A Beginner’s Guide to a Successful Yard Sale

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Guest post from Yvie of Road-Schooling Gypsies

I was privileged to have a mother who shopped garage sales long before it was trendy. Hand-me-downs were no big deal — they were new to us!

We learned that, except food and toiletries, pretty much anything we needed could be bought secondhand. It’s a legacy that I began passing on to my children as soon as they understood what a quarter was.

Would you like to clean out your house and make a little egg money? Here are a few of my tips to help you have a successful yard sale:

What to Do Before the Sale:

The more stuff you have, the more traffic you’ll get — so ask your friends to join in on your yard sale, and make it a party.

Don’t pick a holiday weekend (or a weekend where there is a big, local event happening). Also, aim for the first of the month, right after folks get paid or get their SSI checks.

Check to see if you need a permit, or if there are area restrictions.

Advertise! Use your newspaper, Craigslist, Facebook groups, and put up signs. Make sure that your signs are legible, and large enough to be read by cars going past at 50mph.

Decide whether you’re selling stuff to make money, or to get rid of it. Price everything, and price accordingly.

Use bags to contain sets, puzzle pieces, etc. and then label the bags.

In the months prior, throw all your yard sale items together, so that you’re not trying to find it all the week of the sale.

A couple days before the sale, get cash: you’ll want a roll of quarters, a stack of at least twenty-five $1 bills, and a few $5 bills. Keep your money with you (fannypack?) at all times — don’t leave the cashbox sitting around.

If you are having a group sale, make sure to have a ledger to keep track of how much money goes to each person.

Stage your items just like they would stage them in a store. Place like items together, set those big items out front to draw customers, and cross-sell your items. If you have books, use a bookshelf to display them. If you have clothes, find a hanging rack. Show that you took care of your items, and they’ll be more likely to sell.

Have an extension cord handy in case someone asks to test an electrical item.

Use sheets to cover anything left in the garage that is NOT for sale. Otherwise, you’ll be fielding questions all day about what that is and how much you’d take for it.

After it’s staged, walk through your sale like a customer. It is easy to navigate? Are the prices reasonable?

What to Do the Day of Your Sale:

Turn on some background music — avoiding anything offensive.

Be friendly and greet people. If they want to chat, chat. Otherwise, leave them be. And don’t hover.

Be prepared for folks to bargain, but be less flexible at the beginning of the sale. Also remember that you don’t have to accept their offer.

Set up a big box with toys in the middle, this way moms can shop the perimeter while keeping an eye on kids that are being entertained. (If the toys are breakable/expensive, don’t put them in this pile.)

Keep your cash with you at all times, and keep an eye on your items as well. Shoplifting happens, even at garage sales.

Set up a free box, and fill it with things that you just want gone. Everyone likes free stuff.

Run that lemonade stand, especially if it’s a hot day. Better yet, let your children run it. They’re cuter than you are, and people will be more likely to buy from them.

Consider doing “stuff-a-bag” or “half-price” for the second day. This will depend on how much you want stuff gone.

Have a plan for after the sale is done (see below) so that your stuff doesn’t all come back into your home.

What to Do After the Sale:

Use the ledger to divide up your money.

Consider having an impromptu “swap” amongst your friends. (Assuming you haven’t already spent the last two days shopping each others’ items.)

As you break down the sale, divide leftover items into categories such as: 1. used bookstore 2. consignment store 3. donate boxes, and 4. Craigslist/Ebay. The first 3 groups should never come back into the house — and if you’re going to sell anything on Craigslist or Ebay, make a plan to do that ASAP!

What are your best tips to host a successful yard sale?

Yvie is a homeschooling mother of two boys, who has been perfecting the art of frugality since childhood. Find her on Facebook at Road-Schooling Gypsies.

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Ask the Readers: How can I save on college expenses?

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Today’s question is from Dorothy:

I am a married, 27-year-old who works full-time and has no kids.

I have decided that the time is right for me to go back to school and finally complete my bachelor’s degree online. I will be continuing to work full-time, as will my husband, so all of our typical expenses (rent, bills, groceries, etc.) will still be covered. However, I am worried about the cost of returning to school (tuition, books, supplies, etc.).

Do you or any of your readers have any ideas on how to keep my costs low so I will need as few student loans as possible? -Dorothy

Do you have a question you’d like to ask Money Saving Mom® readers? Read the submission guidelines and submit it here.

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Peek Into Our Week: FlameFest Ball, New Hairstyles, Growing My Nails Out, SheSpeaks Conference, Family Roadtrip, and Homemade Latte!

Peek Into the Week

It’s been a full two weeks and I’m finally getting a chance to do a recap post… and wow is there a lot to recap!

