Are you hoping to host a successful yard sale? summer? If so, you shouldn’t go into it blindly – consider these tips for holding the best yard sale ever.
Holding a yard sale is the perfect way to de-clutter, get rid of unused or unwanted items and pick up some cash as well.
I love having them as it inspires me to declutter and really focus on what I want to keep. Somehow, I always manage to find things that I don’t want or need anymore. Here are 5 of the best ways I’ve learned to hold a successful yard sale.
1. Focus on Quantity and Quality Alike
Getting more items together can give your customers a greater selection, and they will buy more. This also gives you a greater opportunity to get “big ticket” items like bikes, cribs, baby swings, etc.
Plus, having someone help you on sale day is always fun. Better still, if your town or neighborhood has an annual “town yard sale”, plan to hold it then, as there is sure to be lots of people out and about. Don’t have one in your area? Consider starting one up! You may need permits, so be sure to check with your local town ordinances.
2. Consider the Condition of the Merchandise
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a yard sale and picked up an item and put it back because it was filthy. Dirt, I could handle, but I’ve seen items that looked like they were run through the ringer of use and just placed outside.
Washing off trinkets and household items, hanging up clothing, and making sure things are not broken are key to getting a better price for your items.
Check for completeness of games, and dust off the covers of the books, albums, and movies before you set them out. Placing items neatly on clean tables with items together makes it easier for your buyers as well.
3. Dealing with Pricing and Haggling
Price your items at about 20-25% of retail for great condition, 15-20% for good condition, and 10% for “used but loved” condition.
Make sure that EVERYTHING has a price tag on it. I know that sounds like a pain, but the effort will be worth it. It makes it a lot more enticing for someone to buy if they know what you are wanting for it.
Expect people to try and talk you down as well. On big ticket items, I usually price it at about 40% of retail for that reason and I have never refused a reasonable offer. But, feel free to say “No” to their offer. Be polite and firm. If they really want the item, they will buy it. Some are out just for the thrill of a bargain, some are resellers, and some are looking for something specific. And all are great to have at your sale.
4. Have Spare Change
Most yard sale shoppers come to the sales fresh from the bank, armed with $20’s. If you don’t have change for that $1 item, they are going to walk away. Take the time to grab some $1’s, $5’s, $10’s and quarters.
You will save yourself a lot of headaches, especially in the first hours of your sale being open. I recommend at least $40 in change total. You don’t have to have it all outside with you, of course, just easily accessible.
5. Be Sure to Advertise
Make sure to put up good signs that lead potential buyers to your location. Use big, bold colors, and keep it simple. The date, time, and address are necessary. Arrows are helpful, as long as you make sure they are pointing in the right direction. Balloons or banners attached to the corners will also grab attention. And, as a courtesy, with gas prices being so high, when your sale is over, please remember to remove all signs. Otherwise, someone may be driving around looking for your great sale that doesn’t exist.
An add on craigslist is free to list your sale as well, and great for traffic. If you don’t want people to show up at your door at 6AM (and yes, they do that here!) then be sure to note the times of your sale and “no early buyers, please”.
6. Sort, Sort, Sort
Organization is key when it comes to having a successful yard sale. It will help you stay clear-headed before, during, and after the event.
Do the major work ahead of time. As you clean out your house, make piles – keep, sell, and trash. You don’t need to worry about pricing when you do this – just focus on getting organized.
Then, you’ll have piles ready to go when it comes time to host your yard sale. Now it’s time for more sorting – sorting by categories (books, clothes, kids’ toys, kitchen appliances) and by type (all shoes, all dishes, etc).
Not only will you be able to put all like items in the same general area for your yard sale, making it easier for shoppers to find what they’re looking for, but you’ll also be able to streamline the process when you start cleaning up, too.
7. Safety in Numbers
You might not love the idea of strangers traipsing onto your property to see what you have to sell. Therefore, you might want to team up with some other family (or families) to host your yard sale. You can also check with local neighborhood associations to see if any community sales are coming up.
That Way, you won’t have to worry about people coming to your house. You may be able to divide the workload with other people, too – and to maximize your profits due to double the advertising!
8. Choose the Right Date
If you can, schedule your yard sale on the weekend. People tend to be interested in going to yard sales on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays – usually in the morning. The first weekend of the month is the best bet, since this is right after when most paychecks go out at the end of the month.
The earlier you start, the cooler it will be – so consider that in your planning. Also remember that you’ll want to check the forecast before you hang signs up. While a little bit of cloudiness or even a small amount of rain won’t kill your chances at being successful with your yard sale, sunny days are best at attracting potential buyers.
9. Have Plenty of Supplies
Make the shopping experience as pleasant as possible for your buyers. You can buy pricing stickers and labels at the dollar store – or simply use masking tape and markers to label your items.
The clearer your prices can be, the better. It reduces the likelihood of haggling or worse – of buyers walking away because they don’t feel comfortable asking you how much something is.
Consider having a table and chairs set up so you can cash people out and stay comfortable when you have your garage sale.
