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Tips & Tricks For Holding A Successful Yard Sale / Garage Sale

yard sale


Tips & Tricks For Holding A Successful Yard Sale / Garage Sale

Having a yard sale is a lot of hard work. My husband and I usually hold two a year and it takes a lot of planning to have a successful yard sale. There is everything to getting your items together, pricing, making and hanging up signs, making posts online etc.. So I have created a list to help you hold a successful yard sale and make lots of money.


You are going to want to find out if there are any restrictions in your neighborhood or local government may have regarding yard sales. Some areas require a permit and some have a limit on how many yard sales you are allowed to have per year. It all depends on where you live.

2.) Picking a Date & time

When it comes to picking a date it shouldn't be that hard. The reason why is most frequent yard sale buyers go out on Saturday Mornings.

So with that being said you are going to want to pick a Saturday that does not fall on a long weekend or holiday. Lots of people tend to go away during the long weekends or holidays.

When it comes to what time to start I recommend no earlier then 7am and no later then 3pm. You are going to want to give yourself a hours time before and after to set up and clean up. The worst thing any yard seller could do is say they are going to start at 7am and they are just starting to set up or haven't even started. Trust me there will be people there right when it starts if not earlier.

3.) More Is Better

The more people you can have the better. By this I mean creating a flyer for your street and handing it out letting them know when you plan on having a yard sale and let them know you will cover the signs and advertisement for the yard sale. You can even ask people to help cover the costs, but I like to look at it as you are already on planning on doing it so why not ask around to have others join in. Make sure you include a email address asking them to contact you to let you know if they are wanting to hold a yard sale that day to. This way when you go to advertise your sale you can then call it a Street Sale, in which buyers love! Because they have a bunch of houses to choose from and can just park there car and walk up and down the street.

We also like to invite a friend or family member over to set up a table. This will then make it look like we have lots of stuff. Buyers love seeing a lawn or drive way full of treasures. You will be more guaranteed they will stop and get out to look then just drive on by if they only see you have one table with some items.

4.) Organization

You are going to want to organize all the stuff you have to sell. I recommend getting cardboard boxes to put everything in. Try organizing it from kitchen, toys, household, tools etc. This will help on the day of your yard sale, so you are not running around trying to find where what goes. When you already have everything organize you can just take it out of the box and put on that table and so on.

Also make sure you go through anything in boxes make sure you have the right item in that box and it is still working. A lot of buyers are going to want to test the product themselves to make sure it works. So you yourself should make sure it works before you try and sell it to them.  Also when going through boxes make sure there isn't any old credit card receipts etc..

Most of all make sure your items are cleaned, look nice and presentable. This will not only help them sell but make people want to stop when driving by. I cant tell you how many yard sales I just kept driving by because it didn't look presentable or the stuff didn't look clean.

5.) Pricing

You are going to want to get pre-priced stickers or masking tap and pre-price everything. You want to make sure you put the price on top of the item so it is visible. Buyers love when items are priced and they don't have to ask you how much. There are a lot of shy people who don't even what to ask you how much. So it is highly recommend that you put prices on all your items.  Obviously you wont have time to price every individual item so I recommend  you make bright readable signs saying "All Books $1.00 each or 7 for $5.00", " All Kids clothes $1.00" and even "All kids toys $0.50." This will save you time and as long as the sign is big and readable the buyers will be happy.

Don't know what to price a item, Well general the rule of thumb is price items at about a quarter of what it cost brand new. So if you have a $20.00 toaster mark it for $5.00 or if you have a $100 bookshelf price it at $25.00.

And when you are desperately trying to get rid of something or if its something your just going to throw away you then might want to even price it lower.  I Also even recommend a hour or two before you yard sale is about to end to lower prices to help get rid of the stuff you really don't want and plan on dropping off at a thrift store. This will help your product sell and save you a trip for having to get rid of it yourself. Take the $1.00 and be happy.

You can even do what some people do at the last hour of there yard sales is buy a bag for $5.00 and fill it up with whatever you want. Once again I know its hard to see that $20.00 toaster go for nothing but, really you don't need it and are just going to give it away at the end of your yard sale.

6.) Advertising and Signs

This is a BIG one because if you don't advertise you wont get many people only people who may drive by. So I recommend a week before your yard sale you are going to want to post a add on kijiji and craigslist or any other garage sale free advertising site. A lot of buyers use these sites and sellers love them because its a free advertising.

