How to Organize A Neighborhood-Wide Yard Sale!
On July 13th, John and I participated in the Newport East Row district neighborhood-wide yard sale. There were hundreds of people walking through the neighborhood looking for treasures and deals. We were able to clear out some of our "stuff", got to see many of our neighbors, made some new friends, filled the money jar, and cleared space in our house and garage.
If you are thinking of moving soon, or just need to make room in your house, a yard sale might be just the ticket! But if you don't live on a high-traffic corner, the idea can sound like a week of work for only a few bucks. Having a neighborhood sale is a sure bet to draw the crowds! And you'll get to make some new friends in the community while clearing space in your house and making some extra cash!
Check out the rules of the community to be sure you can have a yard or garage sale. Some areas require permits, tightly regulate signs you can use, and specify certain hours when your sale can take place.
Estimate ad costs of a local newspaper classified ad. Most dailies have a "Garage/Yard Sale" section and the rate buys you posting online as well as in the paper. The ad should run at least the day before and the day of the sale. Participating households will divide the cost. Ads are a necessity. Real yard sale aficionados plan their route in advance.
Talk to a couple of your neighbors whom you know will want to get on board with the idea, and "deputize" them as co- organizers. Get together and talk about these basics:How to recruit the rest of the neighborhood; and how many families are necessary to make the sale a big success (8 or 9).
Put together a simple flier. Suggest Saturday or weekend dates - no sooner than four weeks away. Include a paragraph describing each household's participation. Summarize relevant neighborhood regulations. Set the date (about a week away) for the first and only neighborhood meeting on the sale. Develop an agenda based on our next paragraph, and place it on the reverse side of your flier. Give names and telephone numbers of the three co-organizers, with suggested hours to call. Distribute the fliers, in person, to each house in the neighborhood.
Have the meeting to decide: Dates and times; is the sale a weekend affair or just a day? Will signs be posted in each yard, or at the entrance to the subdivision, at the street corner(s)? Who will make and post those? Will fliers be distributed at nearby shopping centers? Who will take care of that? What about advertising? Will the ad run once or twice? Be ready to share your pre-prepared costs. Volunteer to write and call in the ad unless there's a professional in the group. Then distribute the Ready-Set-Sell list below.This list will help you and your neighbors look more organized. It will also make shopping a lot easier for your customers! Then, as a good-will gesture, suggest a donation site that will pick up unsold items (be sure to check beforehand what they will not pick up). You or another of your co-organizers will handle the arrangements. Finally, be sure you have a commitment from every household at the meeting. One way to do that is to collect for the newspaper ads before they leave!
Before you start sorting your clothes, toys and tools, gather your supplies:Price tags: Make your own, or buy ready-made in most office supply stores. Attach to each item; it's impossible to keep track otherwise.
For Sale: Prepare your sheet to accommodate columns not just for price, but also for value. You'll be expected to negotiate.
Coat hangers for clothes, Small tables for loose items.
Grocery sacks for bagging up what's sold, and some boxes for donation pick-up.
Cooler of bottled water and soft drinks to sell your shoppers.
Lots of change! Or, instead of change, boxes filled with miscellaneous items, one for "Less than $1" and one for "$1 to $5".
Decide who's going to be doing the selling, the negotiating, the packing up, and answering questions.
The next step is to bring the outcome of the meeting to those neighbors who weren't there. If you have what you've determined is an adequate number of families for a successful sale, all you have to do is distribute the decisions fl ier to each household so they'll be aware, and can join if they like. If you're looking for more participation, we suggest the personal touch: you and your co- organizers knocking on every door.
After you've completed the "Ready" list above, you get to do the fun part - plotting! Plan your layout, lining the driveway with your biggest items to draw people in (as things sell, re-arrange items to keep drawing people in). Assign "territories"; where will the person taking the money be? The one answering questions? The one negotiating? Then meet with the rest of your household to agree that anything not sold will be donated. When the big day comes, get set up at least 30 minutes before the start time. Customers will be there! And don't forget to plan how you'll spend the money. Congratulate one another on taking steps to simplify your life!