Monday, August 31, 2009

10 + 10 = Yard sale success and happy souvenir shopping

It’s a Payne family tradition. Every five years we take a big family vacation and before every trip we have a yard sale to pay for souvenirs.

For our last vacation, we took our family on a Mexican cruise and used the yard sale spoils for sombreros and serapes.

This fall, we are turning Secret Agent Man’s frequent flyer miles and hotel points into a trip to Walt Disney World. So, we will be posting signs, pulling out tables and turning our gently- used items into extra cash for Mickey Mouse ears and Goofy t-shirts.

There are tell-tale signs of garage/yard sale readiness. Admittedly, I scored 9 out of 10 (I don’t have a pool table). What will your score be?

10 signs you need to have a yard sale

1. You can’t fit a single car in your three-car-garage.
2. You have 250 plastic, Easter eggs.
3. Your kids are afraid for lives to enter the garage.
4. Conditions have become so terrible in the garage that the mice have moved into the house.
5. There are unopened boxes from the last time you moved.
6. You are embarrassed to leave your garage door open.
7. You have pool table, but you haven’t seen the top of it since the 90’s.
8. You bought new Christmas tree because it would be too much work to dig out the old one.
9. Every time you enter your garage you hear the theme song to “The Addams Family.”
10. You own a sombrero or a serape.

September is one of the best months of the year to have yard/garage sale. The weather is cooler, people are home from vacation, and there are two big events in September: the Parade of Homes and the Fruita Fall Festival. If you are lucky enough to live near the festival or near a home on the parade route, you will be able to take advantage of the extra foot traffic.

10 Tips for a successful yard sale

1. Advertise your sale. We posted our yard sale online with Make your signage clear and readable from the road. If you advertise it, they will come.
2. Group like items together: house wares, electronics, tools, and clothes all on separate tables or areas.
3. Play music. This helps to keep the atmosphere casual.
4. Plan to have plenty of small bills and coins on hand to make change. Decide ahead of time whether you will accept checks or hold items.
5. Encourage the kids participate and let them keep the money from the sale of their items. While preparing for our yard sale, I unearthed a box of my boy’s old toys. They were so excited to see them again (I should have saved the box for Christmas). Their possessiveness quickly turned to greed when I told them they could keep the money if they sold the old toys.
6. Sell a variety of items. My friend and yard sale enthusiast, Rachel, told me a good yard sale has at least three of these items: 10 used flower vases, some half-used bottles of shampoo, some roller skates (men's size 10), a copy of “The Catcher in the Rye” with some pages missing, and a tent that will sleep six, but has a few bullet holes. I have four of those items. That means my yard sale is going to be awesome!
7. Ask neighbors and family members to participate. Keep track of each person’s items with different colored stickers.
8. Mark the prices clearly, price them to sell, and be willing to negotiate.
9. Anticipate parking. Consider parking your vehicles down the street to make room for your patron’s.
10. Launder clothing items. The clothes at our yard sale will be “Payne free.” If you want something with Annie cooties on it, it will cost you extra.


  1. Awesome it!

    Here's another tip that has worked for me: have a baked goods table and let the kids run it! Individually wrapped (not large) brownies or Rice Krispies Treats disappear before your very eyes when priced at 50 cents! A Ziploc bag containing 3 good-sized cookies can go for a buck! We're talkin' PROFIT here! :D

  2. Awesome post! You looked great in that sombrero. How much did you get for it? Have a great time in Florida.

  3. I want to hear about the bullet holes.

  4. Yard sales are a lot of work, but it sounds like you have everything you need for a successful one!

  5. that is the most organized looking garage sale display i have ever seen.
    i would even stop!

    great tips.
    one of these days.....

  6. Our neighbor's and us would do an annual one every year and I'm such a sucker that I would practically give the crap, I mean, gently used items away. I think we would clear enough to go to dinner that night, but the best part? Someone else hauled everything away!

    Now, I just make Splenda do a drop off to the DI every week or so

  7. Man, if that's a messy garage then mine qualifies for Superfund cleanup assistance. Someone send a HAZMAT squad, Stat!

  8. Nice idea on the music playing in the background! Hadn't thought of that before.

    Love the side-swept bangs, btw.

  9. I had a yard sale earlier this summer before we moved, (BTW, moving is also another great motivator to de-junk your house/life.) It was a huge success and it felt soooo good to get rid of some stuff we NEVER used!!

  10. And just what can I expect to pay for an item with Annie cooties on it?

    Yard sales are a great way to get rid of stuff. Since it seems we are always buying more for our kids. Or is that just me?

  11. I'm reading the comments and wondering why the heck no one has commented on your "garage".
    B did. Love ya, B, for noticing that bonus room. THAT is not a garage.

  12. How did the yard sale turn out?? I really wanted to stop by and see what Annie Payne has in a yard sale, but Saturday was a busy one. I was gone from home more than I was home, so...

  13. gasp

    Happy Yard Sale-ing and


    I live in Orlando. Let me know if you need tips for WDW. You will have a blast. And I hope you scored enough dough to get loads of Mickey Loot!!!

  14. You are a pro, just from reading all your great tips on putting on a yard sale. Will have to remember a few of them for next summer when we have ours.

    Have a great trip to Disney World.

  15. Oooo I love those tips! Thank you!

    Now I kind of want to have a yard sale...


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