The idea of making some extra cash is appealing.
Is it as easy at it seems?
When people start to declutter, one of the first ideas that comes to mind is to have a yard sale and make a little extra cash. It makes perfect sense. They don’t need the stuff, someone else will surely want it, and having an extra “jingle in your pocket” is always a good thing.
I’m a sucker for yard sales. I see the sign and wonder what treasures I might find if I stop. Back in the early 90’s my friends and I got together every year to hold a “multi-family” sale. It was a lot of work, but we were young, didn’t have much else to do in our small town and we had fun hanging out together. Times have changed and I have gained experience helping hundreds of clients declutter and downsize. It just doesn’t make sense to waste time and energy sorting, selecting and pricing items for weeks and then holding a sale on a perfectly good weekend – here are three reasons why:
1. The reselling industry
Ebay, Facebook Marketplace, and hundreds of other online resale sites have taken the place of yard sales. Buyers prefer sitting in the comfort of their homes searching for items they want or need, rather than driving around spending time and money on gas to look for a bargain.
The number of donation based non-profit and for-profit resale stores has increased significantly in recent years. It’s tough for one household to compete with a complete store full of used items at (mostly) reasonable prices. Buyers can walk into a resale store and have the benefit of seeing things from a multitude of homes organized under one roof.
Additionally, there are people in every city and town who make a living shopping at thrift stores and yard sales with the sole purpose of reselling their finds on an online site or for-profit marketplace.
2. The disappointment
There is an industry full of people looking to make money reselling. They are professionals who know exactly what sells and are experts at negotiating. They are quick to shop and are usually in and out quickly. When there are several of these in and out visitors at a sale and they don’t buy anything, it is discouraging.
Chances are, some of the items for sale will have a “story” behind them. When a low offer is made on these items, the seller is caught off guard, shocked or offended and the offer may be declined. Even for non-sentimental items, it’s disappointing to be offered $20 for an appliance that cost $200 new just a few years ago. It’s not just the re-sellers who make low offers, people who are not looking to resell are notorious for “low-balling” someone at a yard sale.
Even more disappointing is the theft that occurs at yard sales and shady characters who use yard sales to “case” a property for a theft in the future.
ALL the things set out in the driveway will likely only bring a fraction of what the seller expects. This makes the difficult task of letting things go even more stressful and disheartening. Not only that, but when the sale is over, all the leftovers will need to be boxed up and taken somewhere.
3. The return on investment
The people who are pleased with the results of a yard sale are ones who have family members that come in and take care of the whole process. If you ask the people that did the work, they’ll tell you it wasn’t worth it. Most report that they spent dozens of hours sorting, organizing, displaying, advertising, conducting and cleaning up the sale. If given the choice, they say they would rather have their time back than the pittance the sale netted.
Instead of a yard sale, consider using a combination of local estate auctions, online sales, donations and landfill (everyone has trash!) You can raise some cash and your time will be more productive. If you are thinking about downsizing and need trusted vendors to help with the process, schedule a call with me. I can help.