Well I answered the question I asked awhile ago – are yards sales worthwhile? – and this weekend the answer is absolutely NO!
Instead of spending my weekend in Norton going to the polls (I voted via absentee ballot and I am very happy with the outcome) or attending what I heard was an excellent and very fun tricentennial parade on Sunday, I was in Rhode Island running and managing a yard/estate sale. Even if the weather had cooperated, this sale would not have been profitable for anyone. Why? Because the family thought that you could post signs around, open up the door and people would come.
Unfortunately, as much as I tried to give them my professional advice, they would not or did not want to listen. I told them weeks ago what they needed to do, just to have things ready for me to come in:
- Fix lighting in basement or move the items in the basement upstairs or outside into the yard.
- If lighting is fixed, clear space for people to walk around and look at things, set up tables or other flat surfaces to display items.
- Block off areas of basement where items are not for sale; only put out items that are for sale.
- Block off any rooms where there are personal items that are not for sale.
In other words, remove all items that you do not want touched or sold prior to the sale.
To properly prepare for an estate sale, it is best to have all items, or as many as possible, clean and priced with an asking price. This could take a week or a few days just prior to the sale. I was allowed five hours on Friday to try and put some organization into a very dysfunctional arrangement.
None of my recommendations were followed, and as a result it was not a pleasant weekend. People wanted to buy items that when checking out were not for sale or the family member wanted more money than what items were priced. What confusion!
I am looking on my weekend experience as an opportunity and learning lesson. The lesson I learned is to listen to my intuition. I did not, and I learned a valuable lesson – if something does not feel right or good, walk away. However, my opportunity is to reach out and educate as many people as possible, that if people take the time, make the effort and properly prepare, they can, no matter what the weather conditions, have a very profitable and pleasant sale.
Claire LeSage is the owner of WITTZ END, a relocation concierge service based in Norton, working with families who are frazzled with downsizing and moving and want help with the various things that need to be done, so they can make a smooth transition in life.