With summer almost here, you might be getting tired of all the different things that you have been hoarding in your home over the winter months. While it is comfortable and pleasing to spend time outdoors during Dallas’ winter, the summer can bring an intolerable heat that drives many people indoors in search of protection. Since you more than likely will be spending more time indoors during the worst of summer, now might be the best time to get rid of anything that might be taking up space and disturbing the look/flow of your home. For many people, the best way to do this is to have a yard sale.
Many think that having a yard sale is just a matter of choosing a day and putting out your items, with the hordes of people inevitably coming to buy all of your unwanted things. Not only will your chances of success be very low if you don’t know what you’re doing with your yard sale, but you could also run into problems with the law and face other complications. This article will help to guide you through every step of conducting a yard sale, from gathering items for the sale to cleaning up.
What Should You be Selling?
The first question that you need to be asking when planning a yard sale is – “What should I be selling?” This is a hard question for many people since they more than likely will not want to get rid of many of their items. Whether it is guilt over the money that you spent in the past or the worry that you may need the item in the future, choosing the things in your home to sell will often be difficult. With this in mind, it is important to set up strict rules that will determine which things you need to sale and the items that you can keep. Here is a quick look at a few example rules that you might want to establish:
- Have you used it in the past year? This is a great question to ask since you may use items at different times during the year. If you haven’t used an item in the past year, it probably is just taking up space and can be sold.
- Can it be rented? Many of the items in our homes are only used on seldom occasions, taking up space and wasting money. If you can rent the item instead, you not only will be able to free up room in your home, but you might be able to make a bit of money as well. For example, a tiller in your garage is extremely useful for any garden, but you more than likely will only use it once a year. Sell the tiller, free up some space and earn some money, and then rent one of these machines once every year when you actually need it.
- Can it be Bought Smaller? We all have old things in our home that are outdated and that are simply taking up space. If you have an old, gigantic set of speakers for your entertainment room you might want to consider selling the equipment and purchasing something new. You not only will be able to get some of high quality, but you also will more than likely be saving an enormous amount of space and you will be using less electricity.
- Does it Add to the Home? Another question that you will want to ask is whether or not an item adds to the home. If an item does not add to the function or look of your home, you more than likely can toss it. Of course there is always your attic and shed, but you also want to make sure that these areas remain functional. If you have trouble finding what you need or accessing a box in these areas it is probably time to have a yard sale.
So What do You Need?
Sure, you can just throw out a bunch of items on blankets in your front yard, but this is not the best way to maximize your time and profits when conducting a yard sale. You are going to need a few different things to make every aspect of your sale a success:
- Tables – Renting a few tables, or using some from your home, is one of the easiest ways to sell more of your stuff at a yard sale. Tables make it easy for you to place all of your items in spots where they can be easily viewed and inspected. Tables also encourage people to browse through all of your different things, since they will not have to bend over and dig through large piles of items that are scattered over the ground.
- Price Tags – You can buy price tags at any office supply store, but you can also make your own. Simply get some heavy paper, punch a hole in the corner, and then tie string through the hole and around an item. Even a simple price tag such as these will help eliminate any doubts or concerns among your customers over prices. This will also help to save you time and energy since you will not have to haggle over every single item.
- Bags – Even if you only have left over grocery bags, this simple item can encourage customer to buy a large amount of items, since they will not have to worry about purchasing too much to carry.
- Trolley – If you have any large or heavy items at your yard sale you will need a trolley. This will make it much easier for you to move these larger items to a customer’s vehicle and it will also help to prevent injuries on your property, which could lead to potential lawsuits.
- Credit Card Reader – In today’s world, there is no excuse for not having a credit card reader. There are several different companies that provide these readers for free and they integrate seamlessly with your smartphone or tablet. While you might lose some money on every transaction with the associated fees, you will also be able to make a much larger number of sales since people will seldom carry a large amount of cash.
- Notebook and Pen – A notebook and pen are essential for recording every transaction that is made at your yard sale. This will not only help you to easily calculate how much money you have made, but it will also help you to avoid any squabbles. A good record will make it so that no one can say that they have paid for an item when they haven’t.
Laws and Regulations
You have all the things that you want to sell and you have all the items that you will need to make your yard sale effective. So now what? While you may think that you can just go and sell your items out in your yard whenever you want, you can actually get in trouble by doing so. There are a small number of rules and regulations here in Dallas that need to be followed when you are conducting a yard sale.
Before you can start your yard sale, you are going to need a permit from the city. Here in Dallas there permits are relatively easy to acquire and they will allow for you to legally conduct a yard sale on your own property. Here are a few place where you can get your application for a yard sale permit, just make sure that you bring government issued identification and your water account number.
- All Dallas Public Libraries during regular business hours.
- Restaurant/Bar Inspections, 7901 Goforth Rd., Dallas, TX 75238,
Monday thru Friday, 8am - 4:30pm
- Code Compliance Administration, 3112 Canton St., Dallas, TX 75226,
Monday thru Friday, 8am - 5pm
Even with your permit, there are a few laws and regulations that you need to keep in mind. First, here in Dallas you will only be able to conduct your yard sale for three consecutive days. You also cannot have more than two yard sales during a single year. Another law that many break is that you are not allowed to advertise your yard sale on public property. This includes sidewalks, street light posts, etc. If you want to advertise on private property, you are going to want to get the written permission of the owner.
These few laws and regulations are simple and easy to remember, so make sure that you follow them in order to avoid any fines or penalties.
How Are People Going to Find Your Sale?
