Ask Bettina

Dear Bettina,

I have a collection of things in my
basement that I am saving for a yard sale. Any tips you can give me?

Signed, Thrifty (and proud of it!)

Dear Thrifty,

The best tip I can give you is to ask yourself, “Is holding a yard sale how I want to spend the better part of a weekend?” If the answer is no, then put the stuff in your car right now, take it to your favorite charity, and go do something you enjoy.

People who shop at yard sales do it for fun and to find good deals, not because they are looking for what you have to sell. If you need to make money on your items, you will get better prices selling online. Craig’s List shoppers are more likely to be looking for what you are selling, so you deal with real buyers. eBay also matches people with items they both want and are willing to pay for. But unless you decide to make selling on eBay your hobby, I recommend finding someone who runs an eBay business to shop your wares–but then you can expect to pay a 25% commission or more.

If it’s your first time using Craig’s List, take a couple of good pictures with your camera or cell phone to post in the ad. Read the spam warnings carefully and don’t be surprised if you get some bogus replies. They are fairly easy to spot. Trust your instincts.

The point is be honest with yourself. Your spare time is a precious commodity. If holding a yard sale isn’t in the top ten of ways you enjoy spending your time, then you may not get around to it and your pile of stuff will, at best, continue to gather dust. At worst, you will keep nagging at yourself about what you should be doing but then feel guilty when you don’t follow through. This falls into the “life is too short” category. We all have enough must do’s, and this doesn’t have to be one of them.

If you decide on a yard sale, be sure to put a price on everything, because some people just won’t ask. I always say to myself, “My job today is to make sure that if a shopper shows any interest in an item, they leave with it in their possession.” For me, it’s not about the price. I want all my stuff to go to new homes and not be my responsibility any longer. I want to save myself a trip to Goodwill!

Good luck, Thrifty. Hope you have a sunny weekend.


Bettina Blanchard

About Bettina Blanchard

It’s not what we have, it’s what we do that makes life fun. Professional organizer, business owner, radio show host, accordion player, I love to live and write about finding the balance between having and doing.