Monday, August 30, 2010

$821 closer + yard sale tips

we had our third {well, technically second, since one got rained out} and FINAL adoption fundraiser yard sale this weekend, and we are now $821 closer to our sweet ethiopian joy!! this time we hosted the yard sale at our house and we had a pretty steady stream of traffic. since we've been holding on to an entire room and 2 garages full of stuff, we were ready to get rid of as much as possible so we priced things to sell, and most of them did!

the boys had their first overnight visit with their mom on friday, so it gave ryan and i the ability to set up without too many distractions, and that was nice. we still ended up working until about 2:00 a.m. on saturday morning setting up tables and then were back up by 4:30 a.m. to finish everything up. despite having only about 2.5 hours of sleep, everything went great and we were really pleased with the turn out and the sales! we also got to meet a lot of neat people and got to talk a lot about adoption, which is one of my favorite things to do :)

here are some shots of the chaos early saturday morning:

*we had A TON of clothes which took forever to organize but was well worth it!
*aren't my signs beautiful?? haha. i started those about 1:30 a.m. and was too tired to even try to make them look pretty :)

as the sale was winding down, ryan and i decided that this was probably it for us and yard sales for awhile!! they are a lot of work but we are so thankful for the funds we have raised for adoption by doing them. through yard sales and craigslist sales, we are estimating that we raised about $2200 for our adoption! wahooo!! our leftovers were passed along to another great family raising money to bring home their 2 boys from ethiopia. if you are in the area, they are having another yard sale next weekend so let me know if you want to check it out!

so, as a wrap up of our yard sale season, i thought i'd post my thoughts/recommendations in case you are planning a yard sale as a fundraiser. here's what i've gleaned from my experiences over the last few months:

*try to hold your yard sale during neighborhood wide sales if possible. if not, talk with your neighbors about having a sale the same day as you. get a few houses to chip in a couple of bucks and put an ad in the paper. this will help bring in extra traffic and is a win-win for everyone! believe me, i'm sure your neighbors, like everyone, have stuff to get rid of. this can also be a chance to meet neighbors that you don't know really well!

*advertise on craiglist. put an ad around mid-week for your sale on craigslist and make sure to mention that it is a fundraiser for your adoption. i cannot tell you how many people told us that they only stopped by because they saw that it was for our adoption :) also, craigslist is free and is a must read for most avid yard salers. try not to wait until friday night to advertise your sale though because a lot of yard salers plan their saturday routes ahead of time.

*offer breakfast, snacks and drinks for sale. we made individually wrapped cookies and brownies, and then offered soft drinks for sale as well. people gladly chipped in an extra $0.75 for our cold drinks, especially as the day got warmer, and also bought up all our baked goods. between our two sales, we probably made an extra $100 at least just by selling these little extras! i've also heard of a lot of families having good luck with grilling hot dogs and selling chips, but we didn't have much luck with that {probably due to lack of effort though!}

*check the weather forecast, and if you feel comfortable doing so in your neighborhood, try to set up as much as possible the night before. we live in a court off the main road so we didn't have any problems with setting up the night before our sale. we went ahead and brought everything out the night before, began organizing and then covered everything up and went to sleep. the more sleep you get, the better!! you will need enough energy to be going, going, going throughout the sale and clean up so get some sleep {we learned this one the hard way!}

*ask friends, family, and strangers for donations of stuff to sell. as i think i've mentioned before, almost all of the things we sold were donated to us for our sale. last september we had a yard sale and sold pretty much everything we needed to get rid of, but that was before we were anticipating paying for an international adoption. so, in order to get items to sell, we asked our church family, friends and relatives if they had items they'd like to get rid of. we had so many great people step up and offer some really great stuff to us, and that made a huge difference!! also, once again use craigslist to get other items donated for the sale. i contacted quite a few people through craigslist that were hosting yard sales and asked about picking up their leftover stuff. instead of them having to haul leftover items off to goodwill, i told them what we'd use the items for and picked them up from them directly. as you'll learn with lots of yard sales, items' values are totally dependent upon finding the right purchasers. just because it didn't sell at their yard sale doesn't mean it won't sell at yours!!

*don't be afraid to sell clothes. before having the sales, i really did not want to accept clothes as a donation because i didn't think they'd sell. however, i soon realized that i was so wrong! we probably made the most money off of clothes purchases - especially kids and womens styles. if you price them easily, $1.00/piece or something like that, people are more likely to happily dig through piles of clothes to find things. i heard that it's best if you can hang the clothes for easy browsing, but we just had way too many and were scared to even try to do that. instead, i tried to categorize the clothes on tables for easy browsing. i sorted the men and women's clothes by style - tops, bottoms, dresses, etc. but not by size because that would have been too time consuming. i did however sort the kids clothes by size but not style. this helped me know where to direct people to if they were looking for something specific. as the days went on, i would reduce the price on the clothes or offer to make people a deal if they bought a large quantity of items.

*tell everyone that your sale is a fundraiser for your adoption and not to be afraid to make you a reasonable offer on anything. this not only encourages people to ask you questions about adoption and opens up conversation, but also lets them know that you are willing to work with them on price if what they're asking is fair.

*put up brightly colored, coordinating signs that help people easily find your house. if you can, have all your signs match in color, shape, sizes, etc. so they don't get confused and end up at another sale. this should also help you bring in traffic from people who just happen to be driving by or that live in the neighborhood.

i think that's it for now! if i think of any others, i'll add them later, and please feel free to comment with any suggestions you might have as well :)