How to Host a Successful Yard Sale in 11 Easy Steps

If moving looms anywhere close in your near future, planning your yard sale in advance is a must. As simple as one sounds, yard sales require a definite strategy if you want to maximize your traffic (and earnings!). Follow this guide to learn how to host a successful yard sale so you make the most out of all the time and energy you'll need to put into it.

START SORTING EARLY

The night before is the last time that you'll want to sift through the family heirlooms in the attic. Instead, start the process a few weeks prior to your move. Set aside a place in the garage or the basement to hold all of the stuff you’re interested in selling. It’s best to use a pack, purge, and donate process of sifting through all your belongings so you know which of grandma’s sweaters you’ll be sending to the curb and which you’ll be keeping for the grandkids.

ADVERTISE RIGHT IN THE LOCAL NEWSPAPER

It’s a no-brainer to advertise your yard sale in the classified section of your local newspaper a few days in advance of the sale. The key here is to align your messaging with your bottom line. If you’re only interested in getting rid of unused items so you don’t have to bring it to the new place, emphasize that “EVERYTHING MUST GO!”

Otherwise, be specific about what you’re selling so you capture your key demographic. If you’re primarily selling grandma’s old china set, craft messaging along the lines of “antique lovers wanted.” Otherwise, if you’re selling Johnny’s childhood books, you’d want to emphasize that you’re looking for families.

This also applies to other sites to advertise your yard sale:

    Craigslist
    Yard Sale Search
    Freecycle
    Garage Sale Hopper

PREPARE FOR INCLEMENT WEATHER

There’s not much you can do if thunder strikes on the big day. If it looks as though there’s going to be rain on the day of the sale, plan on clearing out a space in the garage for everything you’re selling. Otherwise, a few tarps slung between trees in the yard will help keep items below safe and sound.

DON’T FORGET THE SIGNAGE

We’ve all found ourself on a wild goose chase looking for the yard sale at the end of the cul de sac. Craft some loud and clear signage on all roads leading up to your property. A few sharpies, colored poster boards, and wood paint stirrers for directional signs will do the trick.

INCLUDE CLEAR PRICING

Aim to structure your yard sale similar to a professional tag sale or flea market. Use color-coded stickers to reflect the different price points of the items you’re selling (think: “All the red sticker items are $5!”). That way, customers that are hesitant to inquire about pricing can avoid the awkward question of “how much is this going for?”

DISPLAY YOUR ITEMS CLEARLY

The key here is that you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for customers to browse your collectibles. If you’re selling a lot of clothing, check in with the local thrift store to see whether they have extra garment racks so you can maximize exposure to all of the clothing you’re selling. Otherwise, slinging a simple clotheslines between two trees and hanging hangers off the line works well.

HAVE CASH AT THE READY

Plan on making a trip to the local bank a few days before the yard sale so you’re armed with plenty of $1’s, $5’s, and $10’s to return to the customers who want you to break a $50. Plus, having extra change around will ensure that you won’t have to settle on a lower price point because you have the incorrect change.

HANDLE THE EARLY BIRDS

You’ll have an entire day to get feelers for how much other visitors value what you’re selling. Think of early birds as the pros who make a sport of scoping out local yard sales. It’s tempting to jump on the first offer, so make sure to set guidelines for yourself of how much you’d like to budge in pricing, particularly for your more expensive items.

GUARD THE FRONT DOOR

Yard sales are prime time for thieves to strike. The house is usually unlocked, and thieves know that the inexperienced seller may keep the extra cash on the kitchen table. On the day of the yard sale, make sure to have a friend or family member stand guard in the house while the sale’s going on so you’re not the victim of a yard sale scam.

ALLOW A LITTLE BREATHING ROOM

We’ve all experienced the yard sale where the seller is nearly breathing down your neck. Give your customers the space to browse your inventory so they don’t feel like they’re being watched by a hawk. But, do make sure to remain attentive in case they have questions they’d like to ask you about your stuff.

HAVE A QUICK PITCH AT THE READY

Chances are that your yard sale inventory ranges from $1 children’s books to your walnut dining room table. While your prospective customers are probably less interested in the story behind how you acquired The Little Engine that Could, you’ll want to have a pitch at the ready for your more expensively priced items and why you decided to price it that way (think: “That armchair is sixty years old and was imported from France!”).

At first blush, hosting a yard sale sounds nice and simple. But, if you want to maximize how much you make, you'll want to create a clear-cut strategy. With this guide, you'll sell more, earn more, and make the most out of what's going to be a day-long effort!

 


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