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Planning a Church Yard Sale

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I need help planning a yard sale at my church. I have never planned a yard sale before and I like things to be well organized. I'd like to know if I should lump items together on different tables and price each table at "Everything on this table $1" and "This Table Everything 50 cents", etc.? How do you go about pricing things?

How can our yard sale succeed? Any other hints and/or things I should know? How do I get the other ladies in the church to let things go cheaply enough so we sell everything and don't have a bunch of things left to get rid of? What about selling bottles of water? It will be warm outside. Any special idea's? We will be setting up on our front lawn, weather permitting or inside our social hall if not. Thanks for the help! It's coming up real soon.

By sissi222 from Livonia, MI

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By Baked Goods10/02/2013

Not much I can add to the great suggestions already given other than to remind you to be sure you prices are set so you can recoup your ingredient costs.

While it might not apply to a church bake sale, other costs you might consider include:
- energy (oven, mixer, etc), labor (your time in making the item),
- consumables (plastic wrap, parchment paper, aluminum foil, etc),
- packaging (plastic bags, cardboard containers, etc),
- display accessories (paper plates, plastic forks, tablecloth, etc),
- transportation (what it cost to obtain everything and get it to where it needs to be) and last but not least,
- the cost of the selling space itself (if you have to pay for it).

This might seem overwhelming, but break it down and it's easier.

Remember that the magic of math works whether or not we like numbers.

Math will happily multiply profit, or compound loss, with every piece you sell, so it's worthwhile to make sure math is on your side before you get started.

One tool that helps get math back on your side (i.e., the profitable side) is a recipe cost calculator.

Recipe cost calculators easily handle the complex math and measurement conversions you run into when trying to assess the cost of a recipe.

An example of an online recipe cost-to-bake calculator can be found at http://www.pricingbakedgoods.com

By Lee Taylor [10]05/15/2011

Arrange your items in groups, like a store. Put all books together, kitchen items together, sports equipment together, etc......and price your things with enough room to haggle and still make enough money. Keep things looking tidy and organized throughout the day will help sales too. No one wants to scrounge through a mess. Hang the clothes on a clothesline if possible. Have boxes and bags available for people to carry their purchases to their car. And put up lots and lots of signs a few days before.

Good luck!

By glimmer62 [4]05/14/2011

You have 2 fantastic answers already! Think of it, like planning a party. You have to let people know with Big Signs and Advertising. Having food, drinks even coffee and bake sale items make people comfy. Seats for people who are tired & need a little break Play some music in the background
Have a blast!

By Suntydt [75]05/12/2011

I didn't read the first response so I will just high light a few of my initial thoughts to your question. I go to LOTS of yard sales. From when the season starts to when the season ends. Here are some pointers.

1 - price for your items based on what you think they are worth and then take the price down about 40 percent. People go to yard sales for buying stuff cheap not for what it is worth.

2 - Make sure every item is priced not just on a table with a certain price on the table like you mentioned. It doesn't take but a few smooth people to pix items up on the tables and SAY they found an item on a such and such table. And a few others will say they found an item on a table and they may actually have. Someone picks something up and find something else on another table they would rather have and then put the first item back down on the wrong table. Now if you are going to say all stuffed toys are a dollar there won't be any confusion with that. Just make a list for someone to look at to know this info. This way if you have a volunteer not familiar with everything and where these things are there is no confusion. You can initially pile things up in similar price piles and designate different people to price them. But when you put them out you really should keep similar items together.

3 - a MAJOR key to a successful yard sale is your signage. Make signs that are clear to read. Have the address on them if they are place far away at major intersections and have a clearly visible arrow pointing the way. And if you have a certain time you are putting stuff away put window of time on your sign.

I have noticed over the years as people started using bright color posterboard that I notice the paper way before I can read the sign. And nowadays I expect a bright sign to be for a yard sale. I have also noticed that people don't give these signs enough support as well. As the day gets hot and the wind blows the sign usually folds in half and can't be read. Tape it to some cardboard to give it some structural integrity. They will also be easier to hang and pull down later (intact) for future use.

