dil·i·gence:careful and persistent work or effort

Proverbs 13: 4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Looking back on a month of de-owning

After some major success with No Buy July, I boldly declared the next month De-own August!  A month of de-owning unnecessary things that were perfectly good but sitting unused in the dark recesses of my closets and robbing me of my precious space:  what could be better than that?!

In anticipation of a major home space re-allotment (more on that later), I figured it'd be nice to go through as many items in my home as possible to honestly and ruthlessly answer the question:  do I *really*need this?  Not only did the timing make sense for me, I also had several other willing victims parties.  Colin is saving up for a new computer which provided him with motivation to pass on some of his old toys.  A friend Jen is attempting to downsize some of her possessions and was game to de-clutter.  My mom and dad have recently moved which really helped them evaluate the importance of their stuff, and my sister is also at a point where less is more.  So, we decided to do what any, reasonable group of hoarders would do.  We scheduled a yard sale.  We picked the date about a month or 6 weeks ahead of time to give us plenty of time to sort through our junk treasures.

We all worked very hard over the weeks leading up to the yard sale.  Signs were made, Craig's List posts were crafted, flyers were hung at local establishments, and Facebook was blasted.  On yard sale eve, my spare bedroom looked like this:

And, my living room looked like this:
Jen posted this picture to Facebook of her dining room:
And, if I had photos from my parents or sister, I'm sure they would have been just as bad.  Needless to say we did not have a shortage of stuff to sell!  When it was all said and done, our entire driveway (large enough for probably 5 vehicles) was full of stuff and so was half of our front lawn!

The yard sale was wildly successful with everyone getting rid of a ton of stuff.  There were times that we had probably 25 or 30 shoppers milling around.  At times, parked cars lined both sides of the street with a narrow driving lane down the middle.  The sale went strong from about 7:30 am until 12:30 pm, at which time there were still shoppers, but we were so tired and hungry that we just wanted to be done!  We could have kept going, but- for me- the return on my time investment had dipped past the threshold. 

In light of our success, I'd like to share some of my thoughts on what made the day fun and successful:
  • Online marketing:  We took an informal poll of our buyers as they paid for their goods.  Many, many folks (the majority?) found us through our Craig's List ad.  Jen wrote the ad brilliantly including keywords for many of the items we had for sale.  The idea is that you want your ad to come up on as many searches as possible.  If you have it for sale, list it!  There are also several yard sale websites that pull feed from CL and link to them on their site.  Jen also listed the yard sale in our local Pennysaver.  Cost of online marketing:  free!
  • Apps:  For the i-phone and android users who are looking for sales while they're out and about, apps are key.  Jen used the most popular app for each, and further marketed our sale that way.  Posting to these apps was also free.
  • Paper marketing:  Signs, signs and more signs!  We made 16 large, fluorescent, easy to read signs to post around our neighborhood and surrounding area to lure drivers to our street.  I didn't bother listing the actual date or full address, because I didn't want to clutter up the sign with unnecessary information (plus, now I can reuse the signs for future sales!).  In addition to the large signs we posted on Thursday under the cover of darkness (so they'd be visible all day on Friday), I made 10 flyers to post at local businesses.  We had to get permission to tape our flyer on business doors/windows, but the owners we spoke to were very accommodating.  Total spent on paper marketing:  $21 (but, again- the signs can be reused).
  •  The other fun thing we did was all wear matching colored shirts.  The color we chose for the day was hot pink, which made it really easy to direct a buyer with questions to the correct person ("I'm not sure, but my mom over there in the hot pink shirt can answer that.")
Overall, the day was very fun.  I think I can speak for us all when I say that it felt good to watch some of our under-used stuff go to a new home, and make some moolah in the meantime.  I won't go into details about profits made, but let's just say that there were lots of smiles on lots of faces at the end of the day when we counted our proceeds.

I think all the hard work paid off for sure!



1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's awesome Emily! What a great way to clean out and make some extra cash in the process! I've found that Craigslist ads really help our tag sales too. And I love your easy to read signs. I see so many impossible to read yard sale signs and they make me crazy!