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How to Have a Successful Yard Sale: Tips and Tricks

Are you trying to declutter your home?  Instead of throwing away all the items that you don't need anymore, it may be a good idea to have a yard sale (also called a garage sale).  Having a yard sale is not as difficult as you may think.  Today I will go over tips for preparing for a yard sale, tips for making signs, the best time to have a yard sale, tips for choosing items to sell, how much money to charge for items, tips for organizing items in your yard, and some helpful tips for having a yard sale.  Are you ready to get started?  Let's begin.

How to Prepare for a Yard Sale

Let's start by learning how to prepare for a yard sale.  Although you will have to do some organizing the day of the garage sale, most of the organizing should be done a few days before.  In fact, it may be helpful to begin preparing for a yard sale a few weeks ahead of time.  That way, when the day of the yard sale comes, you can easily move all the items outside without having to organize all of them.  Here are some basic tips for preparing a yard sale.

Advertise

You'll get more people coming to your yard sale if you advertise it.  Make sure your family members and friends know about it, and post it on social media.  Craigslist is another great place to advertise about yard sales, as is yardsale.com.  

Find Items You Want to Get Rid Of

Start by looking for items you want to get rid of.  Such items include things you haven't used or worn in a year or more, items you never really wanted, and unopened items that you don't need.  Take the time to look through your closet, shed, garage, and cabinets for items you don't need anymore.

Find a Spot to Put the Items

Your next job is to find an area to put all the items you'll be selling.  This could be your garage, a room you don't use too often, or anywhere else like that.  If you don't make a pile of items you want to sell, you might forget to sell some of them.

Price Them

Now you are going to price the items.  Later in this article I have included tips for choosing prices for your items.  Make sure you price all the items so that you won't have people asking you all day, "How much does this cost?"  You'll be busy enough, so make sure you put a price tag on everything.

Organize the Items

Now it is time to get organizing.  Separate the items into different boxes or piles so that on the day of your yard sale, everything will be organized looking.

Have Everything Ready to Go

Have the tables ready to go and maybe a canopy or umbrella if it is going to be hot out.  If your kids will be having a lemonade stand or bake sale, make sure their table is ready to go.  If you haven't already put your signs out, do it now.  Below are instructions for making signs.

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How to Make Signs

Making yard sale signs are not as hard as you may think it is.  You can either make your own signs out of paper or buy signs at the store.  Make sure you list your address, the date and time of the yard sale, and maybe even some of the items you'll be selling.  Make sure you write it large and clear so that people can read it.  You'll want to put your signs out the day before your yard sale so that people will know exactly where the yard sale will be.  Make sure you put signs in places that a lot of people will see it.

Best Time to Have a Yard Sale

The best days for a yard sale are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Those are the days most people are getting off work and will have more time for shopping.  As for the time, you'll want to start it early.  Many people who are heading to work will not be able to come to your yard sale later in the day.  7 AM is the best time to begin a yard sale, and 3 - 5 PM is the average time to end it.

If it is going to be a hot summer day, you may want to have a canopy or umbrella to provide shade.  People probably won't want to shop as much if it is very hot out.  If a storm will be coming on the day of your yard sale, make sure you have shelter ready so that you can move your yard sale indoors.  Your garage is a good place to have a yard sale if it is raining out.

Choosing Items to Sell

I've already gone over tips for preparing your yard sale beforehand, but you may still be wondering what you should sell.  Of course, it is rather obvious that you should sell items that you haven't been using for a while.  For example, if you haven't worn a shirt or shoes in a year or more, you probably don't need it.  But what items sell the best?  Here is a list of some popular items to sell at a yard sale:

