Coach Mom Newsletter - MAR 2010
Selling & Shopping
One day when running a
neighborhood yard sale with my neighbors
in Phoenix, a woman walked up and rushed toward a
woven basket, then asked me how much it
was. She handed me two quarters, turned
the basket upside down and put it on her
head, then shopped for twenty more
minutes. We managed to contain ourselves
for a time, then fell on the ground
rolling in laughter after she got into
her car and drove away sporting her new
Spring time often begets
Spring cleaning which often begets yard
sales. If you would like to make a few bucks
off of your extra stuff by having a yard
sale, I have a few suggestions for you. And
if you are shopping yard sales, I have a few
ideas for you, too.
Top 7 tips for
having a yard sale:
(People often put so much effort into
preparing for a sale that signage
becomes an afterthought. You must not
underestimate the power of getting
people there. Don’t forget to post it
for free on Craigslist.org.)
items, especially clothes. Remember,
you want to move
(Lowest price for anything: 25 cents. If
it’s worth less, either bag it with
other small items to reach 25 cent value
or put in a “free” bin. This helps
If lack of
preparation time might discourage you
from having a sale,
only price the
Put other items, such as clothes, small
toys, etc. in bins or on tables with
signs that say something like “all
t-shirts 50 cents” or “baggies of small
toys 75 cents.” When people ask you how
much the unmarked items are, tell them
to make you an offer. They will have to
think if/what they are willing to pay.
If it is of
use to them, their offer is often more
than what you (a “don’t want-er”) would
have marked it.
Keep the money bag
attached to you,
in something like a fanny pack or small
purse. (People can’t carry it off, and
you’ll always have change ready when you
Run the sale with
a spouse or friend
when possible, to help each other and
take breaks (Plus, it’s more fun!)
Have a plan for
on the day of sale. The morning will
come fast and furious.
Before closing up
shop, end your day allowing people to
buy things to
load up bags for
You’ve blessed some people and you have
less to carry to the donation center.
Top 7 tips for
shopping a yard sale:
Be there early,
with cash in hand – plenty of ones,
fives, and quarters (preferably in a
small purse that is easy to carry with
you as you go in and out of sales.).
As you walk up,
scan items. Zero in on
your most desired
If you see
something you want,
pick it up.
If it is too large to carry, tell the
seller you want it and set it aside.
It’s totally acceptable to ask the
sellers what their lowest price would
Beware of clutter.
Don’t buy things for your home just
because they are a good deal. An item
might even be “free”, but it
cost you time and space.
If bringing small
be prepared with
plenty for them to eat and drink.
If you go with a spouse or friend, you
can take turns scoping out sales before
getting everyone out of their carseats.
Make sure the
trunk is empty
in case you find a deal on something
back to top
Seeing Furniture in
a New Way
As you clean out your
home, it’s often a struggle to decide what
to do with a piece of furniture or item you
are not currently using, but you are having
a hard time parting with. Consider a
different use for it.
Take a step back from it
and pretend you are seeing it for the first
time at a sale, marked at a giveaway price.
Ask yourself, “How could I use this piece in
my house?” If that doesn’t get the ideas
flowing, ask a creative friend to take a
look at it and help you with some
Could you paint it?
Could you use it in a
- Turn a door sideways
and use it as a headboard
- Take the picture out
of a frame and use the frame to outline
a small wreath or cross.
- Use an old dresser
in a closet to organize gift-wrapping
- Use a wagon on the
front porch to hold seasonal decorations
such as pumpkins or a small Christmas
back to top
Ask Coach Mom
I know you suggest
negotiating with sellers at yard sales when
shopping, but it makes me nervous. I don’t
want to offend people by asking them to
accept less for an item, but I would like to
take advantage of some great deals. The
whole process just stresses me out.
Yard sales can be a
blast. You never know what treasure you
might find at your next stop.
If you would be
interested in an item if it were a lower
price, it is OK to ask, “What is the lowest
you would take for this item?’ Or make an
offer. Sometimes people have marked things a
fair price, but it is not a price that you
would pay because your need isn’t great
enough. It never hurts to say, “I know this
is a nice item. I don’t need it enough to
pay the marked price, but I am willing to
pay [$x] for it if you are interested.” If
they want to just get it out of their house,
they might accept your offer.
Being up-front with
people is much better than what I’ve seen
some do -- nit-pick the item to get the
seller to lower the price, when in
actuality, it was already marked a fair
price for its condition.
Most people I’ve met at
yard sales through the years have been
friendly people. You might even make a new
friend in the transaction.
back to top
Brenna's Yard Sale Treasures
$65 for furniture piece, $3 for stool
(cleaned cobwebs and dirt off and
reupholstered it with on-hand fabric piece),
$3 for small tiffany lamp, 50 cents
for small Brighton
clock, $1 for silver cup filled with white
Paid $10 for old front door. Mounted
sideways on wooden legs (see the peep hole?)
and attached to king size bed frame.
25 cents for old framed photos. Threw the
photos away cleaned the frames, and hung
small wreaths (bought for 25 cents each on
clearance at Michael’s) with ribbon that I
had on-hand. Total cost for grouping: $1
$10 for old antique door and 50 cents for
the flower holder. Cleaned it, painted a
chalkboard on the lower center part, and
decorated it with flea market finds wreath
back to top