Saturday, August 7, 2010

Yard Sale Rules

My sister Lorinda, her friend Jen, and I had a yard sale today. It was held at Jen's house...about a 20 minute drive from my house. I had taken my items over last night and intended to get there early this morning to set them up.

However, getting 4 boys awake, dressed, fed, and out the door before 7 a.m. is quite a feat. We were running late. And, the yard salers were arriving before us.

But, that was OK because Lorinda & Jen were there and had at least pulled my boxes of stuff out where people could see them.

An early bird yard saler who was there before the sale was officially started pulled out one of my items I had priced at $10. This was originally an $80-100 item which I used once. Pretty much brand spankin' new.

She asked if she could give $3. So, as I'm driving to the sale with four sleepy boys in the van, I got a call from my sister asking if I would accept this woman's offer.

Um. NO! For one, the yard sale is just beginning. For two, negotiating is one thing. Lowballing someone is another. The woman continued to stand there and pretty much argue with my sister. She finally left (with my sister's cell phone number in hand) and said she'd call back later to see if it was still there.

When she called, it was gone. Sold for the (reasonable) asking price of $10. Lorinda said the lady sounded very disappointed and said, 'Oh, I was going to come back. That was a really good deal.'


So, here are my rules of yard saling. These are the ones I keep in mind when I'm out as a shopper and I think others should too....

1. If it's a yard sale for a charitable event and they are raising money for a cause...negotiating is tacky. Just pay what they are asking.

2. Never try to negotiate with someone within the first hour of a yard sale. Negotiating is much more effective and welcome as the day goes on.

3. Don't lowball someone. Asking to pay less than half of what they priced an item is insulting I think.

4. If it's an item less than $1, just pay what they ask. What is the point of asking if they'll take 25 cents for a 50 cent item? The only exception to this might be if you are buying several small items.

5. If there is a child with a lemonade/ cookie stand, always buy something from them!

There you have it. Maybe not everyone agrees with my yard sale etiquette, but I like these rules and I'm sticking with them!


  1. I love these!
    We just had a yard sale today!
    A man wanted my lawnmower for $50 and I had it for $75.
    He said if it doesn't sell, call me (he left his number). I thought this was great because I was happy to know I had a buyer for it, but I kept trying to sell it for more.
    I sold it for $60 at the end of the day, but I thought it was smart of the man to leave me his number.
    And my girlfriend I had the sale with sold A LOT of stuff that she had bought at yard sales for a fraction of what she paid for them.
    She always pays the asking price, which left her with a lot of over-priced yard sale stuff that she had to sell dirt cheap.
    I do well with clothes.
    Instead of giving them to good will, I try to sell them first.
    I sell by the item (like a dollar an item) or sell a bunch for a flat rate.
    Then the rest I give to good will.
    But I am thinking you might not have a lot of clothes left over from your boys, because you can just keep handing them down.
    I wish you and I could go yardsaling together!
    And maybe have jelly donuts and tell each other we are so starting on a diet on Monday!
    Oh, the fun we would have....
    Come and check out my August giveaway with low entries!

  2. I would say your rules are right on. :)

  3. I LOVE Garage sales and your rules! I will say that it DRIVES ME UP THE WALL when people have things WAY over priced, I think people forget that it is a GARAGE SALE, the other day a women wanted $400 for a 15 year old couch with a hideous floral print!! :)


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