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Yard Sale Tips and Tricks
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Spring to fall is prime yard sale time across Canada. If you want to get rid of clutter while making some extra cash, a yard sale can be the perfect solution. Here are some tips that can help:
Check the rules
Before you plan your sale, be sure to check your local municipality for laws governing yard and garage sales. For example, the City of Toronto website has a Garage Sale bylaws page. Among the rules: Property owners can have no more than two yard sales per year, but one sale can last two consecutive days. No permits or licenses are required, but signs must be removed once the sale is over.
Pick your location, time and date
If you don’t have a spacious and well-located yard, driveway or garage, with plenty of street parking, ask to borrow space from a friend or relative. That way you can also make it a multi-family sale, which will help your partners earn some money, and also attract more people to your sale.
When picking a date, generally, weekends work best. Start early – even 8 a.m. can be a late start for early-bird yard sale devotees.
Gather your goods
Consider selling anything you don’t want or haven’t used in months. Don’t just choose the items you would buy – someone may enjoy fixing broken things or want materials for an art project. If it’s something you don’t want and it’s safe, put it in your garage sale. But be sure to check with your adult children before selling any of their old toys or collections.
Once you have selected your items, you put a price tag on everything – a roll of masking and a permanent marker is all you need.
If you are new to yard sales, you might want to visit some local sales first to get an idea of what an acceptable price is. For larger items, you can check Craigslist and Kijiji for sale prices. One rule of thumb is 50-30-10: new or unused items get priced at 50% of the retail cost; slightly used items are priced at 30% of retail, and well-used items cost 10% of the retail value.
If you have a lot of one category, such as books or DVDs, you could price them per item and also offer “BOGO” (buy one, get one) deals.
To get the word out about your sale, consider free online listings available on your local Craigslist and Kijiji sites. Take advantage of your own Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts to publicize your sale, and highlight your merchandise. There may also be a community Facebook page for your area, where you can post details about your sale.
Make signs to put up in your neighbourhood. Include the date/time, your address, and an arrow pointing to the correct direction. Don’t forget to take them down when the sale is over!
At least a day before your sale, make sure you have everything you need: chairs for you and any helpers, tables or flat surfaces to display items, a garment rack for clothes.
Be sure to have plenty of change, including small bills, toonies, loonies and quarters. Keep your cash secure by placing it in your pocket, an apron with pockets, or a fanny pack.
Set up and sell
You’ll want to start getting ready at least an hour before your sale starts to ensure you’re ready for early birds. Display your best items prominently to draw in passersby.
If you are selling electronic appliances, have a plugged-in extension cord handy to show that they work. For battery-powered objects, add batteries (they can be low in power) to display the items in action.
Be willing to bargain, especially as your sale comes to an end. And once your sale time is over, decide how to handle any unsold items: save them for another sale, donate to charity or give them away for free.