BLOG: Protect your yard sale from the rain

Teresa L Hoover
York Dispatch
A rainy forecast has forced York city to cancel Thursday's movie night.

With rain falling upon us today, our yard sale thoughts turn to those awful days when wet weather sweeps in on our favorite pastime.

For a yard sale host, a rainy weekend all but ruins your sale. Most people won’t go out to sales during a driving downpour. Even worse, unless you’re lucky enough to have a garage or an awning to hide under, your merchandise has a good chance of getting ruined.

But there is a way to ride out the rainstorm. You can keep your items out and your sale running with just a few precautions, and most importantly, an evacuation plan.

  • CHECK THE FORECAST: Most importantly, check the weather forecast for your yard sale dates. If you’ve got storms heading your way, then you need to prepare. If not, don’t waste the effort on the slim chance there will be a sudden cloudburst.
  • GET SOME COVER: If at all possible, you need to have some sort of covering prepared to wrap up your tables. A lot of people will have a plastic tarp available, which they tie down with bungee cords.
  • BE READY TO BE MOBILE: With rain in the forecast, you need to be ready to leap into action at any time. We advise that in this case you have two people available on the site for such leaping. If it starts raining, you’ll want to grab one end of your table and have the other person on the other end. Then you can simply lift the table and escape inside — assuming you have a place that can fit your table, such as a garage or shed.
  • ABOUT COVERINGS: Even if you do strap down a tarp with bungee cords, please note that your items won’t be completely protected. Water will seep in, and it's best to not leave a covered table under a driving rain.
  • COVER YOUR ITEMS WITHOUT LOOKING LIKE YOU’RE COVERING YOUR ITEMS: With a little extra effort, you can rainproof your yard sale in advance. Just put all your small items in clear Ziplock sandwich bags. Most clothing items, for example, will fit in gallon bags. You can also assemble matching kids’ outfits in these. Try buying specialized plastic sleeves for your collectible paper products,  including comic books, magazines and baseball cards.  Even better you can write the prices on the bags themselves, rather than on the product you’re selling.
  • HAVE AN EVACUATION PLAN: A good idea is to make some sort of plan for grabbing items and fleeing inside. Our advice is to grab things in a fairly specific order: paper products, items in cardboard boxes, jewelry, electronics, cloth items, wood, toys and then metal items. We put paper items first because they can literally be destroyed by rain. Electronics, which many people would grab first tend to have a certain amount of durablity.
  • MOP UP: Be prepared to wipe down all your items immediately after a rain. Items that are soaked will really bother most customers. Have a few rags ready to dab-dry anything that needs to get dried off.
  • ADVERTISE YOUR RAINDATE IN ADVANCE: There’s no use wasting your advertisements. Include a raindate if the forecast isn’t looking so great.