Make sure when doing online advertising you list all your good stuff that you plan on selling. You are also going to want to list if its a multi family, street sale, church sale, single family etc.

Make sure you have the Date and Time Correct along with the proper address and city.

Next there is Newspaper listings, yard sale buyers still use newspaper listings as well. When it comes to newspaper listings you are only allowed so many words. So I recommend using something like this

YARD SALE (or STREET SALE, Multi-Family - Sale  when doing a street sale you do not need to put street yard sale as newspapers generally put all the yard sales in one section so the buyers know its a yard sale.)

Address Here

Kids Toys, Antiques, Tools, Sporting goods and lots more etc..

Date and Time

Placing a newspaper ad can cost anywhere from $5.00-$20.00 but it is well worth it. You will make that money back in no time.

Last but not least because its one of the more important ones is SIGNS!

Having nice large signs that are all the same. These will not only help people who have found your listing online or in the newspaper but will also help draw in traffic from pass buyers who do go oh huge yard sale lets stop.

When creating your sign you have to remember people are driving so its not like they can stop in the middle of traffic to read them. The best thing to do is in Big Bold letters right HUGE YARD SALE with a big arrow on which way to go and time and date if possible address and some of the items you will have there. They are not going to have a lot of time to read everything which is why the arrow being super big is very important.  I cant tell you how many times I have driven by a sign just saying there address with no arrows or the arrow is to small to even see. So we just keep going.

You are going to want to place your signs in visible spots so the buyer can see them and not at the last second either. So if you are placing a sign at a main intersection you are going to want to put the sign at a pole or two before they need to turn but not before another street. This will give the buyer time to get over if needed and be able to turn.

After you have placed a sign at the main intersection the next street they come up to you will need to place another sign letting them know which way to go whether it is straight, left or right. And continue doing this until they have reached your street.

I also recommend using the same style of signs because I have had instances where more than one yard sale is going on near by and you get to one point thinking your are going to the one yard sale but really you ended up at a totally different one.

You will want to post your signs 1-3  days in advance of your yard sale this will let the traffic that drives by those days to be able to see your sign. You don't want to post your signs a week before because this will make some people think it is happening on the Saturday before your actual yard sale

7.) Things to consider

When having a yard sale you should also consider having a bbq or selling pop and water. A lot of buyers get hunger and thirsty when they have been out at yard sales and often don't like to stop anywhere because they have to get to there next find and don't want to miss out on any treasures. We have sold hotdogs for $2.00 and pop and water for $1.00 and people will buy them and you will make a profit on it. So its a extra way to make some more money to help cover advertising costs, or stickers etc.

You will also want to consider how many tables you have and if you may need more. buyers prefer seeing items all laid out on tables over having to rummage through boxes or bending over. So make sure you have enough tables, or tarp to put bigger items on.

If you have a easy up tent you will want to consider putting it up to either provide shade on those hot days or if its going to be calling for rain.

If you have a lot of items you may want to consider asking a friend or family member to come help you out for the day even if its just watching over to make sure people don't try and steal something from you.

With items that need batteries make sure they are working or replace the batteries to make sure they work.

When selling stuff such as basket balls, volleyballs, even bicycles make sure they have air in them.

8.) Money /Change

You have to make sure you have more than enough change. You will find there are equal amounts of buyers with exact change to buyers trying to buy a $1.00 item with a $20.00 bill. So make sure you have lots of $10.00, $5.00 bills but most of all twoonies, loonies, quarters. I recommend having $100.00 if possible in change and lower denomination bills.

9.) The Night Before:

The night before your yard sale you are going to make sure you have everything in order and try placing it all in your garage if possible or by your front door. This will help you for when you have to get up early to start. You can just place your tables out and set up your items.

Make sure you have enough change, and lower denomination bills on hand. Make sure you put up all your signs as well as making another post on any online yard sale advertisements that you have done such as kijiji, craigslist, etc..

Go through your check list make sure you have done everything needed and make sure to go to bed early to get a good nights rest because you will be exhausted by the end of the day.

10.) Setting Up

Well its Yard Sale day! Time to set up, Make sure you set up a hour early especially if you have a lot of stuff. It takes more time that you may think to set up all the tables, getting the boxes out and taking everything out. Make sure you have your money with you in a fanny pack or pocket because you will have early birds coming I am sure of it trying to see all your stuff as you are trying to set up.