I went to IL to speak at a Firefighter Wives’ Event called Flamefest. It was held at the Hyatt Lodge at the McDonald’s Campus (the McD headquarters, I guess?) Guess what kind of coffee they served at the hotel? Cracked me up to drink McDonald’s coffee from a McDonald’s cup — at a HYATT no less! :)

Peek Into Week

I was the keynote speaker at the Flamefest Ball on Friday evening, so I had fun getting dressed up for the occasion. :) And I also learned a really powerful lesson about courage that night. Read it here.

Peek Into Week

I flew home Saturday morning. I was supposed to get in before lunch, but after multiple flight delays, I ended up getting back into town about three hours later than planned. But that’s just life sometimes, isn’t it?! I’m learning to roll with the punches… or at least I’m trying to! :)

On Saturday evening, we went to hang out with our good friends and neighbors, the Hodges. We spent the evening talking, laughing, sharing, and eating delicious homemade salsa and fresh-baked cookies.

While we were there, other friends dropped by to bring us all boxes of cookies and stayed to regale us with hilarious stories. Have I mentioned how much we are loving and being blessed by the community here??

Peek Into Week

Kaitlynn found a tutorial on YouTube for making homemade lip gloss with crayons and coconut oil and just had to try it. She made it almost entirely by herself — and it turned out really well!

This girl constantly impresses and inspires me… and I’m so grateful for the beauty and creativity she adds to our home and life!

Peek Into Week

Move over, Starbucks! I am so excited that I finally learned how to make her own DIY Breve Latte — without a Latte Machine. And it is delicious!! Get the recipe here.

Peek Into Week

It was cloudy and overcast one day… Perfect for snuggling up on the bed and reading chapter after chapter aloud together while the kids created with Legos. I love quiet, at-home days!

Peek Into Week

You know what warms my heart so much? It’s amazing young people like Kass Hodge who love on our kids.

We had another fun neighborhood get together at the Hodges house and while we were at their house, Kass gave Kaitlynn a makeover. You can imagine little fashionista Kaitlynn thought was the best thing ever!

I hope both of my daughters grow up to be as generous, kind, and warm as Kass is!

Peek Into Week

I began last week feeling a wee bit overwhelmed with everything that needed to be done, so I took a deep breath, made some Good Girl Moonshine and painted my now-growing-out nails.

It might seem weird to stop and do something like that when I had a long to-do list to tackle, but I’ve found that sometimes, when you feel like there’s too much to do, making yourself stop and breathe for 20 minutes is the best thing you can do. At least it’s definitely much better than hyperventilating! :)

{Also? I think I’ve discovered the secret to growing my nails out!! Not only does it involve keeping them painted in cute colors, but it also involves publicly blogging about your nail-biting habit. Somehow, going public with it, has made me much more disciplined about actually letting them grow out. And every time I look down at my longish nails, it makes me so very happy! So anyway, thank you all!}

Peek Into Week

We left six hours earlier than planned on Wednesday morning to head to North Carolina for me to attend the SheSpeaks Conference. There were storm clouds and rain much of the drive — which is my favorite weather to drive in!

I spent the drive wrapped up in this favorite blanket of mine, reading a good book, having discussions as a family, and getting in some blogging work since I was able to get good wi-fi in the car through my phone’s hotspot.

Peek Into Week

It’s really impossible for me to put into words just how blessed, refreshed, and filled up I was by being at SheSpeaks.

Spending time with these two women was one of the biggest highlights. Not only did we have deep conversations about heart things and struggles, but we also did a whole lot of laughing since both Edie and Ruth are hilarious — especially when you get them both together!

I think I’m sore from all the laughing we did, but it was so very worth it! We only wished that Edie could have stayed longer than just one day!

Peek Into Week

Lookee whose book just came out in paperback?!?! I’m so stinkin’ proud of my girl, Ruth Soukup, and all the amazing things she’s doing!!

Her book, How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul, is truly the BEST blogging book I’ve ever read.

It’s available as an ebook on Amazon or the new and expanded paperback version should be available on Amazon next week.

Peek Into Week

It was so fun to get to spend a little time with the amazing A.J. Gregory! She ghost-edited my last book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, and I’m so honored to be working with her again for my next book.

We’ve been mulling over the next book’s concept for months and are so excited to finally be ready to jump in and start the intensive writing process together. I think you’re going to LOVE the topic — or at least *I’m* super stoked about it! :)

Our plan is to have the manuscript finished by December 1 of this year and, if all goes according to plan, it should be in bookstores by the beginning of November 2015!

Peek Into Week

Listening to Michele is always a huge inspiration to me. I love her to pieces! If you’ve not had the chance to listen to her speak before, you are majorly missing out!

Peek Into Week

I won’t lie: the reason I went to SheSpeaks was because Ruth was speaking. So yes, I may have been having trouble containing my pride and excitement while she was up on the stage.

A few months ago, Ruth and I were talking on the phone. I was celebrating with her that she was going to be speaking at the SheSpeaks conference — a real honor to be asked to be apart of, but one Ruth was wholly deserving of.

