On the Yard Sale
Let me start by saying that yard sales are amazing and fantastic. It’s as they say, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Waking early on Saturdays and driving from one person’s collection of possible gold to another was a ritual for us growing up. Even now, my parents and aunts will jump into a vehicle at ungodly hours just to peruse the day’s bargains. Many a great deal were discovered this way.
Not to mention many a great disappointments.
It’s the beginning of another season of inviting perfect strangers to come and judge your cast-offs. Whenever Derek and I pass by something unacceptable, I always say that people should have to take a yard sale course, or at least sign off on the etiquette of yard sales or something in that line. There needs to be rules. Here’s some that I think people should follow.
- The signage for your yard sale should be larger than an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, preferably something in color. Honestly, how do you expect drivers going 40 to 80 kilometers to see that tiny white sheet flapping in the wind?
- You should probably use something larger than the equivalent to 12 point text to write your message with. It’s somewhat dangerous if a vehicle must slow down to a crawl to read the information you’re posting. Write big, write bold, write clearly!
- The sign will be read quickly, so posting “Giant yard sale, rain or shine, Saturday and Sunday, address here, list of items available” with balloons flopping about like some insane advertisement really doesn’t work all that well. I think the street name, the word “yard sale”, and possibly the date if your sheet is big enough are sufficient. No need for unicorns pooping rainbows of glitter all over the paper. Follow KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.
- After the day is complete, if you aren’t planning on a second day of sitting outside in the hot sun trying to sell the remaining merchandise, you should take down the sign. I put that in bold because it’s so important. The last thing you want is people driving by your house for consecutive weekends looking for the promised sale of treasures, only to waste gas and patience because you didn’t take down the sign. All the signs. If you posted six, go and get those suckers. Don’t leave it to Mother Nature to take it down for you. She won’t. That is, unless you have some sort of amazing display in your front yard that you think people should witness firsthand. Like a dog jumping through a flaming hoop into a pool, only for three horses to emerge from the water like majestic beasts of legend.
Phew, that’s just for the signage. I can’t tell you the amount of times a sign, if not expired, was written in regular handwriting, the paper folded in on itself, with just a glimpse of the world yard as a hint. If my grandmother were still alive, she’d see it. She always missed the neon signs with arrows and flashy lights in favor of the plain, tiny signs. Now, let’s continue on to the yard sale itself.
- You should have more than one table of items for sale, unless you like for people to drive-by. Nothing says your yard sale sucks like every vehicle doing the slow crawl past your house while observing your items from afar. You need to entice people to stop and get out of their vehicles. After all, they’ve been doing this, or will be doing this, all morning/afternoon. Can’t muster up more than one table of items? Well, there’s a solution for this as well. Ask your family or neighbours if they want to join in, and not the morning of the event after the eleventh vehicle checks out your stuff from fifteen feet away. Whenever we have a yard sale, it’s usually a multi-family deal, no reason yours can’t be as well.
- On that note, a bunch of rusty tools from your great-grandfather’s era don’t constitute a yard sale staple. Yes, put them out there, but don’t have them be the only thing available. Same goes for cups/mugs, knick-knacks from the dollar store, and clothes. Variety is key here. Unless, of course, it’s the end of the day and everything else has sold.
- For the love of the Gods, put prices on your wares! Yes, people will bargain, yes people will make offers. But they will do so more readily if they know what you’re expecting to make for that spice rack or pile of books. People need a starting point for their bids!
- On that note, this is a yard sale, you’re selling your old stuff, not paying off your mortgage!
- Don’t sell dirty items! If it’s been in storage or just sitting around for years, it’s dusty, greasy, dirty. Clean your stuff! You’ll get a low-ball offer if anyone wants to put the effort into cleaning your things. In other words, ensure people can make out exactly what your product is supposed to be.
- Don’t leave your stuff in boxes and expect people to go through them for you. Take it out, display it like the fine pieces they are.
- If it’s broken, don’t try and sell it. Pitch that junk!
- And most importantly, wear sunscreen! Geez man! You’re out in the sun all day and lucky if you have any shade! No one wants to look like a lobster at the end of it all!
And there you have it folks, a baseline for yard sale rules. If anyone has anything to add to the list, please leave a message!