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Your Place: Be Organized, Careful for Successful Yard Sale

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By Alan J. Heavens

yard_sale(MCT)—With the coming of spring, thoughts turn to yard sales — those events in which one set of Americans buys the stuff another set no longer wants for more or less than the retail price.

Other than some buying tips — make sure you have enough room to store your new acquisitions, and confirm that your spouse is on board with it — I have nothing to say about hosting.

So I’ll defer to the folks at First Alert, who appear to know how to do this correctly.

Time it right. Many neighborhoods schedule an annual date for all homes and neighbors to participate and will promote the date on your behalf. Some say a weekend around the first or fifteenth of the month is most profitable, but if you’re competing with the town fair, live entertainment will trump your toddler’s toys.

Stage for a sale. Plan the layout of your merchandise with the customers in mind and think about how you like to shop. Staging similar items together, like children’s toys on a small table or electronic items near an outlet for testing, will help bargain hunters home in quickly on items they want.

Organize for safe shopping. As rummage shopping trips are often family outings, make sure outdoor and garage items are secured out of children’s reach and cords are tied up to reduce tripping hazards.

Be inviting but cautious. Greeting guests as they arrive offers a chance to quickly evaluate whom you’re letting near your home and valuables. Be available for any questions they might have about the merchandise, and allow customers to test or examine goods before purchasing to assess their quality. Always monitor shoppers and keep an eye on higher-priced items, especially when they’re placed near the road.

Monitor your money. With all of the bargaining and movement during a sale, cash can get lost in the shuffle — especially if you are conducting a group sale with neighbors or friends. Theft at garage sales is a common worry, so take precautions by counting and separating your quarters and bills before shoppers arrive. Secure the money in a safe and convenient place.

©2013 The Philadelphia Inquirer
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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