Monday, June 27, 2011

Planning a Benefit Yard Sale

Have you ever noticed how similar the words garage and garbage are? Well I suppose one man's trash is another man's treasure. My husband thinks that should read, "One man's trash is another woman's treasure." At any rate, we are leaving garbage out of the equation and having...a yard sale!

Remember when Camille wanted to give money {and toys} to the orphans? We went through our house to see what we could whip up for a yard sale to earn some money to donate to Mothers Without Borders. We realized we didn't have nearly enough stuff to sell so we decided to get others in on the action.

I did a fair amount of online research to prepare for the big day {all of which is below}, but no amount of reading could prepare me for the actual yard sale madness. I'll post tomorrow about our experience and the things I would have done differently.  But for now, here are some good tips for hosting a yard sale. Some of these ideas were mine and some came from here and here.

Written advertisements: school newsletter, church newsletter, newspaper {ask to have it posted in local events and classifieds}
Flyers: post on bulletin boards at grocery store, laundromat, etc. Ask your friends and family to post in places they frequent. {This was especially beneficial - many people who saw the flyers donated items}
Electronic: Facebook and Craigslist. You could also try television & radio network websites.
Make sure to list items that will be of interest to people, particularly furniture.
Put signs out the night before and use balloons.

Maximize Profits
Have a soda/snack table to help raise money. Maybe we can get these items donated?
Check purses and pockets of donated items for money.
Ask people if they would like to round up to the nearest dollar {ie. purchase is $4.75, round up to $5?}
Bargain with people - the idea is to sell as much as you can! Slash prices when business drops off.
Have a bag sale during the last hour of the sale {anything you can fit in this bag $2}.
Donate anything left over to charity!

Get racks to hang clothing on. Here it suggests to tie pipe pieces to rafters, but that only works if you are inside...
If you're doing a fundraiser, ask a local dry cleaner to donate hangers for hanging clothes.
Have a kid area for kids to play with/bond with toys. Yes, this is sneaky and hopefully effective!
Have a calculator and lots of small change handy {$50 in fives, $25 in ones, and $20 in quarters, $5 in dimes}
Have an extension cord, batteries, and light bulbs so people can test to see if items work. Also make sure you have a screwdriver to open battery compartments.
Have a tape measure so people can measure furniture if they need to.
Provide a changing area and mirror.
Keep a large supply of plastic bags on hand so people can wrap and tote their new treasures easily.
Label anything that needs it.
Keep big items close to door. Have "Sold" signs available for those that have to come back for those big items {don't hold for pickup unless you have already received the money, otherwise you may end up with "unsold" items}.
Have basic prices posted on tables and at checkout. Keep valuable items close to register.
Have a sign on all tables reminding people where all proceeds will be donated.
Located near checkout have information about the organization you are donating to.

Don't be afraid to ask for help; this is so much more fun when you are doing it with your friends and family! People are usually excited to help out, they just need to know specifically what to do. Make a list of things you need done and assign them in advance. This keeps people involved so they don't drop out at the last minute thinking you have enough help.
Have a sign making party. Making signs took waaaaay longer than I expected! Hours, people. {cut me some slack, they were big. and I'm a bit of a perfectionist. So what.} I made mine by myself but it would have been much more fun to be making them with friends.
Have a sorting party {can you tell I like parties?} Get together and sort stuff. This is also a good time to price things that may not fit in general pricing categories.
Day Before: buy helium balloons, set up signs with balloons {and make a note of where they were placed}
Day of: set up tables, organize displays, someone to answer questions/reorganize/straighten up, make sales {assist bargainers/slash prices}, take payments, take down signs, take unsold items to charity.

If you're considering hosting a yard sale for a fundraiser, this is the ultimate source for tips!

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