Yard Sale Super Mom! A lesson in etiquette...

Yesterday was one of those rare days when my husband is in such a loving mood, that he peacefully (even willingly) escorted me on a morning of yard sale bargain hunting. This is not a common occurrence people and I'm not sure what I did right (or what I owe him now) but he came right along and his company made my day. After all, don't we all hope for a partner who will willing coo over baby items and (feign) excitement over the dollars being saved by a spot of haggling? Indeed.


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Funnily enough though, yesterday was somewhat of a comedy of errors. I usually love to get chatting to the folks selling their worldly goods but yesterday's heist was filled withs... 'characters'. My husband is very good in social situations but like me a lot of that simply stems from the ability to hold a smile and make interested sounding noises, despite the urge to run in the opposite direction. We met:

  • A seller who wanted to disclose intimate, personal information that as strangers we had no idea how to respond to.
  • A seller who talked our ears off, literally at one point following us back to our car in order to prevent us from escaping the conversation.
  • A seller who was visibly drunk (albeit pleasant!) who had no idea how much he wanted to sell anything for, or perhaps even where he was on this particular Sunday at noon.
  • And last but not least, my least favorite of the bunch, a seller who followed us the entire time within arm's reach, as we browsed his items, making discussing our choices or even hanging around for more than a moment beyond uncomfortable.

So, in light of the spectacle that was yesterday's yard sale adventure, I've decided to throw together the basics of yard sale etiquette!


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Buyer Etiquette 

Bring Some Change - No seller want's to accept a lowered price if you then present them with a $20 bill for payment! Get stocking up in a coin jar and pull on that for your bargaining adventures.

Early Bird Arrivals - Don't be that person that rocks up to someones yard at 7am when the sale's advertised to start at 8am. It puts pressure on the buyer, having someone pawing through their things before they're even set up, not to mention they want to keep an eye on their stuff and you're making it hard to multi-task!

Respect Their Property - Would you really like someone to assume they can park right across your newly landscaped lawn, or be a neighbor trapped in your own driveway because of hoards of thoughtless drivers sticking their car anywhere? If you can't see a sensible spot to park then hop out and ask! No biggie.

 Seller Etiquette

Clear Directions - Make sure you don't skimp on the signage leading to your sale. There's nothing more frustrating than following signs on a wild goose chase, only to find them peter out halfway to the destination. Lead us to your bargains and we shall buy!

Price Items Clearly - I personally love the colored dot system. Each color corresponds with a price and that way if someone wants to haggle then good for them, otherwise they can get on with totting up their potential purchases, while browsing the rest of what you have to offer. Simples.

Know the Closest ATM - If you want to give people the best chance for forking out over those big purchases, then know where they can get monetary reserves (and maybe even have directions handy. No excuses then!)

Don't stalk buyers - Yes, it's important to keep an eagle eye on potential buyers. Unfortunately thieves pop up at  yard sales as much as they do anywhere else but how about picking a prime position for your chair, where you can keep an eye on things without having to follow (and intimidate) buyers out of, well, buying?

Don't ignore buyers - On the other hand, don't underestimate the power of a friendly hello and welcome. It's always nice to know that a buyer is approachable and open to dialogue, so don't stay on the phone all morning and don't spend the whole time trying to avoid eye contact with your buyers.

Stick To What You Say - I truly hate to plan a yard sale route only to find half of them have closed up shop a few hours (or a day!) early. You'll never know how many latecomers you're missing!

Got other awesome buyer and seller tips to share? Stick 'em in the comments and let me know what makes a fab yard sale experience for you! 

PLUS if you're looking for more yard sale tips & tricks, including effective ways to sanitize your bargains, check out Yard Sale Super Mom: Part 1 here!

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