4 - be willing to haggle and be generous at doing it. If someone walks up with three items for $6 tell them you appreciate their multiple purchase and you will give a dollar off. "Have a nice day." Other people will hear this and start looking around for more to buy (I know I do).

5 - if you are going to have the sale at a church see if you can't get some ladies to donate baked goods. See if the church will buy some sodas and water in bottles tax free (and some ice). And sell drinks and baked goods. I was at a church once that had the sale in their communion hall and they sold hot dogs and chips as well. And from the way people were buying things up I think they did pretty good.

6 - if you do have the sale in a hall make sure you put some bigger items and maybe some little flags or streamers outside so drivers KNOW something it going on. And if you DO sell baked goods put that on your sign as well or make a seperate sign that says "Baked Goods" on the same material as your yard sale sign and tack it underneith your main sign.

7 - make sure you hit the bank on Friday and get about $50 in $1s and $5s. Get a roll of quarters too. Most people got paid on friday and they are carrying $10s and $20s (and the odd one or two will have $100s and think you will have the change).

Have fun and best of luck.

By Vicki [21]05/12/2011

You can have marked priced tables, but it can be confusing to the money takers trying to know "what came from where". (Whatever you do, keep things running smoothly and moving along fast.) If you do it that way, you probably need to still mark each item with a color code (50 cents items are marked with pink, $1 items marked blue). Clothes are frequently sold by set prices ($2 for shirts and blouses, $3 jeans, $2 shoes). Just make signs and place around. The money takers need to be able to add and subtract quickly, be fast and friendly and not easily distracted. Even with calculators or adding machines, some people are not good at taking money, counting change, dealing with a variety of people(and be firm about making sure the money takers are good choices.)

Money should probably be removed now and then, if you are doing well and placed in a safe place or taken to the bank. Money should never be left unattended; if there is only one person at the money table, they should take the money with them if they leave it (even for a few seconds). There should probably be at least 3 people at the money table, one to take items and call out prices, one to bag and one to handle the money. Small and valuable items (and popular items like video games and DVDs) should be kept close to the money table or otherwise watched over to cut down on theft.

Have plenty of change, all the supplies on hand, lots of bags, plenty of people to help straighten, haul furniture, etc. If you price items individually, it helps if each member bringing items does it at home (pre-marking). Food and drinks is a nice addition and can make extra money (bear in mind the heat and choose food and drinks wisely).(I suggest you give away tea or lemonade and or/water and sell cookies, colas, cupcakes, popcorn, mini sandwiches)(psychologically I think people tend to want to eat and drink at the same time and like the idea of a bargain, they got the drink free, now they can splurge and buy the snack).

Liven up your sale: dress up a manikin, put up a Christmas tree and hang sale ornaments on it, add or utilize shade, provide a bit of seating for shoppers (and definitely have enough seating for workers), have a mini raffle (nice TV or old fur coat), have a paid pre-sale (the first two hours of the sale, or for 2 hours the night before, people pay an "early bird entry fee" ($3, 4, 5) to get in early to get at the best goods first, giving you extra income from the pre-sale funds, provide a "try on" area if possible (but don't, however, let people roam freely in the building where damages or thefts might occur), have a "free" box for stuff that probably won't sell anyway.

Advertise your "cause" if you have one, a donation jar might get some extra funds, especially for a church. Once you are set up, go outside and see what it looks like from the "street". If it looks messy and unorganized less people will stop in or buy. Don't waste a lot of time (effort) folding clothes on tables, it discourages neat people from looking (they don't want to mess it up) and in general, it will be a total mess and waste a lot of time, if you continually try to straighten it up. (Hang it, put in nice boxes, put in a kids swimming pool.) Some people are "diggers" (will dig in boxes) and some absolutely will not, so have boxes to dig in but plenty of stuff on tables (just in boxes, you will lose sales.) To get rid of it, you might have a sack sale the last 2 hours (or whatever) of the sale, ($2 a sack, $5 a sack). This will get rid of a lot of stuff in a hurry. Some charities will pick up the remaining goods or you can carry it to them.

Make it fun, and festive, with good items and good prices, if you decide to do it on a yearly basis, you will get repeat customers, word of mouth free advertising, and have great sales.

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