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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

After years of rifling through other folks' junk in hopes of scoring the deal of a lifetime, it was my turn to contribute to the secondhand cycle. This past Saturday, I found myself on the other side of the yard sale process for the first time. As a dedicated worshipper in the Church of Secondhand Shopping, I figured it would be a breeze to put on my own yard sale. I had a good handle on how much a person would pay for used stuff; I'd had experience in the secondhand bargaining ritual. I was a yard sale veteran.

I was so nave.

Which is why five minutes past supposed yard sale time Saturday morning, I found myself standing at a nearby intersection, one foot pressed on a mountain of signs to keep them from flying off into the street, cursing at the tape that preferred to wrap itself around my hand rather than the poster I was attempted to adhere to the traffic light pole. Meanwhile, strangers shouted at me from their rolled-down car windows, "Hey, are you the ones who advertised the big moving sale? Where the heck is it?"

As I rapidly learned, being on the selling end of yard-saling has its fair share of challenges and pitfalls, no matter how many yard sales you've frequented in the past. Here's what I got out of the experience, besides a fat wad of cash. A few words of advice for anyone contemplating having a yard sale of their own

don't go solo
Friends don't let friends yard sale alone. Seriously, if you're thinking you're going to run your sale all by your lonesome, think again. Yard sales are a grotesque amount of work, and the more people you have involved in the event the easier it'll be on your sanity. We ended up pooling together with some friends who had gotten married last fall and had a heap of household goods from their pre-wedding-registry life to purge, and another friend who was clearing out her storage unit to avoid shipping her stuff out to her new digs in Portland. Five people, one great big yard sale. Sure, any single one of us probably had enough stuff to warrant a decent sale, but with all our goods combined, it was a sale that had folks raving about its fabulousness. So corral some of your friends into joining your sale -- not only will you have a better range and quantity of offerings, you'll find that the entire process goes down a whole lot smoother. On top of which, it's just a whole lot more fun to be sharing the experience with your buds -- suddenly something that could be a real chore starts to feel like a party.

good timing
Saturdays are the indisputable king of yard sale days. You might think having your sale on a Sunday would be a good idea because it gives you more free time to adequately prep; this may be true, but the fact of the matter is that most folks prefer to save their Sunday mornings for lazier activities than schlepping all over town for potential secondhand treasure. As for what Saturday to pick, the only ones you'll want to avoid are the ones that center around holiday long weekends.

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