We've decided (well, really I've decided but J-bird goes along) to participate every year as a way to get rid of junk in our house. We have no plans of moving from our home in the foreseeable future so to be able to keep our spaces functional, we have to purge as we bring new things in. We've also been working on bringing in fewer and more meaningful items at the same time.
My yard sale philosophy (That sounds a little silly, doesn't it? I mean, it's just a yard sale.) is that the goal is to get rid of the stuff, the added benefit is any money we make.
Goal: Get rid of stuff
Bonus: Money made
Some tips for a successful yard sale (from my limited experience)1) Safety
Always work with another person. It's easier, more fun, and safer. I'm the person who holds onto the money and I just wouldn't feel safe without J-bird or my mom out there with me. Also, as you get big bills, move them into the house. I don't think everyone is out to cheat and steal but it's better to be cautious. Keep an eye on buyers. It's also not a bad idea to keep smaller, higher priced items closer to where you will be stationed and farther from the exit.
It's a giant pain but cuts down on questions. Especially important for multi-family sales. I have a different color sticker for each family's items. Also, be reasonable on the prices. It's a yard sale-- people expect cheap prices.
Arrange things in some sort of reasonable way-- seasonal items together, books together, etc. Make sure everything is clean and works, if it doesn't work, note it. Hang clothes if your space allows. If you can, use hangers that you would recycle/trash anyway so that people can take hangers. I had several people last year ask to take our good hangers. Um, no, sorry. You're already taking 3 shirts and a few books for under $10.
Have lots of change. I tend to get more than I really need because I do not want to run out of small bills and not be able to make a sale. Accept cash only. Price things so that you don't need smaller coins, just quarters.
5) #1 Rule
Nothing goes back in the house. Nothing. NOTHING. You've decided to put this stuff in the yard sale because you've already checked out pricing on eBay, checked to see if you can sell the books elsewhere, like Cash4Books, and considered whether the clothes are consignment-worthy. Whatever doesn't sell goes to Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. The goal is to get rid of the junk cluttering up your current life.
I'll let you know how our upcoming yard sale goes, and maybe I'll even remember to take a few pictures to post.
What are your tips for a successful yard sale? Do you participate in annual neighborhood sales? Do you shop at yard sales? What have been your best finds?