Thursday, October 06, 2005

Eating Crow

I spent most of the day helping my mom at her yard sale, and I'm here to eat a little crow. Mom had a tremendous amount of customers, especially considering the cost of gas and her location 3 miles from the highway. Dozens of oak trees shade her front yard, and the cool October breeze made it a pleasant location to work (if you didn't mind a continual shower of acorns).
I wish I had brought my camera to snap a few of our tablescapes. I'm convinced that visual merchandising at yard sales is every bit as important as it is in department stores. Of course, true bargain hunters relish "the dig" through piles or boxes. However, I think artful groupings of junque do motivate buyers. Consider the one gentleman (minus several teeth) who purchased a paisley bolster pillow, two oriental rug design draperies, and a Napoleonic horse print--all random items grouped together because of their various shades of red. I'm not sure he would have pulled all those elements together on his own!
We set up a bag of sand, cups, and a table for my son, who entertained himself for at least three hours. All of our customers' children ran to join him. This added bonus let the parents shop just a little longer and let us pay more attention to the sale.
I'm absolutely pooped. I still have to convince my mom not to let the leftover stuff re-enter her house, but I'll tackle that tomorrow.


Laura Talbert said...


I had never thought of doing groupings at a yard sale, beyond the like-with-like sort, of course. I have a friend who has 3-4 yard sales a year....I'll have to tell her about it. Maybe then she can get it gone in one fell swoop.

As an aside, I thought about you yesterday. I got some videos at the library. They didn't have a printed cover on the front or back, just the titles: Early Bird Baking and Video Muffins (not exactly clever). It turns out they are "homemade" by some guy in Las Vegas (in 1997). From what I could tell, he was a lone man, with a video camera on a tripod and some good lighting, and a Power Point program. Their being older explains the lack of technological advances he could use today. Anyway, I thought it was clever of him to think of it as a home-based business, which is something I would never have thought of(which automatically makes me him clever;-). If he made up a batch and donated them to libraries all around... well, it would be an interesting way of getting his product "out there". And as I said, it made me think of you, first because I got it at the library and for the home-based business aspect.

zhsy00001 said...

My parents had a garage sale a couple of weeks ago. They sold stuff that you would think was just junk. The made $1400 during the normal sale on Friday and Saturday. They then sold $800 worth of junk jewelery that my late grandmother had collected over her life on Monday. Not too shabby. Their only grouping is men stuff (tools and stuff) and women's stuff (cloths jewelery nick-nacks) on the other side of the fence. Works pretty well having a department garage sale.


Anonymous said...

I don't know what part of the country you're in but here in California, "vintage" style accesories are very popular & priced accordingly high! When you look at the price of a new "old" necklace, tens & twenties for grandma's stuff looks quite affordable.

Anonymous said...

Yard Sales! *laughs* That's my number one way to burn through money, as though I didn't need it. I blame it on my grandma though. She's the kind of gal who would buy all of your "junk", so she could store it for a few months, and then sell it as her "junk". lol She currently has a small barn, her large detached garage, and an attached garage all full of yard sale stuff. Yes, I think it's an obsession. The lady has enough to outfit 10 full homes, I'm sure. See what genetics I have to contend with? *laughs*

It is so great to find wonderful buys though. :o )