Aug. 3, 2008 -- With more families tightening their belts this summer, many are looking for creative ways to turn their odds and ends into groceries and gas. But is there a secret to turning your cast-offs into cash? Trish Suhr, yard sale expert, from Style Network's "Clean House," reveals her secrets to hosting the perfect yard sale.
Advertise, Advertise, Advertise
Skip homemade signs and go viral. Consider placing a small ad in a community newspaper and listing your sale on Web sites such as Craigslist.org or Yardsalesearch.com. You'll reach more people that way and the competition is less fierce. Also, on the morning of the sale, make a balloon trail leading from the entrance of the neighborhood to your house.
Consider a Theme
Make your yard sale fun! Consider a theme: Do you have tons of old Christmas decorations and ornaments and lots of fun gift items? What about a Christmas in July sale?
Get Friends to Help
It makes a huge difference having friends there to help, if only to thwart people with sticky fingers. Plus, you can't be everywhere at the same time. Getting a group of neighbors or friends to have a yard sale on the same day is fun and makes the crowds much bigger when there are multihome yard sales. Your block can turn into a giant flea market.
Set Up Your Sale Like a Department Store
Placing like items with like items will help you sell twice as much as you normally would. Also, remember to place your best stuff -- meaning anything that's in great condition -- on the front part of the lawn so people can see those items when they drive by. If you have a garage, use it for the sale. Consider a tent or a tarp to keep sun off shoppers. If you don't have a tent or a tarp, utilize areas with shade. People don't like to shop when they are hot.
Price High, But Be Willing to Negotiate Down
If you want something to go for $10, price it at $25 and let them have it for $10. And be sure to price an item at what you genuinely think it is worth. People are at yard sales for bargains, so keep that in mind when pricing. Don't overprice. Only you know the actual condition of an item. Be honest with people. They know where you live. They're out on your front yard, for crying out loud! And slash prices early on in the sale, so customers feel like they are getting a real steal.
Station the cashier at the very back of the yard sale.
Ninety percent of the time, people stop and buy something else on top of what they already have in their hands.
Have an Extension Cord on Hand
Electric items, such as games and small appliances, are big sellers, but inevitably someone will ask if the item works. Have an extension cord handy to demonstrate that what you are selling is operable. If it doesn't work, be up front about that, and price accordingly.
Sell Items by the Bag
If you have massive amounts of children's toys, books or beauty products, a quick and easy way of being rid of them is to sell them by the bag. Have a box of clear, plastic sandwich bags right on the table, make a sign that reads FILL UP A BAG OF TOYS, YOUR CHOICE $4. Watch the neighborhood kids come in droves and spend their allowance!
Keep Customers Happy by Offering Something for Free
People love getting things for free. On super-hot days, hand out lemonade juice boxes and bottled water. Or offer a free gift with purchase.
Arrange for a Charity Truck to Pick up Leftovers
The last thing you want to do is to drag your dregs back into your house. Not only will you make money at the yard sale, you will get a tax write-off.
The new season of "Clean House" premieres Wednesday, Aug. 8, at 10 p.m., on Style Network.