Plan your display in advance and try to group similar items together.
Participating in a tack sale is a great way to clear out clutter and make a little extra money---either for yourself or to benefit a cause you support. You might even find a few bargains to bring home. Before you go, take some steps to make sure your day will be successful:
Understand the terms ahead of time.
Check what the table rental fees are and/or whether the organizers will be due a percentage of your proceeds. If the sale is run by a nonprofit organization, be sure you are clear on how much of your income is expected to be donated, and get a tax receipt for the amount of your contributions.
Clean your tack and apparel.
The more presentable your stuff looks, the more appealing it will be to buyers. Make sure tack is clean and in good repair and your clothes are either neatly folded or on a hanger.
Plan your display.
Find out whether tables will be provided, and if not, pack a folding table or two. Take stock of your inventory and think about how to display it to its best advantage. You might want to bring a portable clothes rack, if you have a lot of apparel to sell, or lightweight saddle racks, if you'll need them. Don't forget a folding chair for yourself if they're not provided. When you're setting up, group similar items together---for example, line up all your bits in one area, and place extra halters together---to make shopping easier.
Take supplies and small bills.
You'll need to start the day with a pocketful of small bills so you can make change for buyers right away. A pocket calculator will come in handy as well as a pad and pencil if you'll want to keep track of your sales. A Sharpie marker or two and some large index cards will be useful if you want to post signs announcing percentage discounts toward the end of the day. Bring a supply of (clean) used plastic grocery sacks to bag up smaller items; if you're selling anything breakable, consider having some newspaper to wrap your goods as you sell them. A stash of snacks and drinks may be welcome if you'll be stuck at your table for long hours.
New or very gently used tack and apparel may sell for close to their suggested retail prices, but older and more worn items go for much less. If your goal is just to get rid of stuff, be realistic about how much people will be willing to pay, and be open to lower offers. Mark your prices clearly on every item, and make sure your negotiated agreements are clear with buyers before cash changes hands.
Got leftovers? If you want to avoid carting unsold items home at the end of the day, look into places where you can donate them instead. Horse rescues and animal shelters might be happy to have your extra tack and supplies, either to use or to sell in thrift shops to benefit their animals. Finally, if you did some buying as well as selling, be sure to clean your "new to you" items so you don't bring new germs home, too.
This article first appeared in EQUUS issue #429.