Gone are the days when you simply could hang up a tag sale sign and sell your unneeded, unwanted items. First, most towns and cities now require a permit. Then there are the collectors and dealers who are on the lookout for a good deal and are willing to travel to find it. Some professional tag sale companies charge big bucks to do a tag sale the right way.
What you need to know is that you can do it the right way, too, and you can also turn a profit. However, this means preparation, and preparation means time. Connecticut residents should consider preparing during the winter months, when snow days keep people inside and can provide time for going on the room by room hunt for items that to sell.
Before embarking on a tag sale, visit a few others first. Take notes on what looks best and what doesn’t look so good at these events. It will become readily apparent which tag sales sell more. If you stick around and observe for awhile, you’ll discover which items from which rooms are the fastest selling. Then you’ll know room by room what items should be placed in the center of each of your tables, and which tables just be off to the sides.
Next, get started on your “room by room” decluttering plan, beginning with the kitchen.What knickknacks are on the shelves or the counter that you know you don’t need? How many glass vases, dishes, glasses and teapots do you really need in that bottom cabinet or impossibly high cupboard shelf? Unless it’s a collectible, then use the two-year rule — If it hasn’t been used in two years, get rid of it.
Then wash or clean your items it until they sparkle, and put price tags on them. Pricing varies a lot. Some people suggest pricing items at one-third of their original cost. Some people reduce items more toward the end of a sale.
Setting the stage
Once you’ve tagged your items, wrap them carefully and put them in a large storage box labeled by room. When you decide to have that tag sale whether it’s next summer or next month, you’ll have most of the time consuming work done.
By the time you finish going through the entire house, including all closets, the basement, attic, and garage, you can start thinking about staging. You’ll need some tables or makeshift counters. Each room’s goods should have its own table. Borrow card tables if possible and drape them with plain sheets or solid fabrics. Arrange items with the shorter and smaller items up front and the taller and larger items behind. If you’re selling antique jewelry and/or expensive costume jewelry, you’ll want to position that close to the money table so the money person can keep an eye on it. Since everything should already be labeled with price tags, you’ll want to create an area that looks as though every item is special. If your table looks like a mess, then you won’t get the prices you want.
Make sure you stock up on boxes and clear plastic bags for displaying your items. If you’re selling really large items like sofas, or appliances, you will want to make sure your price tag states clearly, “All Sales Final” or “Absolutely No Returns.” It is a good idea to place this type of sign on all the display tables as well. If you don’t, you just might have someone returning that old cookie jar and wanting his/her money back because it doesn’t look right on their counter. Spread the wordSignage can be made in advance and should be large and simple. Use large black indelible ink pens with the words “Tag Sale.” Then, create an arrow leading to the site and if you want, the address. Advertise in the local papers and on social media. Spread the word any way you can. And get one storage box for every room in your home.
Get help for the sale. Ask a spouse or a trusted friend to handle all the money. Giving that single job to one person makes the frenzy of a successful tag sale easier to handle. That person should start with enough money to offer the proper change. Go with cash only or you might end up with a bad check. It’s also important to have plenty of singles. Price everything for dollar amounts. You don’t want to have a lot of pennies and coins. Plan on at least $150 worth of change. It is important for the money person not to do anything else but take care of the money. Keeping it in a box with a strong clasp is important just in case it gets knocked over. Depending on how large the yard sale is, you may ask another friend or neighbor to help with packaging the items.
Just remember: To get the most out of your tag sale, begin by preparing, and do it room by room.