8 military spouses offer the best advice on pulling off a successful sale.
Are you PCSing soon? (um, yes). Do you have too much stuff? (Looks around innocently.) Do you want to make a little extra money to get rid of it? (Of course!) Hosting a garage sale, yard sale or please-take-all-this-stuff-because-I-don’t-want-to-bring-it-with-me-when-I-PCS sale is a challenge. So, we asked our military spouse expert Facebook fans around the world to share their personal advice on how to pull it off.
1) NAME YOUR PRICE (BUT BE FLEXIBLE)
JessicaCooper PAANG, Selinsgrove, Pa.
“Organize items like you would see at a store. Make sure everything is clean and price every single item. If you are not willing to budge on a price, make sure you write firm on the price tag. Advertise too!”
LenaHall Army National Guard, Hillsboro, Kan.
“Be willing to flex on prices! It may not be exactly what you wanted for it. BUT it’s GONE, you made some cash from it, and someone else will get more use out of it.”
DebiKruegerHart Army, Landstuhl, Germany
“When you have someone who looks like they ‘need’ your baby clothes, give them a great deal. It will come back to you. Also, I arrange for the charity truck to come pick up the day after the sale. That way, I am not tempted to put it back or move it again.”
StephanieReid Fort Campbell, Ky.
“Leave room to bargain. Remember: You can always lower the price, but you can’t raise it.”
2) PRESENTATION MATTERS (AND SO DOES ADVERTISING)
SabrinaRubinMorley Army, Fort Bragg, N.C.
“Clean everything. Have it well- organized and every small item up on a table. Hang and fold clothes (be prepared to re-do this on a continual basis during the sale). We make a price list for bigger items, so people interested have to ask us. That usually gets the ball rolling on negotiations.
For bigger items, we usually have two prices in mind. The one we want for an item (reasonable, of course) and we discuss beforehand the lowest we are willing to go. Lots of bright signs that are legible with arrows. Our older kids stand at the corner waving signs the day of-this attracts passers-by. Also, post on Craigslist and local yard sale Facebook pages with pictures.”
JessicaWhite Navy, NSB Kings Bay, Ga.
“Put up signs that people can see. DO NOT tape them to poles, unless you use cardboard. If a pole isn’t available, tape to the bottom of a box and set the box out with something heavy enough to keep it from blowing away. When you write on the signs, make the letters BOLD. I can’t say how many times I’ve passed a yard sale sign and you can’t read it.
Also, if you can, wait to have a yard sale until you have a lot of stuff. I’ve passed several small yard sales where we couldn’t tell if it was trash at the curb or an actual yard sale. My husband used to do garage sales every weekend, so we’re pretty experienced. Put clothes on a table or if you’re lucky enough to find a clothes rack, use one of those. Do not put clothes on the ground.
Also keeping clothes in boxes is not a good idea, because they’re frustrating to dig through. Especially when it comes to baby/kids clothes and you’re looking for a certain size and they’ve gotten all mixed up from everyone digging through the boxes.”
3) COLLABORATE WITH OTHERS (AND CATER TO YOUR CUSTOMERS!)
Cathy Hansen Army, New Orleans, La.
“If you live on post, participate in the post-wide sale dates. Have friends who live off-post come share your yard with you. Houses with more things out usually have more people stopping to look! If you live off-post, make sure you check for local permits and licenses-a ticket from the police will wipe out anything you make. Organize your items and price everything. Buy a portable hanging rod for your clothes that need to be on hangers-you will use it over and over again for many years!”
SayaMurakami-Carroll Air Force, Little Rock AFB, Ark.
“Have seasonal refreshments to eat/drink on the side. Have a small bake sale and lemonade
stand for summer and chocolate and more baked goods for winter. It brings more people around and is extra cash. Also, if possible accept payment plans between trusted people for high-ticket items, and getting the Paypal swipe for your smartphone will get even more sales since not everyone carries cash.”
This article was originally published in our April print issue of Military Spouse Magazine. For information on how to subscribe, click here!