While you cannot place advertisements for your yard sale on public property, there are still plenty of other opportunities to market your event. First, make sure that you add your sale to http://garagesale.dallascityhall.com/AddLogin.jsp. This is a free website provided by the city of Dallas for yard/garage sale listings. While you are online, there are a few other website where you can list your yard sale, including Eventbrite, Zvents, InTicketing, American Towns, and many more. The best part about these websites is that many of them integrate with the local event websites here in Dallas, which will help to spread your yard sale’s information to as many people as possible.
If you are going to have a large yard sale, you might even want to consider creating a website for the event. There are plenty of free web hosting platforms on the web, including Blogspot, Wordpress, and Weebly, where you can easily create a website that lists all of your sale’s information. You will also be able to place pictures of items on this website, which might draw in people that are looking for a specific thing. If you do decide to create a website, make sure that you share it on all of your social media profiles at least once every few days during the couple weeks before the sale. While your website more than likely will not get noticed in search results for Google, it is still a great spot to put all of your sale’s information and you will be able to get a large amount of traffic if you share the site with as many people as possible.
There are plenty of ways to market your website using the Internet, but you should also take advantage of more traditional methods of marketing. Take a look at how much it will cost to place a small ad in your local newspaper or in a local magazine. You should also contact local groups that put out newsletter and advertorials to see if they have space for ads or if they list local events. Another great idea is to simply go around to homes and businesses asking if they will allow for you to play an advertisement on their property. Many people won’t have a problem with this and it is a cheap, simple way to reach out to your potential customers in the neighborhood.
But, in the end, nothing works quite as well as word of mouth. Tell everyone that you can about your yard sale. Make sure that you mention some of the more interesting items or anything that might draw people to your event. If you are offering something special you can be sure that people will talk about it and they will share the information with others.
Let’s Make Some Money!
While it seems like there is a lot of work that goes into conducting a proper yard sale, all of these preparations will pay off in the end. If you have done everything that is advised in this post, you will not have a problem with getting people to your sale and everyone will have an easy time finding the items that they want. While you can simply sit back and watch your items sell, there are some things that you can do in order to gain an even greater profit and make more sales:
- Take the weather into account – Take a look at the weather forecast the day before the sale. While you might want to postpone the sale if it’s pouring down raining, there are ways that you can make your yard sale a success in any weather. If it is going to be raining on and off all day, consider putting some umbrellas out for people and get some tarps that you can use to quickly cover your items if it starts to rain. If it is going to be blazing hot, consider putting out some tents and fans where people can cool down if they get too hot while they are shopping.
- Don’t Sit – While it is fine to sit down and rest if necessary, it is important that you are busy and interacting with your customers. You should always be roaming around, trying to help people that may have questions or rearranging items so that they look perfect. You don’t ever want to be overbearing on people, but you always need to be there in order to answer questions and concerns. By being proactive and seeking to help people, you will be able to sale items that people might have walked away from simply because they did not want to initiate a conversation.
- Mark Down the Prices – The goal with a yard sale is to get rid of as many items as possible while still making some money. Thus, when your sale is beginning to draw into its final hours, start offering discounts on all of your items. You cans tart with 30% off everything, moving all the way to 80% off during the final minutes of the sale. This will help to get rid of as many items as possible and it will help to maximize your profits.
- Offer a Raffle – Depending on how many items you plan on selling, consider having a raffle for an item that you know everyone will want, such as a used iPad or a rare collectible. Give people more entries for how much they spend and have them simply write down their phone number on a slip of paper for every entry. This will encourage people to spend more money and it is a fun way to interact with your customers.
Left Overs, Clean Up, and Storage
You spent weeks preparing for your yard sale, you worked like a madman under the brutal Dallas sun during the sale, and now you have a good amount of money and some items that are still left on your tables. So what’s next? As part of your preparation for your garage sale, you should make plans for all the items that are going to be left over. Even the best yard sales will still have things that did not sell, which is perfectly fine, but you will not want for these items to go back into your home. One of the main reasons for having a yard sale is to clean out your home, so keeping these items on your property simply is not an option. So what do you do?
If you’re having a large yard sale, you might want to consider renting a dumpster. This will allow for you to easily clean up any trash that is left over from the event and you will be able to toss any junk items that never got sold. A dumpster will also allow for you to easily clean up other parts of your home since you more than likely will have some extra space in the dumpster.
If you are selling a large number of high quality items that you know other people will want to use, you might want to consider making arrangements with a local thrift store or charity for donating your items. While these places won’t usually come and get your items, they do provide a place where you can get rid of things that you do not want while helping others. Simply rent a moving truck for the day and pack all of your items in the truck when the sale is over and drive to your local donation center. This is a simple and efficient way to clean up your property after a sale and you can feel good about helping out others in the community.
Finally, if there really are some items that you simply do not want to part with, you might want to consider renting a storage unit. These storage space will allow for you to keep the items that you want, possibly saving them for another yard sale in the future, without having these things clogging up your home. A storage unit is also essential if you decide to sell your leftover items on Craigslist and EBay. If you hold the items in your home, you more than likely will never get rid of them. But, if you are paying for a storage unit you will have the incentive to quickly get rid of these items and put them up for sale. If you are committed to keeping your home clean and clutter free, a storage unit will be essential for holding items until you can have another sale.
Congratulation! You have cleaned out your home, made a bit of money, and you have now completely cleaned up after your yard sale. Your home is clutter free and you have some cash to now save up for a fun vacation or some home improvements. Keeping your home clean and clutter free is a continuing process that takes commitment and hard work, but it is 100% possible with proper planning. With your hard earned money, make sure that you do not purchase items that are simply going to take up space in your home and make a continued effort to move unused items to your storage unit once every month. Be proud of yourself for creating a clean and organized home that will make your life more enjoyable and much easier!