11 Yard Sale Tips and Tricks for a Successful Day

Man sitting outside a yard sale drinking orange soda

Looking to declutter and make a little extra cash in the process? With spring in full swing and a basement or attic filled to the brim, a good old fashioned yard sale might be just a thing. A well-organized and fairly-priced yard sale can make you more cash than you might expect.

Here are some tips to make your yard sale a big success

  1. Assembling. Start by gathering the things you want to sell and group like items together. Doing this will make it easier to price.
  2. Pricing. Price items based on their condition and original cost when possible, but be realistic. If you’re selling furniture or other large items, go online to see if you can find something similar on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. If you have a large quantity of a particular item like books, records, or CDs, offer a better deal — buy two and get the third free, or sell all at a fixed low price.
  3. Date and time. There’s no telling what the weather will be, so consider having a rain date. Choose your hours wisely and know that people who check out yard sales tend to do so early in the morning — this is particularly true for collectors and dealers. First thing on a Saturday or Sunday is best, but plan to close by noon unless you have a big crowd.
  4. Permit. Some communities require a permit for a yard sale, so check with your town or city clerk before you start to promote your event
  5. Marketing. Advertise in the local paper, on social media, and post an announcement wherever there’s a community bulletin board like the grocery store or library. Post eye-catching signs around the neighborhood. On the day of the yard sale, make sure to post signs so that shoppers can find your house. Use balloons or arrow-shaped signs to get the attention of people passing by..
  6. Merchandising. Make sure that your yard sale is visible from the street. Display items in an attractive way, don’t just pile things up. Signage helps, particularly with large quantities of a single item that you’re selling all at the same price. Otherwise, individual items should be sticker priced. (Look for stickers that are relatively easy to remove. Both you and your customers will be glad you did.) If you don’t price things, be prepared to answer lots of questions. Attempting to determine what to sell by a customer’s interest is a tricky business. Post prices that you’d like to get, but have a price you can live with in mind.
  7. Cash. Make sure you have enough cash on hand to make change, like coins and ones. Don’t leave cash lying around, though. Use an apron with pockets so that you have cash on you at all times.
  8. Go big. If you have the room, invite friends and family to add to the sale. The more stuff, the better.
  9. Negotiating. Be prepared to negotiate. Remember — if it doesn’t sell you’ll have to bring back in to the house.
  10. Markdowns. Don’t mark things down too early. Collectors and dealers know the value of an item and should be willing to come close to what you’re asking, provided it’s reasonable. They’ll buy the things they know they can sell early and may come back later to buy other items once they’ve been marked down.
  11. Roll with it. A yard sale can be frustrating when people continuously offer you a nickel for things that have monetary or sentimental value to you. Whether you’re selling things you want to or need to get rid of, try not to let your emotions get in the way. The goal is to get rid stuff, not carry it back up to the attic. If you’re having a two-day sale, you may want to mark everything down on the second day and entertain any offer.

The bottom line

Whether you’re going full Marie Kondo or just want to make some extra room, a well-planned and well-timed yard sale can bring you joy, free up valuable space, and give you some extra cash.

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