You will want to set you tables up so its easy for people to walk around them. When setting up your items try keeping items such as tools in one section, Kitchen stuff in another etc. This will make it easier for the buyer and make your yard sale look presentable.

Remember having a presentable yard sale that looks organized and full of stuff will attract buyers.

Keep in mind when setting up to use common sense, You don't want to prop up a nice picture against a rocking chair. Especially on a windy day. When selling clothes if possible use a clothes rack and try to use cheap crappy metal hangers. This way if the buyer wants to they can keep the hanger.

When selling books, cds, dvds etc. Arrange them in a box so all the titles can easily be read by the customers. I have been to many yard sales where they are just a big mess and can not even go through them nor want to.

After your tables are set up and items all out in place make sure all signs and prices are in place.

You will also want to have a chair for you and whoever is helping you during the slow periods of your yard sale.
Just remember to put effort into your yard sale and really try to sell stuff by making it the most attractive and presentable it can be. If the first thing someone picks up is nasty and dirty , it may turn them off from buying from you and looking at other items you have to sell.

Don't forget to display your more interesting items at the end of your driveway to act as a magnet to lure people in and out of there cars. Some people will slowly drive by and take a quick look to determine if it looks like a worth while stop.

Another great tip is have you ever noticed how hard it can be to convince a man to stop at a yard sale? To resolve this problem you will want to set up some of your manly stuff such as tools, lawn mowers, sporting goods etc. near the front of the lawn as well. Usually when a man see something like tools they need to stop themselves to get out and have a look.


11:) Have Fun & Make Money

Yard sales don't always have to be stressful. Make it fun, put on some music in the background. The easy listening type music on that most people don't mind. This will not only make if seem like a fun relaxing type yard sale. This will also help the buying when shopping with a partner to discuss there potential purchase privately with out feeling like


12.) Notes to consider while running your yard sale

Something you will want to consider is when a buyer comes up to you with multiple purchases and asks how much try giving them a better price then what the total was. So if everything they want to buy comes up to $10.00 tell them $7.00 this will not only make the buyer happy but I can almost guarantee they will give another look around for something else.

Be prepared for people to bargain with you. If you are finding a lot of people are just walking away or a lot of people are trying to bargain with you then your prices are to high and I recommend lowering them. Remember it is a yard sale not kijiji where you would go to sell your $20.00 toaster for $10.00.

Most important Guard your money! You will have lots of coins and small bills. Do not leave your money around and make sure you don't drop any. I have seen this happen a couple times before with a girl I like to have my yard sales with I swear every year she drops $5 or $20 and doesn't even realize it. Thankfully for her I catch it for her. If you finding you are at a point where you have to many bills or change don't be afraid to run inside and hide some.

Here's a tip about making change: if someone hands you a large bill, leave the bill out in view until after you have given them their change.  Sometimes I will put the bill partly under something like a paperweight until after I hand the person their change.  Otherwise, a dishonest person could say afterwards "I gave you a $20, not a $10".  And it would be your word against theirs.  And make sure you really take a second and look at the bill.  At my last yardsale, I glanced at the bill and thought it was a $20, and when I went to give the customer their change, I looked again and realized it was a $10 bill, not $20.

Don't accept checks unless you are willing to take the risk of getting a bad check.  A check that looks perfectly fine may be from a closed bank account.

Have plastic grocery bags available to put sold items in.  If selling breakables, have newspaper available to wrap fragile items.

If you are selling electrical appliances, have an electrical outlet handy or a long extension cord. (Put the cord away when not in use - you don't want to create a tripping hazard).   I don’t allow strangers in my house, either to try out appliances or try on clothes, etc.   If they need to use a restroom, give them directions to the nearest fast-food restaurant.
To avoid any hassles later on, post a sign that says "All Sales Final".  I've heard horror stories about customers returning the next day wanting to get their money back on items.
If you have a ton of kid's clothes or small toys you are dying to get rid of, consider having a "fill a bag for a set price" kind of deal. Buyers love getting a good deal.  I went to one yard sale that had a "fill a bag of clothes for $5" .
At the end of your yard sale make sure you TAKE DOWN YOUR SIGNS!



1.) Markers

2.) Signs

3.) Packing Tape (to hang up signs)

4.) Tables

5.) Cardboard boxes and plastic bags

6.)Calculator - this is helpful in totaling up purchases.

7.)Newspaper to wrap fragile items with that people have bought






13.) Masking tape


15.) Pricing Stickers

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