  • Tools - Do you have some old tools in your garage that you don't need anymore?  You may be surprised at how many people could use the items that were collecting dust in your garage or shed.  Even if the tools are old, it is worth putting a price tag on them just in case somebody wants to buy those tools.
  • Clothes - It is common to see clothes at yard sales, and there is no doubt why.  If you have a lot of clothes in your closet that you haven't worn in a while, you may want to put a price tag on them and let them sell.  While some people may not be interested in more clothes, others may be the exact size as you are and may love your style.
  • Toys - If you have children, you may have toys that they have outgrown.  Try placing a basket of toys out on the table with a cheap price on them, depending on what they are worth.  Kids crafts are also great to sell.
  • Cookware - Do you have a crock-pot, pans, or silverware that you don't use too often?  Consider putting a price tag on them and try to sell them.   Make sure they are very clean and not too old.
  • Antiques - Whether it is furniture or a vintage lantern, antiques are favored by many and will surely sell quickly.
  • Movies, CDs, and Video Games - Almost all yard sales have a box full of movies, CDs, or video games.  If you happen to have some of these items that you don't use anymore, feel free to add them to your yard sale.
  • Baby Items - Unlike toys, baby items could include strollers, car seats, cribs, bassinets, and high chairs.  If you have any of these items, be sure to put them out for sale.  Many parents may be looking for the exact items that you are selling.

Average Prices for Items

Another common question that many people ask is how much money they should charge for each item.  If you put too high of a price, the item may not sell.  But if it is lower than what the item is worth, you won't be making as much money.  Here is a simple guide to what different items are worth in price:

  • Unused Items:  Items that have never been used before should be priced at 50% of their retail cost.
  • Slightly Used Items:  Items that were only used a couple of times should be priced at 30% of their retail cost.
  • Used Items:  Items that are old or have been used a lot should be priced at 10% of their retail cost.

If you will be selling smaller items like CDs or books, it may be helpful to put out a sign that says, "Buy 1, Get 1".  That way, people will buy more stuff, which means you won't have as much stuff to bring in when the day is over.

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Tips for Arranging Items in Your Yard

The more attractive your yard sale looks, the more people you will get.  It is important that all items can be seen, and you have everything organized.  Still wondering how to perfectly arrange the items in your yard?  Here are some tips.

Put the Nice Items in Plain View

Depending on where you live, there will probably be a lot of people driving by your house.  If you have all the nice items in plain view (antiques, etc.), drivers may stop to check out your yard sale.  But if all they can see is boxes in your yard, they won't know if there is anything they'll need.

Take the Time to Organize

Having a yard sale can be stressful enough, but taking the time to organize your items will definitely be worth it.  If you will be selling children's toys, lay them all out in their own special pile.  If you will be selling clothes, you may want to write out the sizes that the clothes are.  Also, if possible, try to take the time to lay out the items out on a table instead of putting all of them in a box for people to look through.  When items are in a box, people may not take the time to look through the box.  But when items are on a table, people can easily see everything that you are selling.  Also, some people may not be able to bend over and look through boxes.  In other words, it is best to organize your items so that people can see them when they walk by.

Helpful Tips to Know

Have Lots of Cash Ready

By the end of the day, you will hopefully have made a lot of money and will have a lot of ones, fives, and ten dollar bills.  But early in the morning, it is important to be prepared with a lot of cash.  Some people may be handing you twenty dollar bills for items that are one dollar, so you'll want to have change ready.

Have a Bake Sale or Lemonade Stand

This is a great way to get your kids involved with the yard sale.  It is also a great way for them to practice making money.  You may be surprised at the end of the day how much money your children made selling sweets and drinks.  Coffee, lemonade, doughnuts, brownies, and cookies are all great treats to sell.

Choose the Right Location

If you live in an area where not many cars come by, it may be helpful to move your yard sale to a new location.  Many people have done a two or three family yard sale, meaning that two or three families had a yard sale in the same location.  If you have a family member that has been wanting to have a yard sale, consider helping him or her out in exchange for using his or her yard for your sale.  

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Final Thoughts

If you are considering having a yard sale, hopefully you found this article to be helpful.  In this article I went over tips for preparing a yard sale, how to make signs, the best time to have a yard sale, great items to sell, the average price for items, tips for organizing your items, and helpful tips to know.  Most importantly, have fun selling items and decluttering.  I hope your yard sale is a success!

Mariann Foster

I am one of our content writers for Everything Backyard. I am a mother and business owner of Big Horn Mountain Alpacas in Wyoming. I love farm life, cutting my own firewood in the mountains, and participating in local trail run races.

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