Then she said something that I totally hadn’t considered, “You should come, too.”

Since I try to limit my traveling to only a few speaking/business trips per month, I didn’t think it would work out. However, my husband knows just how much Ruth’s friendship means to me and he concocted a plan to make it work, because he’s amazing like that. Truly.

His idea: we turned the trip into a family roadtrip/visit with my sister and her family who live nearby in South Carolina. While I was at the conference, he did fun activities with the kids and spent time with my sister’s husband and her kids.

Peek Into Week

These are some of the beautiful ladies I had the chance to get to know better at SheSpeaks. Courtney (who created the adorable Scripture cards above) is just a doll. Ruth and I instantly loved her! {Photo credit: Courtney}

{And notice my Cents of Style tee in the picture? I bought it during the last sale they ran on their t-shirt line and I absolutely adore it!}

Peek Into Week

One of the highlights of the conference was getting to see my dear friend, Renee, kill it in her morning keynote. I can’t tell you how blessed I am to know this woman in real-life.

This was my first opportunity to hear her speak in front of an audience, so I had to try to keep it together so I didn’t bust out with loud proclamations like, “Isn’t she AMAZING?!?!?” :)

Peek Into Week

I just LOVE these girls! Each one is a true gift in my life! Oh the laughter, memories, stories, deep conversations, love, heart-to-heart talks, cups of coffee, and experiences we shared at SheSpeaks! We may not have gotten much sleep, but it was so very worth it!!

Peek Into Week

We capped off the conference with a late night (and into the wee hours of the early morning) PJ party in a hotel suite most of us had shared together during the conference. It was a blast.

The above picture makes my heart feel like it just might burst. These women are some of the dearest women I know and we are committed to walking alongside one another in this journey and adventure of life. Their friendship is a true gift.

Peek Into Week

My family re-joined me at the hotel on Sunday and we spent the day sleeping and taking it easy before we drove over to meet up with my sister and her family.

All the cousins had a fantastic time being together. They are old enough now where they mostly play together really well and it’s so fun to observe them!

The dads took all the kids on Monday evening and Brigette and I went out shopping with a few gift cards we had. We tried to see how much we could get without spending any money out of pocket. We got some great deals, had a lot of fun, and only went a few dollars over the gift card amount at one store. Score!

Afterwards, we came back to their house, put all the kids to bed, made snacks, and then stayed up way too late watching a movie. I knew we could all sleep in in the morning, so it was worth the late night. :)

Peek Into Week

We got up late this morning, took our time getting around, and left for home around noon.

It was a mostly uneventful and relaxing 8-hour drive home: rocking my first messy bun (thanks, YouTube!), enjoying some yummy and fairly healthful snacks (who says the gas station only sells candy bars and soda pop??), listening to my favorite playlist on repeat, knocking out some blog projects thanks to more good wi-fi in the car, and soaking up the beautiful scenery.

All in all, was a great trip, but it’s also so good to be HOME!

We’re happy to be back for the rest of this week so we can spend time with friends here and catch up on laundry and sleep before we leave again for a trip to Arkansas and Missouri next week. :)

How was YOUR last week (or two!)? Anything interesting or exciting happen at your house?

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Enter to win a $100 Walgreen’s Gift Card + save on Suave Professionals at Walgreens

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Walgreens is offering you the opportunity to save on Suave Professionals this week (July 27-August 1, 2014). And by combining the everyday value price with the Balance Rewards offer this week plus using a manufacturer’s coupon, you can get what I consider a great deal!

Here are the details:

Buy two Professionals Body Wash and Suave Professionals Lotion Products at the everyday value price of $3 each
Use 2 $1/1 Suave Professionals Product coupons from the 07/27 RedPlum insert
Spend $4 plus tax out of pocket
Earn 2,000 Balance Rewards (This is the equivalent of $2 Rewards points — This offer is valid through August 1, 2014 only. Earn 2,000 Balance Rewards Points when you buy $6 worth of Suave®Professional products. Offer valid on Suave® Professionals Body Wash and Suave Professionals Lotion Products sold at Walgreens.)

That’s like paying just $1 per bottle after the everyday value price, the coupon, and the Balance Rewards. The New Suave Professionals Body Washes are infused with spa-inspired ingredients for beautiful skin. Suave® Body washes have bright, clean scents that leave your skin feeling fresh and delightfully fragrant.

Would you like to win a $100 Walgreens gift card so you can buy this body wash or some of the many other great deals available each week at Walgreens? Click on the graphic below to enter to win. One winner will be chosen and posted early next week. This giveaway ends Thursday, July 31, at 11:59 pm, CST.

Enter the Giveaway

This post and giveaway is sponsored by Lunchbox, all opinions are 100% my own. Read my disclosure policy here.

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