Tips For A Successful Yard Sale

photo of a yard sale with the title tips for a successful yard saleAs you may know, our family is in the middle of a move.  Living in the same house for 19 years, we had accumulated quite a bit of “junk” – stuff we hadn’t used in years or that the kids had outgrown.  Time to have a yard sale.

Gather Your Treasures

The first order of business was gathering and pricing all the “treasures”.  In the past, I used to gather everything and then spend a day or two just pricing, but that is so tedious.  I much prefer pricing as I gather.  I took my time and spent 15-30 minutes a day while we were packing, just sorting out the items we really didn’t need anymore and pricing them.

Research Prices

So, how to determine a price?  Please don’t ever have a yard sale without having attended a few first. Walk around someone else’s yard sale, see what the “going rates” are for various items and listen in on some conversations between buyers and sellers.  Think about what you would be willing to pay for the same item.  Now when you go back to price your own items, the last thing to take into consideration is how badly do you want to get rid of it?  Of course, most items can be donated if they don’t sell, but if you really want to get rid of an item, always price low and be prepared to haggle lower.

photo of the bottom of an item with a 25 cent stickerFor large, car-stopper items, like furniture, I use cardstock or heavy 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper to write the name of the item and the price on in large black marker, then I tape it in a conspicuous place, so that traffic driving by our house can easily see it.  For smaller items, I either put them all in a labelled box (coffee mugs – 25 cents each) or individually price unique items by placing bright orange circular stickers on them.  We have never had a problem with people swapping stickers and honestly, you’re not a retail establishment, so you don’t need to worry about it.  Just say no if the other person is being unreasonable.

Set the Date & Advertise

Once you have all your items gathered and priced you can set the date for your sale.  Preferably your next free weekend.  The longer you procrastinate, the more dust will gather on your “treasures” and people are less likely to buy dusty items.

A week or two  before the sale, advertise on Craigslist and make some posters.  If you have some sawhorses, you can tape your posters to them with arrows pointing toward your of a cash box with coins and paper money, next to a calculator


A day or two before the sale, make sure to get money for making change.  I usually go to the bank and get three $10 dollar bills, three $5 dollar bills, 20 $1 bills, two rolls of quarters, one roll of dimes and two rolls of quarters (don’t bother with pennies).  I use an old metal tackle box for my change box.

photo of a yard saleThe day of the sale, plan on getting up at least an hour before the scheduled start.  Have all your items already organized by category, so you can set them up by category.  We use tables,  but if you don’t have easy access to folding tables, I know people who spread blankets on the lawn and lay their “treasures” out for sale that way.

Set yourself up in a conspicuous spot so you can keep an eye on the change box as well as the customers.  If you get anything bigger than a $20, put it in the house, away from customer’s temptation.  Make sure you have at least one helper who can roam around helping people and spell you at the change box if you need a break.

Plan on wrapping up your yard sale by 2 p.m.  In my experience, there is usually a big rush before and after you first open, then steady traffic until about noon.  Sometimes we have a small rush again about 1 p.m. but after that it is usually dead.  Plan on about an hour to pack everything up and put it away.  Sometimes we hold over items that didn’t sell for the next yard sale, but since we are moving, we hauled everything off to the thrift store.  Or you can call Salvation Army or Goodwill to come pick everything up for you.

I hope these tips will help you have a successful yard sale!!

Do you have any yard sale tips?


6 thoughts on “Tips For A Successful Yard Sale

  1. I love your advice Teressa! and i will surely follow all this to have a successful yard sale. Thanks for sharing and i’m looking forward on your next post!

  2. Yep, I pulled things out of the cupboards and placed them on the counters and tables, sofa backs, etc. As furniture sold, the items had to go to the floor.

  3. Hi Teressa, as you probably know I had a weekend long sale in December when I was clearing out my own house which was about to be sold. I knew I was going to have it for 3 days straight and ended up having most everything inside the house rather than hauling it out and back in every day. I was able to say “everything in these two rooms, plus in the the garage” is for sale.

    I did learn that people will show up very early. Some even called to ask if they could come the night before. After 3 days of selling I then did a “free for all” (posted it on Craigslist) for people to come and just take what they wanted. Then, the last bit went into the car and to Good Will.

    Also, be very careful with people. Because people came so early and were very pushy I ended up accidentally including some pieces of jewelry that I hadn’t intended when I was asked “how much for the whole box” I wasn’t quite awake yet, they were early so I hadn’t taken the items out that I meant to and they were pushy and I think hoping to confuse me so they could get a super great deal.

    1. Thanks for the tips Leslie!! I like the idea of leaving items in the rooms when you are moving out. Wish I’d thought of that!!

  4. We hold a garage sale every June, when our whole neighborhood does. Really any warm and comfortable weekend works well for a garage sale. We’ve always done pretty well with it. Garage sale shoppers are varied. Early morning ones (and it’s important to open early, around 7) are often resellers who are looking for something very specific, such as jewlery. Some won’t even browse, just ask if you have a certain item. Other shoppers who come later may just want to browse, or again be looking for something specific. Toys and clothes are common items at garage sales, and will sell, but not for very much. Kitchen appliances do pretty well, as does furniture.

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