Also, make sure you have plenty of tables, boxes, blankets, and storage containers to make sure all items are clearly and safely displayed. Pick up a few extra boxes and bags while you’re out to make check-out easy and convenient for our customers, too.
10. Offer Bundle Deals
If you have a lot of DVDs you want to get rid of, for example, consider bundling. While you might not want to pay $1 per movie, you probably aren’t going to turn your nose up at four DVDs for $2!
There are plenty of ways you can make a deal if you want to get rid of items. Offer fill bag sales at the end of the day – customers can get a full bag of items for just $5 or $10.
11. Get the Whole Family Involved
It might be tough to entice your teenagers to help with a yard sale, but you can easily encourage younger kids to help out. Nobody can pass up a pint-sized bake sale or lemonade stand!
12. Be Safe
Most shoppers are well-intentioned – but they’re still strangers. Keep your home locked during the sale and don’t let anyone into the house. You can keep a pitcher of water outside and point them in the direction of the closest gas station bathroom if they claim to be thirsty or need to use a bathroom.
Keep all of your money in a locked cash box – or on your body in a fanny pack. If someone makes a purchase with a large bill, have another family member bring it inside for safekeeping.
13. Have a Plan for Unused Items
There’s nothing more frustrating than having to lug all of your unsold yard sale items back inside after a long day outside.
Rather than letting those items linger in your living room for way longer than necessary, know what you’re planning on doing them. You can post inside a community facebook group, list items on Craigslist, or even haul them away to the thrift store or local charity organization.
You might need a truck to get all these items from point A to point B. If you don’t have one, know that you can always request a pickup from local organizations, in many cases, too!
14. Have a Garage Sale Goal
What is your ultimate purpose in hosting a yard sale? Do you want to get rid of unused gear? Generate some extra cash? Or pay it forward to reduce waste and make sure your items are going to good use?
Whatever the case may be, do your best to understand the reason behind your yard sale – this will give youa greater overall purpose and make it easier to stay organized.
15. Do Some Recon
Before your yard sale, do some research! WHat’ is the competition doing? What do other locals do in their yard sales to set themselves up for success? Is there a certain advertising strategy that they use that you find apr citlau effective?
Doing some research ahead of time will help you be as successful as possible when it comes to the day of your yardale.
16. Consider Digital Tools
This might not be the best option for everyone, but if you want to stay organized and expect a large volume of traffic on yard sale day, you might want to consider using some digital tools.
For example, Venmo is a free payment tool you can use to accept credit card payments for online transfers. Square is another option (though you’ll have to pay for it).
Make sure you have a working hot spot in case your WiFi gets iffy and use an app like TallY Sheet to record your sales.
17. Set Up in Advance
Give yourself at least one full day to set up for your yard sale. If items will be kept outdoors overnight, you may want to cover them with old sheets or tarps to protect them.
SEt it up like a fun shopping experience rather than just throwing all of your items onto tables. You can use shallow boxes as risers to create visual interest and focal points- or create a designated kids’ section so pint-sized shoppers have something to keep themselves entertained with as their parents shop.
18. Don’t Try to Sell Junk
They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure – but that’s a figure of speech, of course. Don’t try to sell literal junk! You need to make sure your materials are in decent condition.
Clothing should be clean, in decent condition, and unwrinkled. Pump balls and tires with air and install working batteries in anything that requires them. It’s a good idea to make sure everything looks as good as it can so that you can fetch top dollar.
19. Think Twice About Holds
Many people will ask yard sale hosts to hold items that they want to come back and buy later. This can create a lot of hassle.
Most people will ultimately buy even if you tell them they can’t put items on hold. If someone needs a vehicle to pick up a larger item, like a piece of furniture, just remind them of what time the yard sale will end – and that everything left at the end of the day will be donated.
This way, they’ll be incentivized to come get the items as soon as possible and you won’t be stuck hanging on to bulky items three weeks after the yard sale has passed.
20. Make it Fun!
When you’re planning out and hosting your yard sale, don’t take yourself too seriously – make it fun and lighthearted! After all, you’re not a big box department store – you don’t need to get too carried away.
Create an inviting atmosphere for your yard sale. Put out colorful balloons, put on some fun music, and chat with shoppers as they look for items (as long as the situation calls for it, of course – some people aren’t fond of having their ear talkied off while they peruse the items for sale).
You can even set up a snack table and offer free refreshments – or again, capitalize on your child to set up his own little mini snack stand!
Host a Yard Sale Today
So, grab some unneeded kitchen items, those clothes your kids outgrew, and that vase you don’t know what to do with anymore and get ready to have some run with your own garage sale!
Not interested in having your yard cluttered with items to get rid of your unwanted gear? Fortunately, there are plenty of other apps and websites you can use to get rid of your stuff.
Decluttr is best for technology and electronics while 5 Miles is an essential tool for furniture and other big ticket items. Don’t forget about OfferUp, either – this website is great for reselling items of all kinds. Of course, there are always the classics – eBay and Craigslist – too!
What are some tips you have to share for having a successful yard sale?
updated Nov 2nd 2021 by Rebekah Pierce
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.