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07.26.2004

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this saturday only! how to have a yard sale by Yee-Fan Sun | 1 2 3 4
continued from page 1

Most yard sales start between 7 and 9 in the morning. Bear in mind that you'll need to get up at least a couple of hours in advance in order to prep the sale, so if there's absolutely no way in hell your night owl self can be roused out of bed before 7 am, time your sale for 9. It's better to start earlier if you can, though; start too late and you'll likely find that potential yard salers decide to skip your event because by the time yours is about to start, they're already saled-out from having visited all the competition.

advertising rules
Once you've decided on when you'll be having your yard sale, place an ad with your local paper -- running the ad a day before and on the day itself should do it. If your sale is a moving sale, definitely say so -- veteran yard-salers like myself specifically seek out these sales, as the chances of finding something a person might actually want is significantly higher than at your run-of-the-mill, clean-out-the-dregs-of-the-garage event. Make certain to specify the day and time of your sale, and mention the key highlights of what you'll be offering. Big items like sofas, beds, dining tables and bookcases are good to advertise, and if any of your stuff can at all be classified as antique or vintage, you'll make your goods attractive to hipster bargain hunters by mentioning so.

One thing you might want to consider is avoiding listing your specific address in your ad. My boy once made the mistake of doing so, only to find himself rudely awaken at 5 in the morning by rabid secondhand dealers intent on getting to the goods before anyone else. No amount of ignoring in the world could dissuade the dealers from banging, and the boy was eventually forced to get up and answer the door. Don't let this be you: mention the nearest major cross streets for your location, and tell folks to look for signs once they get to that intersection. This way, no one can actually find you until you decide to put out those signs.

all the right signs
Speaking of signs, make these ahead of time and do a nice job on them. The night before our big yard sale, I endured much teasing by the boy and my friends for laboring so long over my signs. Unnecessary ugliness pains me; signs are made to be looked at, and so I figured they should look good. Besides, I had wanted to use materials that I already had lying around the house, which ended up mostly being big pieces of cardboard. I didn't like the look of plain old letters scribbled directly on the brown board, so I dug up a big bag of color paper scraps, remnants from craft projects past, and wrote each word on the colored paper. I then snipped out the words, cut some big arrows, and stapled them to the cardboard. The resulting signs were funky but very easy to read. And at the yard sale the next day, I felt vindicated when several people mentioned that they'd been heading to other yard sales until they saw one of my signs, and decided that our sale looked way more interesting.

Even if you're not artistically inclined, at the very least, be sure to make your signs neat and readable. Remember, most people will be glimpsing them from their moving vehicles, so it's imperative that the information be easy to process. Letters should be at least 5" high to be legible, and printed good and bold; arrows should have large heads so folks can easily see which direction they're pointing from a distance. Invest in some nice, fat, permanent markers (you'll need quite a few), and use sturdy cardboard or similar-weight material rather than flimsy poster board (it stands up better to wind and is easier to attach to poles).

keep on skedaddling

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