How To Have a Successful Yard Sale

by Destri on March 21, 2010

Tis the season.  The season to bring someone elses treasure out of your home and into the yard. Here are a few tips to make your yard sale a success, who knows maybe you’ll make enough to take yourself on a little vacay.  And don’t forget, this is an open ended post!  Your input is requested in the comments.

What To Sale

I am not going to go into huge detail on this subject because it is a whole other post for another person!  I do have a few tips, but would love to hear how you decide what to pass on.

  • Have a goal for yourself.  What do you hope to gain?  Certainly a less cluttered house, but is there something that you have been wanting to purchase that you haven’t been able to justify?  Maybe this is the perfect time. 
  • Have a goal for your kids.  Is there something they have wanted to have or wanted to do?  Let them know that the money they make from the yard sale can go towards these things.  Having an end reward will encourage them to let go of more stuff.
  • If you are on the fence about certain items, put them out and see what happens.  If you find yourself cringe at the thought of selling it when someone picks it up, just politely tell them it should not have been set out.  Chances are, you’re going to sell it.

Preparing The Treasures

  • Give everything a good cleaning.  People are going to pay more for clean stuff, plain and simple.  Magic erasers are great for this job, they will make your kids toys look brand new.
  • Wash all clothing.  While I’m sure you don’t want to iron everything, it wouldn’t hurt to press the items you want to ask more for.
  • If your have clothing items that go to an outfit, particularly kids clothing, use cloth pins or something of the like to keep them together.
  • Make sure there are batteries in the items that need them, especially larger items.  You can adjust the price to cover the cost.
  • Plug in the items that require power to make sure they are all working correctly.  That way when someone asks “does this work” You won’t have to say “I think so”!
  • This is a great time to go ahead and label the items for a price.

Displaying The Treasure

  • Hang all the clothes if possible.  If you can’t hang all of them, just hang the nicer pieces and make sure to put the other ones on a table.  It helps if you have things categorized.  For instance, if you have a lot of infant clothing, have all the 0-3 months on one table, 3-6 months on another.
  • If you have multiple items for the same price, group them together with a sign displaying the price for all of them.
  • Have all electronics on one table with a power strip handy, then people can help themselves to check if an item works.
  • Get creative.  Hang purses on tree branches; tools on a peg board; bring a hutch out of your house to display the collectibles and glass items, a bookshelf for the books – just make sure to put not for sale in the display pieces!  Make things interesting, and people are bound to pay a little more.
  • Make the yard easy to navigate.  You don’t want people tripping over things, or not going to check out your cool lamp just because they can’t get to it!

Preparing For The Hunters

  • Plan on starting early!  Usually 7am is good.
  • Have plenty of change on hand, and an easy way to keep it.  On your person is usually best, or have one designated person to sit at a till.  Just make sure that person knows how to count back change.
  • Having water or lemonade available is always nice.
  • Play some mood music.  If you make it a fun place to be, people will stay and shop a little longer.

Advertising Your Sale

When advertising make sure to include the dates, times and location of the sale.  If you have tools and collectibles, let them know.  Make sure to add key items you are selling “Crib, couch, lots of COOL things!”  Bright colorful signs are best.

  • Place an add in your local paper, make sure to meet the deadline for the weekend you are hosting it.
  • In my town there is a place where people park their cars with a sign.  Honestly this is where I go!
  • Place signs on busy roads near your house, if your really ambitious you can tie on a balloon.
  • List online.  Craigslist, local classifieds…anywhere you can!

A few days before the sale, schedule a local thrift store to come and pick up the items that don’t sell on the final day.  Then you won’t have any reason to bring them back into your house!

Okay, now it is your turn.  What tips do you have for a successful yard sale?  Have you been to one that totally knocked your socks off?

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