6 Tips for a Successful Yard Sale

successful yard sale

I'd always believed the adage "One man's junk is another man's treasure" until I hosted my first garage sale.

I spent hours preparing and moving items into the driveway at the crack of dawn, only to discover, after tallying up our sales, that my children actually made more money at their adjacent lemonade and muffin stand.

So just where did I go wrong? If you're planning to have a yard sale, learn from my mistakes.  

Here are six tips for setting the stage for a successful yard sale:  


lemonade stand at yard sale

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1. Plan Ahead. As you spot things in each room that you're ready to unload, group them all in one central location and start a collection. When it comes time for your sale, you don't have to go on a scavenger hunt and you won't overlook any items you were hoping to sell.

2. Get Organized. Though yard sales are a great way to declutter and (hopefully) make a little cash, they're also a lot more work than you might think. Getting organized can help keep things on track. Start by figuring out what you'll need to best show off your wares. A rolling rack for clothing? Tables for housewares? Shelves for books? See what would be helpful ahead of time so you're not scrambling when those notorious early birds come calling.

Some towns require sellers to have a permit. Check with your local municipal office to find out if you need one and what the time-frame is for acquiring one. 

Have single dollars and plenty of change on hand and enlist any willing volunteers -- shoppers tend to come in waves and things can get hectic pretty fast. 

3. Join Forces. Multi-family sales, especially if advertised as such, often draw big crowds. Consider teaming up with neighbors or nearby friends who might also be looking to sell some things they no longer need. Then figure out who has the best location and set up shop! 

4. Advertise. Take advantage of free online advertising. Bargain hunters often visit sites like Craigslist, GarageSaleFinder.com, and YardSaleSearch.com, so place your ad and be as specific as possible in the description of your pieces. If you have a highly desirable item that could attract a bevy of buyers, upload a photo. 

Purchase signs and place them in high-traffic areas that are close to the location of your sale. Also, start telling friends and neighbors and ask them to spread the word. 

5. Price to Sell. Let's face it: You don't want to have to haul all that stuff back into your home, so price it to move quickly. Make sure all your items are marked and prices are easily readable. Also, consider grouping like-priced pieces together. Have a bucket of 25-cent items or a table of $1 goods. 

6. Sweeten the Deal. As I mentioned, the real moneymaker at my sale was my children's muffin and lemonade stand. If you have kids, this is a great time to awaken their entrepreneurial spirits. Plus, who can resist making a purchase from a cute, little smiling salesperson? 

Do you have any secrets for staging a successful garage sale? 


Images ©iStock.com/BluIz60, ©iStock.com/mg7

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