With spring approaching, it’s the perfect time to purge those closets, clear clutter, and organize your home. We have a fun twist for you: instead of thinking of this as a time-consuming chore, why not make it a party instead? Gather together some friends and neighbors to host a joint sidewalk sale, potluck style. You’ll take turns working the sale and the register, giving you all a chance to catch up and hang out. Everything’s more fun with friends!
Your party plan
Start by selecting a weekend far in advance, so everyone has time to gather their goods together. Nail down the administrative details so you can have fun the day of the sale. Consider the following things —and make sure to ask guests to help pitch in!
Publicize your party: Put ads in flyers, local papers, supermarkets and schools. Send an email blast to local friends, too, and make sure to post the details on Facebook neighborhood pages.
Point the way: Hang up posters at turns leading to your house from the nearest main road. Just make sure they’re easy to read — creating lettering with a large Sharpie should do the trick!
Decide on displays: If you’ll be selling a lot of clothes, consider setting up a coat rack or rolling garment rack. Coordinate with your friends to borrow and share folding tables and shelves to display your wares.
Make space: You can set up your sale on your driveway (ask neighbors if you and your guests can park at their place), or use your garage — if you do a good enough job of purging before the sale, it’ll be empty and organized!
Tip: Make a quick call to your town hall to see if you need permits for the sale.
Pricing plan: Decide if you’ll label your goods the day of the sale or in advance. Set guidelines so everyone prices items equitably (e.g.: all CDs $1). Want an easy trick to sell small odds and ends or toys? Use zippered plastic bags to contain, label and price them. Also decide what to do with leftover items. One big Goodwill run can keep it easy.
Money matters: Pick up small bills and change and use covered metal tins to organize funds. To avoid misunderstandings the weekend of the party, agree in advance how you’ll divvy up proceeds. Need some options? You can split your profits evenly to make it easy or have cashiers keep tabs as they ring up purchases. (Guests can put a colored dot or initials on their price tags).
A great party karma option? Make your sale a fundraiser and donate all proceeds to the charity of your choice.
On the menu?
You don’t have to get elaborate here. Set up a simple buffet inside — so sidewalk-sale shoppers don’t think it’s for them! One option is to have everyone bring a covered dish. Want a fun and festive option? Put out dishes garage-sale style in a mish-mash of your own pots, baking pans, and small appliances with faux price tags.
You may want to set up a cooler with drinks so guests can help themselves all day. Coffee, beer and wine are optional, but will help keep everyone energized and in a party mood.
Looking for a stress-free way to feed your crew? Use sale proceeds to pay for pizza or subs.
Let the fun begin!
Have your guests arrive well in advance of the sale start time to be ready for early birds. Trust us, they’ll come! You’ll also have time for a quick just-for-fun pre-sale swap among guests. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
Dreading the setup tasks? Make it a relay race to see who can get their goods set up outside the fastest, or who has the most original display. It’s a smart idea to organize and label displays by type (clothes, toys, kitchen gear, books, CDs, etc.) so shoppers know what’s what.
Set big-ticket items by the street to lure drivers. Another great sale booster is a large “Free with Purchase” table. Hint: men often aren’t fans of yard sales, but putting tools, lawn mowers and sports equipment in plain view of the street gives them a reason to stop.
Pipe party music during the sale to create an upbeat mood, and consider adding a bake sale twist too. Happy and well-fed shoppers are more likely to spend!
If you have older kids attending, let them set up and run a kids’ table to sell their used toys. They can also do a lemonade or hot cocoa stand. If there’ll be younger kiddies, consider hiring a “mommy’s helper” to entertain them inside.
Relax, chat, people-watch and enjoy a casual day with friends while knocking one thing off your to-do list. There’s nothing like taking a chore and making it a party!
What’s your best sidewalk sale score?
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