Spring has sprung here in Mahoosuc Mills. The daffodils are in bloom, the trees are buddin’, and we’re fast approaching my favorite time of the year: yard sale season.
I just love yard sales! I love goin’ to them and I love havin’ them. Because the thing is, if you go to a lot of yard sales, you have to have a yard sale every once and a while to get rid of all the stuff you bought at the other yard sales.
I’ve learned through experience that havin’ a successful yard sale is about marketing and product placement. If you’re thinkin’ about having one, it’s not too early to start getting organized. Here are some of my yard sale pointers.
I’d suggest taking out an ad in the local newspaper, and if you’re near a big city, like Bangor or Waterville, get an ad in that paper, too. That way, you’ll get people from away. You can charge them more.
Now, you need something snappy in your ad to get folks’ attention. Here’s mine: If you saw something you liked on the Home Shopping Network that you wished you’d bought but didn’t, most likely I did, and I’ll be selling it on Saturday. Yard Sale 8:00-3:00. Collectibles, furniture, tools, all sorts of bargains. Early birds welcome.
See, I started with the bit about the Home Shopping Network. That’s the hook. That’s what gets them to read more. Then you have to say you have collectibles, ‘cause that’s trendy. And if you don’t think you have ‘em, you do, because everything’s collectible to someone. I’ve seen Antiques Roadshow.
Furniture is important. You need a few big pieces to draw people in, make them stop and get out of their car. It’s not worth your time to have a jelly jar yard sale. That’s when there’s a couple tables with lots of little trinkets on ‘em. You’ll just get drive-bys with those. A car will slow down, checking out your stuff and then drive on by to the next yard sale on their list.
If you don’t have any furniture that you’re ready to part with, just have your husband bring out a chest of drawers, a desk, a trunk: anything big. Then, put a few things on ‘em that are for sale. People will stop to look at the furniture, and when they ask what the price is, you say, “Oh, I’m sorry, dear. That’s not for sale. I’m just using it to display those collectibles.”
Now, tools. I’m not big on ‘em myself, but you need to put them in your ad for three reasons. Number one: it might get your husband to tidy up the shed. Number two: it keeps him occupied, so he’s there when you need him to carry heavy things out to a car or truck. Number three: it’s a code. It lets you women know that there’s going to be something at the yard sale to occupy your husband so you can really look around, and then he’s there when you need him to lug stuff.
You have to make sure your yard sale signs are fresh and new. You can make them by hand if you want, or use the ones that the newspaper gives you for taking out the ad. Just don’t put up old ones. Then it looks like you’re one of those places that’s having a permanent yard sale. You’ve seen them: a house with lots of junk piled up in the yard all summer long, yard sale signs all weather beaten because they’ve been out for years, blue tarps everywhere. I stopped at one once where they were trying to sell little packets of mustard and catsup like you get at McDonalds. I mean, come on! Half used boxes of laundry detergent, an old bed pan. Swear to God, an old bed pan!
Now, let me say something about early birds. You know you’re going to get ‘em. Why fight a force of nature? These people bought newspapers, planned their route and got up in the middle of the night in order to buy stuff. You have to respect that kind of dedication. If you say your yard sale starts at 8:00, you can bet you’re going to have folks linin’ up at 6:00, 6:30. Don’t start the day off on the wrong foot by gettin’ aggravated at something inevitable.
You need to be ready to go by 5:45. I can’t stress this enough. I mean, everything priced, displayed, your cash box organized, signs out, hair and makeup done, breakfast eaten and coffee in a travel mug. This takes planning. In order to have a successful yard sale, you need to spend the week before hand getting ready.
And when I say “early birds welcome,” I mean it. I have a couple big boxes of Dunkin Munchkins waitin’ for them. I mean the big box, the ones with 50 munchkins, smile on my face, lip gloss, power bra. These are people from away looking for a deal out in the country, and I am ready to dicker. My motto: distract ‘em with sweetness, then drive a hard bargain.
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
May 4: The Moose in Me, The Moose in You! to benefit the Friends of the South Berwick Library, 7:30pm, South Berwick, ME
May 9: Author Visit, Forest Hills Elementary, Jackman, ME
May 11: Signing, Cozy Nest, 11:00-1:00, Somersworth, NH
May 16: Reading, Walker Memorial Library, 7:00pm, Westbrook, ME
For more information on upcoming appearances, visit my website: idaswebsite.com
If you’d like me to do a reading at your library, organization or what not, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
And if your book group wants to read Finding Your Inner Moose, I’d love to be part of the discussion. Especially if food’s involved!