Winter Yard Sales

Well, the leaves have changed colors and in many areas, the first snowfalls have happened. Yard sale season is over for another year. But has it really? Just because it is the Frigid Season, doesn’t mean you suddenly stop needing to get rid of your stuff or want to make a little extra money. The winter months can be excellent for selling off old stuff and getting a pretty sizeable crowd to attend. So, here are some ideas and reasons to convince you that Yard Sale Season is never really over!

In June and July in any given town or community, there are hundreds of Yard Sales listed in the paper. But during the Fall and Winter a couple of dozen would be considered a large number. Therefore, you have less competition for shoppers in the chilly season. And. those that are regular Yard Sales attendees will be grateful that their entertainment did not shut down ‘til next year!

Dealers and Resellers consider the winter months as their off season and will spend time selling on line and not shopping as much as they do in the summer. If you have a Winter Sale, they will all attend as they make their living buying and selling. Because they have many choices in the summer, they may miss yours. In the winter, there are less choices and they will definitely show up and be willing to spend more.

The number one reason for a Yard Sale is to make money on stuff you would otherwise throw away. Extra money can be earned for the holidays by having a Fall Yard Sale. A few hundred dollars would definitely put a dent in the holiday bills. There also are many holiday shoppers who would attend. People like sales whether it is at the store or at a Yard Sale. People look for deals  for gifts and crafts and decorations.This is also an excellent time to try to sell some of your old Christmas decorations. No one is in the mood for Christmas in July, so a Fall sale is perfect timing. You can charge a bit more since they are high demand items.

Another reason to have a Winter Sale is that you will need more room for the new gifts from the holiday celebrations. Sweaters, dresses, shoes, old electronics all need to go to the Yard Sale table because they will all be replaced with the new gifts coming in!

Life doesn’t stop because it is winter. Sometimes an event comes along that forces you to get rid of your unused possessions. Death, divorce, child leaves home or downsizing all happen every month of the year. Just because it is winter, you will still need to clean out a house for resale, move your life on down the road and make that extra room into the dreamed about man cave.

So, now you have the reason for a Winter Yard Sale, here are some hints and ideas to make it a success and not only get rid of unwanted stuff, but also make some decent money.

First thing is to make sure you have enough stuff for a Yard Sale. People have bundled up and trudged through snow, ice and sleet to come to the sale. Make sure you have checked from the attic to the basement and garage to have more than just a single table with 12 items. If you are lacking in items, ask your friends to join the fun and make some money!  The more stuff you have, the better the chance of selling lots of things. The more choices the shopper has the more they will buy.  

Then, check out the weather forecast. In most parts of the country, even a terrible winter will offer a respite with a few sunny days and moderate temperatures. Getting items to and from the car will be a lot easier if there’s no snow or rain. Be sure that you pick the right weekend.Plan ahead just in case, and be ready for surprises by keeping tarps on hand and having indoor spaces for your items.

Next, make sure that you advertise. Buy an ad in your local shopper newspaper. Place an ad on your local Facebook Swip Swap. Post on all of your social media and ask people to share the information. Craigslist is a must. Detailed descriptions like brands, dimensions and conditions are great because people search Craigslist for specific items like a “sewing machine” instead of “household stuff.” Include prices and pictures of as many items as allowed. If you have any vintage or rare items, give those extra space in your ad. Post your Craigslist sale on Friday and again Saturday morning so it’s near the top. Keep your ad as short and concise as possible. If it is before Christmas and you have holiday items, make sure you add that in your items list. List interesting items with descriptions that will catch the eye of shoppers and dealers.

Just like in the summer months, keep your prices within reason. Try to remember that these shoppers have come to your sale in the cold and possibly inclimate weather. They are looking for deals and not 5 % off the original price of the item. If you have a tough time putting a price on an item, perhaps it isn’t time to get rid of it. Just set realistic prices.

You can set your sale up in the yard if the weather will cooperate. If your driveway is clear and dry, set tables on either side and a couple of ladders with a pole between to hang clothes in the center. Large items like hutches or recliners should be placed at the end of the drive so that it is easy to load in someone’s truck. If you have a garage, set up inside the night before and throw open the doors on Yard Sale day.

Sometimes, conditions will allow you to set up a Winter Sale inside the home. Not only will you and your shoppers be more comfortable, but you’ll be able to charge a bit more for your items, since the perceived value of something is higher if it’s indoors. If your home is laid out with a couple of rooms in the front of the house that you can close off to the rest of the home, this could work while you live in the house. Clear out some space. Remove furniture, TVs and anything else not included in the sale. You don’t want anything that’s NOT for sale to be in the sale area. Buyers get confused about what is for sale and what isn’t. And, you don’t want to spend your time repeating “That’s not for sale.” Visually mark off the sale area. If the upstairs is off limits, then tie a rope across or leave a chair at the bottom of the stairs with a “closed” sign taped to it. A closed door will not stop everyone from opening it. Tape signs to closed doors so there is no doubt that the sale does not include that room. Ideally, setting a Yard Sale inside the house works when you are completely moving out. Each room can be set up with room specific items: bedrooms filled with items like comforters, bed side tables and clothing; kitchens filled with kitchen items and baby’s room with baby stuff. Set floor liners along a path so that you can save any carpets from snow and slush.

Because it is a Winter Sale...Celebrate and have fun! Offer hot cocoa. Make your yard sale guests feel warm and welcome. Make sure the yard and walkways are clear of snow and leaves. You don’t want anyone to fall or slip and people do not want to have to crawl over snow piles. Portable heaters will definitely help the sale and keep you warm for this all day event. People will stay longer if they can feel a blast of heat and linger.

Winter Yard Sales can be a major event for the many who enjoy sales of all kinds. And having one in the winter makes it all the more special. Perhaps this is the type of sale that becomes an annual event for the entire family! But mostly just have fun! People shopping garage sales usually are at a leisurely pace. Talk with them and make them feel at home roaming through your yard, garage or house. Sales happen when you talk to people!

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