Thursday, May 27, 2010

Turn Trash into Cash - YARD SALES!

Thrifty Thursday is all about saving money.  Today, I'm going to go one better.  I'm going to make you some money.  Surely, you've heard of a yard sale so I won't claim to have invented the idea, but I will share a couple of tips to help if you plan to have one.
And you should plan to have one.

Because you know you've got clutter hanging around and since I've created a website titled, The Clutter-Free Classrom, I certainly can not endorse anything other than getting rid of the clutter in your classroom.

And basement.

And attic.

And any other nook or cranny where your clutter may be hiding.

Check out my site if you want some motivation and ideas for cleaning out your classroom.  Assuming you already have boxes of crap to unload, um....I mean treasures to pass on to others...the following contributed to the success of our yard sale last weekend.


I went in to the yard sale with the primary goal of getting rid of anything we don't use, want or need.  I was ruthless in the process.  I lead a pretty simple life and we don't appear to have a lot of excess belongings, but as you start opening cupboards and drawers you find there is quite a bit hidden away.  I was ruthless.  I converted my CDs to MP3s.  I pulled out any article of clothing that I hadn't worn in awhile.  I grabbed toys and games that were not being used.  

EVERYTHING had to go.

My secondary goal was to make a little cash.

Time is money and I didn't have the time to individually price everything.

Plus, I despise haggling with people in my driveway.  

So I devised a plan.  Well, it was more of a theory.  Actually, it was a bit of a social experiment.  

I created my very own "dollar store."  It's as simple as it sounds.  Everything was a dollar.

I know when I go to the dollar store I walk up and down the aisles tossing randomness into my cart because it "is only a dollar."  My hypothesis was that people wouldn't hesitate to buy my VHS copy of Cocktail if it was only $1.00.

It worked.

And as a bonus, only two people tried to negotiate prices.  Everyone else just came up and said, "I have __ items" and handed me the equivalent number in singles.

Go to, made a list of departments, and quickly printed signs using those departments (i.e. electronics, toys, health and beauty, etc).  

Staple each to a copy paper box and sort your items accordingly.  People buy more when they don't need to sort through randomness.

Craigslist is a great way to get the message out with little effort and zero cost.

Make signs that are bold and simple.  I used large, black, die-cut letters on yellow background.

I stacked the word YARD on top of the word SALE and placed them on the left side of the sign rather than horizontally across the sign.  This was so that it stood out on the left side of the pole when hung and made it easier for drivers to see.  I added the other details in a black Sharpie.  I didn't want there to be too much text and be distracting.  The info was there if people needed it, but the words "yard sale" and the arrow were really all that was needed to direct people to us.

If you are selling classroom items, hold your yard sale at the start of a new school year.  Hang signs in teacher's rooms or at a local college with an education department.

The extra money is great, but the real goal is to get rid of the clutter.  
I was dedicated to not bringing anything back into my house.  After the yard sale ended at 2:00, I put a post on Craigslist that read, "free yardsale leftovers."  We used sidewalk chalk and write, "FREE" in the driveway.  My 4 year old son had become a shrewd businessman over the course of the morning.  He crossed out the word free and wrote, "money" next to it.
Despite his attempts to rake in some extra dough, we did have several people arrive soon after I posted to Craigslist and clear out a bit more out.  I put everything else into Rubbermaid totes and scheduled a pick-up from a local charity.

Clutter gone.

Extra fun money earned.

My trash became other people's treasures.

Items donated to charity.

All good.

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