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April 20, 2018

Make Your Yard Sale a Success

The temps are FINALLY on the rise, flu season is making an exit, and the days are getting longer.

As happens every year, you’re on the brink of full scale spring cleaning. While some are thinking about the trash bags they’ll need, you’re seeing dollar signs. In fact, you’re one of half a million Americans preparing for a yard sale this spring (source). Follow these top five tips to ensure your sale will be a success!

Be Picky

Don’t hold onto EVERYTHING just in case it could generate some cash. Opened beauty products, old exercise equipment, and fabric do not sell well. In fact, you’re better off donating them and getting a tax deductible receipt. Gently used clothing (including a few pairs of shoes and handbags), tools, and appliances traditionally sell well! Since no one likes feeling overwhelmed, curate a sense of calm, happiness, and a dash of demand by limiting your yard sale to your best items. Showcase them with enough space in between so that they’re easily viewed and watch the buyers flock! Tables that are piled high with dozens of similar items just feel like drudgery. Only a select few, dedicated souls would take the time necessary to find that needle in a haystack. Make your sale for the masses, not for the select few.

Price to Sell (as You Go)

As you begin collecting items for your big sale, keep a Sharpie and pad of round pricing stickers with you. By pricing your items as you pull them, you’ll save yourself a ton of prep time the week before your sale. If you’re unsure of how much to price an item, pretend the item doesn’t belong to you and ask yourself how much you’d pay for it on someone else’s front lawn? It comes with NO return policy or warranty. You don’t know how much it’s been used, or what kind of life it has left. Even if you have a general idea of what the retail price was, the item is at most worth just 30% of that original value. That should help you aim for rock bottom prices.

The key to making a profit with your yard sale is quantity of sales over price per sale. While you might have a few items in the $5 or $10 range, realize that most yard sale hunters are trained to find bargains. Overpricing, or not pricing your items at all, can lead to immediate disinterest.

Sort Your Items

Create a storage area in your attic, spare bedroom, basement, garage, or shed to stash your items as you find them in your home. Organizing them by category (and pricing them as you go) will save you loads of time when you set up. (And since everyone is short on time, this step is a MUST.) Keep furniture items with wall décor; kitchen items with entertaining pieces; and technology with other technology.

Set the Scene

There is nothing more exciting to me than a well organized sale! When ALL the kitchen gadgets are in one place and clothing in another, I’m able to find the items I’m looking for in record time. Subconsciously, I’m also willing to pay a higher price for items that are easy for me to find. Use the categories you created for your storage area to neatly define your front lawn with bright signs. Easy-to-walk-through aisles with enough space will entice your shoppers to keep shopping. Finally, make sure your “checkout” area is easily accessible, covered from the sun (or rain), and ready for a line. Selling extra items like coffee and cupcakes is a great way to draw a crowd, and again, keep your shoppers looking for just a little longer.

Ensure Easy Tear Down

Decide NOW where the remaining items will go once your sale is over. Plan to load them directly into your car for drop-off to your nearest Goodwill, or create a zone for later pick-up by another agency.


What are your tried and true tips for a successful yard sale? Share your experiences in the comments below!