By Thursday night the colorful signs have been posted around town declaring “Yard Sale” this way or that.
And by the time it’s 8 a.m. Friday or Saturday morning, yard-salers (those people who like to yard sale) are already out and about making their way through the boxes of other people’s stuff.
Over the years I have shopped my way through yard sales and flea markets. Sometimes it’s just for fun, maybe looking to add to my collection of journalism-related items or a glass rooster to add to my collection. Other times I’m on the hunt for practical items, for instance, a dresser I want to refinish. But they all have one thing in common for me — a good bargain.
One of the most famous yard sales in Washington County is the Mile-Long Yard Sale that takes place every year on July 4 on Longmeadow Road in the Paramount area of Hagerstown. Pickers are already there before the official 7 a.m. start time.
So here are some tips for those hosting a yard sale and those who are beginning yard-salers. Let the hunt begin!
Yard sale hosts
Advertise. People still read the classified section to map out their routes and to see if the merchandise is on their lists of potential bargains.
Use correct signage. Nothing is more frustrating to a potential yard-saler if the sign can’t be read from the car. Make sure the words “yard sale” are clearly visible about 50 feet away. All you need are the words yard sale, date, time, the street and usually an arrow pointing the way.
Price sensibly. This is a yard sale, not an antique store, so price accordingly. You’re trying to make money as well as get rid of some junk, so price it to sell. And give up on the idea that you spent so much money on a certain item. If you think it’s worth a lot more, sell it on eBay, because the average yard-saler is not going to pay the price and you’ll just have to lug stuff inside.
Price clearly. Some yard-salers won’t even ask about an item unless it’s marked. Be sure it’s clear and legible. Items are best priced at 25 cents, 50 cents and then by dollar amounts. No one wants to be bothered with counting out pennies and dimes.
Be safe. Some people post signs that they are not responsible for accidents. It’s a good idea, but you also need to think about how the set up. Is there enough room between the tables? Are people going to be tripping over boxes and extension cords? Is the dog locked up in the house? If you have the chance before the yard-salers start flocking in, take a quick walk around of your area. And if you don’t want people in a certain area, make sure that it is clearly marked.
Have enough room for merchandise. Think like a store manager by properly displaying your items and by giving each item enough room on the table. You want people to clearly see what you have and at the same time not accidentally break one of your items because it was on a crowded table. Put your big-ticket items up closer to the front of the yard sale so that they lure people in. Group things, such as books, in one box that says “$1 per book.”