10 Tips for Pulling Off a Killer Yard Sale

killer yard sale

Spring has felt like such a tease this year, warm days popping up here and there followed by a week of frozen fingers and snow.  I am ready for nothing more than throwing open all of the windows, airing out the germs, and ditching some of the clutter that has fell in over the winter like a gaudy hibernation blanket all over my floors.

Time to start thinking about a yard sale!

I grew up going to and throwing  yard sales since I was young.  My mom taught me almost everything I know about being thrifty.  We’ve held some that were a success and a few duds, too.

Here are 10 tips I’ve learned along the way that can ensure your sale is a success.

#1 Date Check

The date you hold your yard sale on can make or break your sale. I generally try to hold it on the same day that there is a minor event that will bring people to town like a craft fair, farmers market or, best of all, a neighborhood wide/city wide yard sale.  Most important though is to steer clear of dates of bigger events like high school or college graduations.  People are dressing up and preparing, not out yard sale-ing!

#2 One Day Only

I’ve always found Saturdays to be the best.  I’ve also found that when I’ve held a 2 day sale I sell about the same amount as I do on a Saturday only.  The serious yard sale folks go on Saturdays and don’t always bother with sales that were open the day before.

#3 Price as You Collect

Pricing can be a daunting task, especially if you have a stack of boxes piled up.  This has caused me many a trip to the donation drop just out of pure agony at the thought of going through it all piece by piece.  I fare better if I have a little stack of price stickers in my desk drawer.  Then when I pick an item up that I know I don’t need I can give it a quick look over, pop a sticker on, and into the yard sale box it goes.

#4 The Good Stuff

This tip goes along with the look over before the sticker I mentioned in the last tip.  Make sure to look things over well.  If it’s clothing, look for any seams coming undone, discoloration or holes.  When it comes to electronics, plug it in real quick and make sure it’s working…  so on, and so forth.  If someone comes to your yard sale and sees stained clothes and chipped dishes they will probably head right back out the way they came assuming it’s all junk and not worth digging through.

#5 Pricing

Make sure the price is right!   I know it can be hard to part with things that have had a place in your home or that your children loved…  but it’s smart to remember that other people don’t have that same attachment to said item.  They are coming for a bargain.  Even if something is nearly new, they don’t want to pay for it as if it were new.  That having been said,  you don’t want to short yourself either.  As fun as holding a yard sale can be, you still want to be compensated for your time.  If you are having a hard time pricing an item it doesn’t hurt to have a quick peek online to see what other like items are selling for used.  Also, from my experience, adult clothing doesn’t go as high on a yard sale as it would online so if you want better money for designer clothing it might be wise to take those in to consignment.

Another note on pricing.  Actually price EVERYTHING. I’ve heard time and again that people don’t want to ask or make offers.  If they do like to make offers they at least want to know your starting point right off the bat.  If you leave your items unpriced you WILL lose sales because of it.

#6 Set Up

Pretty basic but set up is important.  Tables are key.  Try to round up enough tables and hanging racks so that everything can be displayed neatly.  I’ve driven by many sales where things are thrown onto blankets in the yard or even  just in the grass.  It feels dirty, untidy, and not fun to shop at.

Have like items near each other, including sizes…  especially for children’s clothing.  It makes it easier for people to find what they are looking for, and will increase your sales.  Try to keep it as tidy as you can throughout the sale.

#7 Network

Talk to friends and family and tell them about your sale.  Invite them to join in!  My stipulations are that they need to bring their own table space, set up and take down their own gently used items, and contribute an hour of helping out during the sale.  I supply the yard and the advertising!  Multi-Family sale always draws more crowds than a couple small tables.  Plus it’s nice to have the company during a long afternoon sitting in the yard.

You can also talk to neighbors to see if any were considering having a yard sale and see if you can coordinate dates. I’ve made more at neighborhood wide sales than I have at any other.

#8 Advertising

I always make sure to get an ad in the paper early in the week.  This usually means that if the local paper has any free ad circulars that go out mid week your sale will be listed in those.  Make sure sure you have a catchy but short title. State if it’s multi-family, neighborhood, or moving sale.  Name a couple things that you think are sale worthy such as appliances, tools, antiques, toddler toys/clothing.  Then DON’T forget your address.

Also during the week of the sale grab a few neon poster board sheets and stakes to make up your own yard sale signs.  Mine usually just say YARD SALE with the address underneath and have a big arrow pointing in the right direction.  I cover the paper in clear plastic tape to make it sturdier and shinier.  Then put them at the busiest intersections near you!  Balloons on a chair or ladder in front of your house with another sign are a great way to signal they’ve reached the right place.

Check out your local FaceBook buy/sell/trade groups for their rules. Some of them allow you to post an ad for your yard sale there.  That is an excellent way to generate some extra traffic.  Make the post half hour before you start your sale and then bump it a couple times throughout the day.

#9 Treat Stand

If you’ve got kiddos of the right age a treat stand can actually be a great way for them to get involved and make some money.  Whip up a couple different home made treats, monster cookies and peanut butter crispy bars with chocolate frosting have always been big hits at our sales.  And lemonade?  Skip it.  We’ve actually made a pretty good profit selling Sprite, Diet Coke, and Mt. Dew out of an ice filled cooler.  Yard sale goers are a hungry and thirsty bunch, they’ll buy it if you offer it! Let the kiddos help make a sign on another sheet of neon poster board with the prices clearly written.

#10 Let’s Make a Deal

Now that the yard sale is in full swing and you’ve got cars pulling up like crazy…  don’t be scared to bargain with people.  Any item is only worth what someone will pay for it.  You are better off taking a little less for an item than you are sending it off to donation at the end of the day.  Make sure you are considering reasonable offers.  That person may be the only person interested in that item throughout your day.  Also if people know you are willing to bargain it might lead them to looking around further and taking more of your clutter with them on their way out.

Bonus Note from Me to You:

After your day is over, you’ve put in the work, and made plenty of cash.  It’s ok to give yourself permission to donate what it left.  Don’t bring the clutter back in the house to weigh you down.  The money will only last so long…  but the freedom from the clutter that you’ve removed from the house is the best thing you’ve achieved today!

Are you planning a yard sale this spring?  Have any great tips or experience to add?




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This entry was posted in Thrifty.


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