Ever since I was 16 years old, I have worked in the retail industry. I started out at Limited Too, when it was still that, gained a second job at Aldo, then worked at Express, Juicy Couture while I was in college, and at a jewelry store called Gas Bijoux for the duration of my college career. Aside from working Black Friday, retail is pretty much my favorite for a few reasons. One of them being that I love interacting with people. Preferably interacting on a much less corporate retail structure so I can spend 1-on-1 time chatting without someone yelling at me to tell them how much they’ll save by opening a credit card into the earpiece I had to wear.
My favorite job was at Gas Bijoux. I was almost always the only associate working at any given time, and was able to talk with everyone that visited the tiny Upper West Side store. I loved learning about the different people that shopped there. One woman was in the process of buying a new apartment a few blocks away and always came in to look, and said her husband was always saying they need to save for the new place. She housed dogs that were waiting to be adopted, and always brought them in with her.
So anyways, when my mom told me she was thinking of having a moving sale, I was all for it. Not only would I get to go home to help with it, but it was like working out of my own house, no credit cards or managers included! As we set up, I was thinking of a few super important things we needed, as follows.
- Lots of signs to advertise. People go crazy over this type of thing. Our signs and Craigslist ad said 8-2, and we were already busy making sales at 7am. The early bird does get the worm. And when making signs, the letters need to be dark, and the message needs to be clear. People driving by are only looking at the sign for a second, so they need big arrows, and big words. Balloons help a lot too!
- Make sure there are prices. People are going to haggle with you, but it’s best to give them a starting point to get an idea of the price you’re aiming for. We would have let this whole set go for $5, but if it’s not labeled then people have no idea where to start.
- Merchandise like things together. This is sort of a given, but before I got my hands on it all, there was Christmas wine glasses on one side of the kitchen, with Christmas dishes on the other! People may not know how much they need everything until they see it all together! Of course you need these Mr. & Mrs. Clause statues to go with your new Christmas candy dish!
- Have change!!! It’s inevitable that your first customer will take you up on your 3 for $1 offer on books and pay with a $20 bill. Go to the bank and get a couple stacks of $1’s. Even if you don’t end up using them all, it’s better to have them than end up losing a sale because you couldn’t provide change.
- Everyone working at the sale needs to know what items are negotiable on pricing, and what are not. For example, my mom’s expensive 16-piece, 12 place setting China was a non-negotiable item. She found out it’s worth and decided that she’d much rather keep it than sell it for less than the price of one dinner plate. And she did, which is great because I really wanted it! Now I just need a house big enough to put it in…
- Be sure that all items are clearly displayed. Would you buy a pair of shoes in a shoe box without actually seeing them first? I didn’t think so. I hung this bed canopy from a tree in the front yard; not only did it draw attention to our house (most of our items were inside), but it also showed people how lovely it was!
- The retail on this beauty was about $150, and some lucky little girl has this over her bed now for just $10. And our dining room table, chairs and hutch went to a soon-to-be newlywed couple that were the sweetest ever. Kate, the bride, was so excited to have found such a deal on some new furniture, and kept thanking us for selling it. Having my uncle there to help deliver was also pretty great for her and her fiancé.
- Make sure you go through your items carefully before putting them out for sale. I had about 4 large bins left at my mom’s house that she’s been asking me to go through every time I was home for the last year. Finally, I was forced to otherwise I’d risk losing all of my treasures. Like my grade school yearbooks, the original Now CD, and those sUpEr KeWl star shoelaces.
- Finding a little time to play is important too. Moving can be a super stressful time in a person’s life. It might look like I was the one playing here, but you can bet your pennies that my mom had the time of her life wrapping me up in this moving plastic. And even more not unwrapping me while watching me struggle. I also found my senior prom gown (and prom queen sash and crown) and you better believe that I wore it for a good portion of the day. My mom wanted me to sell it, but it’s pretty hard for someone to buy it while I’m wearing it! *angel emoji*
Yard saling is one of my favorite things to do when I’m home in New Hampshire. That is one thing that definitely doesn’t quite exist in New York City. You’ll see a stoop sale here and there, but there’s nothing like waking up at the crack of dawn, grabbing a coffee, and finding new treasures in other people’s yards. I guess it sounds a little weird when it’s put like that, but man oh man do I love it.
I can’t wait to be home again in a few weeks to shop some sales, because hosting them is seriously exhausting! But so much stinking fun!! 🙂