A yard sale can be a great way to earn some good money and it can be fun, but it also takes a lot of work, maybe more work than you think. I have done four yard sales in the past few years and made quite a bit of money. Planning a yard sale takes 2-3 weeks so keep that in mind. If you plan the night before, it will not be as successful.
15 Tips on How to Have a Successful Yard Sale
1. Start by collecting your stuff
Go room by room in your house and gather things you don’t use any more. Having a yard sale is a great way to motivate yourself to finally get rid of junk in your house. There were things that sold at my yard sale that I didn’t think anybody would be interested in. People bought old magazines and calendars, half used gallons of paint, furniture that was falling apart, really ugly clothes and old shoes. You never know what people will buy, so if you want to get rid of it, put it out there. Make sure you are honest though, if you know something is broken, add a note to it so people know! If there is a part missing they might be able to find it online or I had some people that didn’t mind spending a little money on something to see if they could fix it and make it work–just make sure you’re honest about it.
2. Ask family for donations
The bigger your yard sale is the better chance you have to make a lot of money. My aunt donated half the stuff at my yard sale and it wouldn’t have been as successful without her. It was all stuff she was trying to get rid of anyway and she was happy to donate it to me. More people will get out of the their cars and walk around your yard sale if there is a lot of stuff.
3. Advertise well
We have a local newspaper where you can buy a classified ad spot for $7, in my area that is where people checked for yard sales. In Utah we also have KSL classifieds and when I lived in California Craigslist was where I checked for yard sales. Place your ad just before your yard sale. Use words that will attract people to your yard sale. If you have donations call it a “multi-family yard sale” or “Huge yard sale!!” You’ll want to mention a few of the items you are selling. Furniture, baby items, household items, books, clothes, toys, movies, electronics are typical things sold at yard sales. If you have more baby items than anything else, mention that. If you have nice furniture, say that. If you are posting online add some pictures. In my grocery stores there were community boards where you could add information about yard sales, if that is available to you add a print out with your yard sale information.
Posters are a great way to get people to your sale. I know when I’m going yard sale shopping I will follow signs and always appreciate big, easy to read signs. When you hang them up make sure there is an arrow pointing in the right direction. Put them on busy streets where the most people will see them. If it is windy tape a stick behind your posters so they won’t bend in the wind. Use bright colors with bold, easy-to-read letters. I also made smaller signs with the yard sale information, taped them to a stick and put them in the grass on the exits of grocery stores, Walmart, McDonald’s, and other fast food places.
5. Organize your stuff.
Now go through your stuff and organize it into sections. Treat your yard sale like a store, keeping similar items together. You will sell a lot more stuff, believe me! Some suggestions for the sections are: clothing, shoes, kitchen items, office items, holiday decorations, home decorations, baby items, scrapbooking supplies, movies, books, CDs, etc.
6. Display your stuff on tables, clothing racks, and book shelves.
Now that everything is organized make sure you display your stuff so people can see it and remember to keep similar items together. Put your clothes on clothing racks or rope tied between two trees. For baby clothes I used bins, but separated them in sizes and gender. I would have people that would bring the whole bin up to me and buy everything, just because it was organized. Put your books or movies on a bookshelf so people can easily see the titles. I found that people will dig through bins if they are clearly labeled with what is in them and they are organized and they aren’t overflowing.
7. Price it right and make sure it’s visible.
When you are deciding on prices for your stuff just keep in mind that it is used stuff. Try not to think about your precious memories associated with each item. Nobody coming to your yard sale cares that your son wore that adorable romper in his 6 month old photos, to them it is used baby clothes. Some of your stuff may seem priceless to you, but don’t price it that way. I have been to yard sales where the prices were so high that I just turned around and left and then I’ve gone to some where the prices were so good that I ended up spending way more money than I anticipated. If you want to make money on your yard sale, price your items so they will sell. Think about what YOU would spend on an item if you were buying it at a yard sale. You can buy little round yard sale stickers in the office supplies section of any store, but you can also use painters tape or cute little price tags if you are super ambitious, just make sure to have them clearly visible. Have extra price stickers available just in case.
8. Make sure you have change.
Start with at least 10 one dollar bills, 2 five dollar bills and a roll of quarters. You will end up with more quarters and dollars at the end of the day, but if your first customer hands you a twenty dollar bill for an item that’s .50, what are you going to do? Also, just as a warning, don’t accept large bills, they might be counterfeit. I’ve heard stories where a counterfeit bill will be used on a cheaper item to get change back. Watch your back.
9. Get a fanny Pack.
Yes, that says fanny pack. I felt more comfortable with my money in a fanny pack than in a register at a table. I was okay taking a hit in the fashion department for the morning because I knew people wouldn’t be taking my money. Also keep a calculator in your lovely fanny pack, just in case. I’m good at math, but found myself seriously struggling when I was trying to figure out change with ten other things going on around me.
10. Get a buddy
Have a friend or a relative come help you out. Somebody that can run to the store if you need more change or somebody to run and get lunch. It’s also a good idea to have an extra set of eyes watching your stuff. Unfortunately I’ve had yard sales where people stole items from me. The extra set of eyes will help.
11. Have an outlet ready
This is more of a suggestion, you don’t have to do this, but if somebody is unsure if they want an electrical item have some place where they can plug it in to make sure it works. I had an outlet in my front yard, but you could also have an extension cord plugged in your front room and brought into the yard.
12. Turn off the sprinklers!
Don’t let your sprinklers run the night before. Not only will you have wet feet if you do, but with all the added traffic on your lawn it will get muddy and will ruin your grass in some places.
13. Plan on throwing your yard sale for a few days.
I suggest throwing your yard sale all weekend. It’s a lot of work the first day, but the following day(s) are a lot easier and you might as well take advantage of it. You’ll already have the hard parts (organizing and pricing) done. Make a weekend out of it. The most money I ever made on a single day was on a Friday.
14. Have some plastic bags.
Just as a kindness to the shoppers, have some grocery bags that they can use to put their stuff in.
15. Clean up your signs!
Don’t let your yard sale signs become litter. Remember where you hang them up and make sure you gather them all up.
Bonus tip: Donate all the leftovers.
Since you took the time to clean up all the clutter and unwanted items in your home for the yard sale make sure when it’s all over to donate it to Goodwill or the D.I. or whatever place is nearest to you. Not only do you not want that stuff back in your house, but you will be helping somebody out.
Good luck with you yard sale! Let me know how it goes!
Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you’re here you’ll find something that makes your #momlife easier!