5 Tips for Having a Successful Yardsale

Lydia, from The Thrifty, Frugal Mom sent me this great guest post on yard sales. It is the season!

Thinking about having a yard or garage sale this summer to clear out some of those corners in your attic and basement? Go for it! Yard sales are a lot of work, I’ll admit it, but they are worth it. What better way to make some money while cleaning house and getting organized?

This past weekend a couple of friends and I had a yard sale. We had a lot of fun, even though it took a lot of work to set up everything. I got rid of 3/4 of my stuff so I was pretty tickled- especially considering I had a lot of trinkety type of things. I meant to take some pictures, but go figure, I forgot!

Anyway, here are 5 tips that I have found that have helped me have a successful yard sale.

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

  • One way is to place an ad in your local classifieds, however this usually costs from my experience. For some free ideas use Craigslist, Yardsalesearch, or Garagesalesource.
  • Make sure to include your full address. 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 looking and attractive. The point is to catch people’s attention not to distract them. If you care to, attach a couple of balloons to the sign as well.

  • Post the sign several days in advance. For instance, I like to put my sign out the Sunday or Monday before the yard sale starts.
  • 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 detest 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 some 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. This last 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 feel free to write that on the tag too. But remember, you can’t expect to sell it for what you paid for it when it was new.
  • 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. Very quickly I loose interest. 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 against the 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.

  • I like to try to say hello and smile at people as soon as they walk up.
  • Make small talk if possible too.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tashia July 15, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Excellent Advice! I am a huge garage sale fanatic I would also add to Start Early! Allow yourself enough time (like 1-4 weeks depending on how much stuff you have:) to:
– properly prepare and price your items
– price every item!
– write a great garage sale ad
– make your flashy & creative signs
– create and attractive setup
– label special items or sizes with signs

I just finished up with my sale and I made $1000! I have lots of free garage sale printables at my blog!


2 LittlePeopleWealth July 16, 2009 at 1:08 am

I would like to have one before the end of the summer, but time is getting away from me!


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