20 tips for yard sale success

A yard sale is a great way to get rid of things you don’t need anymore, and make sure your old possessions fall into the hands of those who can reuse and better appreciate them. They take a lot of planning and work though, so here are 20 tips to help make the process a bit easier.


Don’t schedule your yard sale on holidays. It may seem like a good time for people to be out and about, passing by your sale, but they most likely have places to be and things to do already.


Advertising is the key to any event being a success. If you put your yard sale’s date, time, and location out there, you’re going to bring in a much larger amount of people. Try listing the info online, in your local paper, and on posters throughout the area. A great website to create your own eye-catching sign: SassySigns.com


Make sure you don’t overlook the essentials. Start with a good amount of small change and bills. This is also a good time to get rid of all those plastic grocery bags stuffed together in your kitchen.


Before your yard sale, start accumulating the items you want to sell. Put all the items in a box in some out-of-the-way place. If you don’t have to retrieve an item out of the box before the sale, it’s probably safe to assume you don’t need it.


Make sure you have a clean, freshly cut yard if that’s where you’re going to be hosting the event. You don’t want any of your kid’s toys mixed in with what’s being sold, or customers falling into ruts in the ground.


Place the more desirable items near the road- it will lure buyers in.


Go the extra mile and put a price tag on everything. It will save you time answering questions about price, and give you the final say on what you want for the item, rather than wasting time bartering if you don’t want to. However, if money, and not time, is your concern then you have the potential to get more than what you would have asked for if you let the buyer make an offer first.


Clothes generally don’t do well at yard sales, so if you have some high-end items that you don’t want to let go for a few dollars, check out local consignment stores and see what they would offer.


Set up early- at least an hour before you’re scheduled to be open for business. Oftentimes serious buyers will show up a little early to get the best picks, and are ready to pay more for the items.


Price reasonably. Usually it’s a good idea to go with 1/3 of the original cost of the item, but when it comes to old textbooks or outdated gadgets you might want to go lower.


Buyers love “Buy 5 for a dollar” types of deals. If you have stacks of old paperbacks, this is a great way to get rid of them fast.


Set up a table of “25 cent” items, filled with toys or useless trinkets. It draws in children who probably don’t have too much money to spend, and keeps them occupied while the older crowd sifts through the more expensive items.


Clean up any dusty or otherwise dirty items you’re going to be selling. Making the products as attractive as they can be is going to help you sell.


If it’s a hot day, set up a place where customers can get a drink, even if it’s just some paper cups with a pitcher of iced water. The buyers will then potentially stay longer, and be more likely to purchase items. It also creates a friendly atmosphere, so they’ll be willing to work with you more on prices.


Don’t accept checks unless you are willing to risk getting a bad one.


If you want to get your kids involved, allow them to set up their own table with old toys. Explain to them that if they get rid of the toys they have outgrown, it will make room for new ones they can buy with the money made.


Each item should be displayed to show its best side. Don’t pile books or CD’s into cardboard boxes to be put on the ground. Stack them neatly on a table, with each title visible.


Have a plan for the items that don’t sell. Whether it be donating to charity, your local library, or going to a consignment store, it’s best to have an alternative to dragging all your junk back into the house for an indefinite amount of time.


Admit to yourself that the main goal is to get rid of your junk. If as the day goes on you still have a lot of items left over, put up ½ off signs, and try to be more open to those who want to barter with you. Money is nice, but a de-cluttered house is better.


Once your yard sale is over, take down the sign. Don’t be inconsiderate of those who might believe there’s still good buys to be had.

  • Anonymous

    Great tips! Especially water for your customers. Mom & I like to go garage sale shopping in the summertime and it can get hot and result in fatigue – too fatigued and we quit early! Great advice!

  • http://wemakeitsafer.com/ PR

    Very helpful tips! Love the trinkets idea – I could probably fill 3 tables with all the little

    trinkets
    I have in my house! One tip I would add is to make sure all items you’re selling are still safe & haven’t been recalled. The CPSC (http://www.cpsc.gov/info/resale/index.html) gives you the current safety guidelines, and Simply Check (http://wemakeitsafer.com/SimplyCheck) helps you check for recalls. Hope that helps!