Tap your imagination even more by suggesting how folks might use your stuff. “Sometimes, people need to be led to a good idea,” he notes.

“I once sold a box of old kitchen tiles with the label, ‘Instant garden stepping-stone path.’” Simply painting a picture in customers’ minds helps them envision using your items, pumping up sales dramatically.

Rake in more with giveaways.

Top sellers know they’ll earn more by bundling — giving away free items when customers make other purchases. If, say, you have a ton of $1 items, your sign might simply read, Buy four $1 items, get one free. “People are much more likely to pick out five items instead of just one or two because they want that fifth freebie,” confirms Cindy Sabulis, author of The Garage Sale How-To Guide.

Pro tip: If one piece of a set is flawed — say, a chipped china teacup — keep it to the side, then once the set sells, offer it at no extra charge. That imperfect item now becomes a free bonus, rather than a liability, creating the kind of goodwill that makes shoppers happy to spend more at your sale.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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