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Yard sale season begins

Published May 18. 2013 09:04AM

Now I lay me down to sleep

But all I do is count some sheep.

Worried about what we should keep,

I could cry, I could weep.

Yard sale season has arrived

We're giving it another try.

All our gems that have survived,

All attic treasures again revived.

What to keep, what to sell?

What don't I want in my home to dwell?

What items can I bid farewell?

What yard sales do, is overwhelm.

Will I regret letting go,

Books, decor of long ago,

Clothes I managed to outgrow?

No. At least I don't think so.

Because the lure of making cash

Is stronger than keeping all our stash.

So, prices I will cut and slash,

In order to be rid of our old trash.

I mean, treasures.

Yes, we're having a yard sale. I don't want to. I wanted to just cart everything to the Salvation Army and the garbage dump last time. But Harry and my brother-in-law, George, really pushed for it. So, since George and Diane's is the ideal spot, we're carting our stuff to their yard.

I got to wondering what we did wrong the last time because it looked like we came home with as much as we started with. I went online to learn how to have a successful yard sale. Here is what I learned and I thought I'd pass it on to you in case you're contemplating a yard sale in your future.

*Group sales bring in more traffic. (Well all right. We're off to a good start by combining my sister's family's junk with our junk.)

*Have an attractive layout. Marketing tricks make your customers more likely to purchase your stuff. (So I guess that means we have to have sales tickets on the items that have four or five prices crossed out so they think they're getting a reduced rate and a real bargain.)

*Be friendly. Greet people as they arrive. Chat if they're chatty. (I don't "do" early mornings. I'll leave that to Mr. Good Morning Personality. He's so stinkin' cheerful in the A.M. I could smack him.)

*Do not bad-mouth your items. (Would that be like talking out of the side of my mouth, "That George Foreman Grill. I heard it can't take an uppercut to the left side of a burger. But you didn't hear it from me.")

*Be willing to bargain, but be less flexible at the start of the day. ("That's my bottom dollar price. Too much? Well, OK. I'll give it to you." Remember. You don't want it back in the attic again.)

*Keep a ledger. Jot down a description of each item and how much you sold it for. (Yeah. Right. Good luck with this one. I'm having a yard sale, not trying to write the Great American Novel here.)

*Do not use a cash box. Keep your money on you at all times. (I'm giving Harry one of those cute little fanny packs. It will draw attention to that cute little fanny of his.)

*Have a large sign with big letters out a few days before sale. (The bigger the letters, the more old people you draw in.)

*You can lure customers by placing highly-desirable items near the road. (Good idea. I'll put the futon out there and have my attractive niece lay on it holding a BIG sign.)

*Advertise. (To save money, see above two items.)

*Price items. Are you selling your stuff to make money or to get rid of it? (Duh. Ah, yard sale ... money ... items gone ... both?)

*Display items to their advantage. Unfold those old lawn chairs. Put books on a bookshelf. (I could model that evening gown I wore on our first cruise. Harry could demonstrate the Step Master. Or maybe we should switch to get more attention.)

*Play background music. Customers love it. (Hmmm. My Barry Manilow or George's George Strait. Definitely Barry.)

*Consider selling bottled water or sodas with ice. (One year we had a yard sale and my mom made Funny Cakes. We made more money selling her Funny Cakes. Which was pretty funny.)

*Have plastic grocery bags available to put sold items in. (I wonder if large garbage can bags would entice them into filling them up.)

*If you have kids, involve them by having them set up their own table selling their old toys. Plan with them afterward to donate their good, unsold toys to charity so that needy children will benefit. (But be prepared to pry them from their sticky little fingers while wearing earplugs as they scream bloody murder.)

*Consider having a "fill a bag for a set price" kind of deal. (Kind of like "bundling" that Mike and Frank do on "American Pickers.")

One expert says, "Nothing is worse than going to a yardsale and just seeing boxes of dirty, unorganized cobwebbed junk on the ground expecting people to fish through it. Meanwhile the seller is just sitting there having their coffee chatting with neighbors and ignoring the potential customers. These people probably wonder why they never have successful yard sales."

Hmmm. Maybe I'd better read those tips again.

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