5 Tips for a Successful Yard Sale

Well, it’s yard sale season once again.  In fact, this weekend we are doing our own yard sale with a couple of friends and while I admit it is a bit of work, to me it is worth it. What better way to make some money while cleaning house and getting organized?

If you are planning a yard sale too you might find the following five tips helpful.  We do a yard sale almost every year and these are tips that I’ve used first hand to have a successful yard sales.

1. Advertise
This is a simple no-brainer for bringing in more customers. Make sure to do this at the beginning of the week at least if not earlier.

  • Post your ad for free on Craigslist, Yardsalesearch, or Garagesalesource.  Or if you are willing to pay a bit you can also place an ad in your local classifieds.
  • Include your full address, not just Hillside Development, Brownstown. What if I don’t know where that is? If people have your full address they can get directions online right to your place.
  • List any unique items or items that may be of interest. For example: Lots of books, baby clothes, baby furniture, plus-sized ladies clothing, tea cup collection and more.
  • Don’t forget to post the hours and date(s) of your yard sale.

2. Show them Signs
A sign screaming YARDSALE will catch people’s attention and attract interest even days before you have the sale. Keep it simple and make sure it is neat and attractive. The point is to catch people’s attention not distract them. If you care to, attach a couple of balloons to the sign as well.

  • Post the sign several days in advance.
  • Place it where it is very visible and also be sure to make it big enough that it is readable from the road.
  • One of my friend’s likes to put up a different sign the actual day of the yardsale. It simply says, Yardsale Today. That way if you are having a two day yard sale people don’t assume by the second day that all the good stuff is gone. Not a bad idea I think.
  • Another option is to post a flyer at your local grocery store, laundromat, garage etc.

3. Price things low to go
Maybe I am strange, but I really dislike yard sales that just have stuff sitting out with no price. I like to know what something costs without having to search out the person in charge to ask them. In fact I often pass up things just because I don’t feel like going to the bother of asking the seller. I am pretty sure that I am not alone in this either from hearing others talk. Yes, pricing takes a bit of time, but I promise you it will sell things for you too.

  • Lay aside all sentimentalism. Remember, even if that fuchsia and orange flower arrangement is special to you because your great aunt Henrietta gave it as a housewarming gift when you bought your first home, it doesn’t mean that I will think it is worth $5. Think how your customers will think. When you are pricing items ask yourself, “How much would I be willing to pay at a yard sale for this?”
  • If you really want to get rid of things, keep the price low. Lots of 10, 25, and 50 cent items appeal to people. At my one yard sale I even priced some things 5 cents that I was sure no one would want. But guess what? They were some of the first items to sell! Remember the goal is to get rid of things…and making a little money is a fringe benefit.
  • If something is new or is electronic and works well, write that on the tag. But remember, you can’t expect to sell it at the price you paid.  This is a yard sale after all!
  • Be willing to take a lower offer on an item. Again, remember the goal is to get rid of stuff. Another way of looking at it is that if you don’t take the lower offer, you may not sell it at all and then you’ll make nothing.

4. Organize your merchandise
I can’t believe how many yard sales I have been to that don’t do this simple, easy step. I doubt that I am alone when I say that I don’t enjoy looking over tables full of a hodge-podge of items or digging through boxes piled full of who knows what.  I am much more likely to browse and spend more time looking at items if they are organized and “easy on the eyes”.

  • Put like things together such as all dishes, all home decor items, all electronics.
  • If you can’t lay books, CD’s, and DVD’s out nicely on a table then put them in boxes- but don’t make the box so full that you can’t flip through the items easily. If you have a lot of books, it is nice to also put all children’s books in one box, all fiction in another, all non-fiction in another and so on.
  • Hang as many clothes as you can. No one likes to dig through boxes full of unorganized clothes. An easy way to do this is to get to step-ladders and put another regular ladder through the two of them, creating a nice hanging spot.
  • Organize baby and children’s clothes by size. Again, no one likes digging through a bunch of unorganized clothes. If you have both boys and girls clothes of the same size, make a separate spot for each one. I like to put them either on a table or in a box with a clearly marked sign with the size and gender on it.
  • Place bigger items on the ground propped up trees or table legs BUT make sure that they are visible!

5. Greet your customers
You know how stores have someone greet you when you enter? Well apply this same principle to your yard sale. It makes people feel welcome and lets them know that you are open to talking to them about any questions they have about your items.  A simple “hello” or “good morning” as they walk up is sufficient.

What have you found helps you have a successful yard sale?  Or what makes you want to buy when you go to yard sales?

Image: Yard Sale Sign in Grass via Shutterstock

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  1. by Coupon Cutting Mom

    On May 19, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Very well written. You thought of everything for having a great yard sale.
    Yard sales are a lot of work but so worth it. I too have found keeping the prices low has helped things sell faster. Anymore when I have a yard sale all clothing is $0.25 and you would be suprised how long people spend looking through it.
    Hope you are having a good yard sale and sell LOTS!

  2. by Lydia Beiler

    On May 19, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Coupon Cutting Mom- thank you! After having numerous yard sales you kind of learn the ropes I think. :) Wow, $0.25 clothing is a great steal and I bet people do have fun!

    The yard sale wasn’t our best by far but it was okay. I think we should have had it yesterday as we discovered there were several development yard sales nearby then. Oh well…you live and learn.