Enjoy yard sales more with these rules

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By Maryellen Garrison

Yard sale season has arrived!  As the temperatures are warming up, people are beginning to realize items, such as children’s clothing or sporting equipment, they might need to purchase for spring and summer.  Yard sale shopping is a great place to find items you need at bargain prices.  
If you are searching for yard sale bargains:
• Start early.  
The statement “the early bird gets the worm” is definitely true at a yard sale.  Professional yard sale shoppers will be out early looking for great deals.  Remember a yard sale will often open up before the advertised start time.  Starting early will give you the greatest pick of merchandise; this is especially true if you are shopping for specific items.  Remember, however, sellers are much less likely to negotiate prices early in the sale.  If you see an item you like, but cannot reach an agreement on price, stop back later in the day when the seller might be motivated.
• Plan your day.
Check your local newspaper and websites for upcoming yard sales.  Map out all of the yard sales you plan to visit.  Develop a logical order, so that you are not driving back and forth across town.  This saves both time and gasoline.  
• Don’t be tempted to buy items you do not need.  To help stay on track start the day with a list of items you are looking for.
• Negotiate. Don’t be afraid to ask a seller to lower the price. Negotiating price is part of the fun of yard sale shopping.  If there are several items you are interested in, ask the seller for a bulk deal or price.  
• Typically yard sales have a no return policy, so be certain what you are buying.  Check sizes, washing instructions and condition. Check clothes carefully for stains, holes, working zippers, missing buttons, etc.  
• Carry cash, preferably in small bills.  Some yard sales may accept checks, but there are no guarantees.  Carry only the amount of cash you are willing to spend for the day, so that you will not be tempted to overspend.  Large bills, especially early in the day, are difficult for a seller to break if you are only buying a few dollars’ worth of items.
• Ask a friend or family member to yard sale with you.  Not only is shopping more fun with a partner, shopping with a friend provides an extra set of eyes to search for the items on your list and to double check condition.  

Hosting a Yard Sale?
If you are considering hosting a yard sale, consider the following tips to make your sale a success:  
• Plan well in advance.  Preparing for a yard sale takes time. Start by organizing the items you want to include in the yard sale in one spot.
• Sort items into similar groups (household goods, children’s clothing, women’s clothing, shoes, toys, baby items).
• Consider your location. Will buyers be able to easily access your sale?  If your location is not ideal, talk with a friend or a family member about hosting a joint or multifamily sale at their location.
• Price items before the sale. Attend other yard sales in your neighborhood to get an idea of how to price items.  
• Check your city ordinances for information on permits and advertising.
• Consider hosting your sale early in the month, people tends to have more disposable income at the beginning of the month as opposed to the end.
• Advertise! Spread the word through friends, neighbors and social media.  Consider free online classifieds or placing an ad in your local newspaper.  
• Make certain you have either another family member or friend to help you on the day of the sale.  
• Do not leave your cash box unattended.  Make certain you have bills and coins for making change.  
• Consider pricing items in 25-cent increments, to help making change easier.
• Have a notepad or calculator on hand for adding up prices and making change.

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