Yard sales, or garage sales, are a great way to declutter your home and make a few dollars while you’re at it. It can also be a lot of work, but there’s a few simple yard sale tips I’ll share with you today that will help ensure you have an awesome rockin’ yard sale!
Over the years, I’ve held a few great yard sales and I also regularly visit yard sales in my area, searching for good deals on things my family needs, like clothes for my ever-growing four kids.
Here’s the thing with yard sales – you don’t have to do a lot of planning or be an ‘expert’ to put one together, but a little preparation can turn your sale from so-so into a huge success!
Here’s 5 Yard Sale Tips You Don’t Want to Miss:
#1 Free Advertising
One of the biggest things that will either make or break your yard sale is how many people stop by. Whether they buy or not is another story, but the first step is getting people to come.
ALWAYS list your yard sale on Craigslist; it’s one of the first places people look. It’s free to list on Craigslist, so there’s nothing to lose; it will only help you!
Be sure to include the date, times, address (I’ve seen yard sales on Craigslist without an address!) and a few things you’re offering for sale to encourage people to stop over. Make sure to include things like furniture, kitchen appliances, household goods, toys, kids clothing etc. It’s helpful to list sizes too, such as girls size 2T-6, boys size 8-10.
You don’t have to get super detailed, but a few things are important because you’ll get more interest than if you just say “Yard Sale”. I’ve personally skipped quite a few yard sales because there were no details and I didn’t want to drive 10 minutes out of my way only to find a bunch of antiques I’m not interested in.
Another great place to advertise your yard sale for sale is local Facebook groups. You might already belong to some, so check the rules and if it’s okay, post your information.
#2 Hang up Clear Signs
Posting easy-to-read signs is one of the most important yard sale tips. If you don’t have good signs, you will not sell as much. It’s that simple.
You’ll most likely need to buy materials for a few signs, but consider it a small investment toward your successful yard sale, because it will absolutely be worth it.
The biggest thing to remember when it comes to yard sale signs is to keep it BIG. People will be driving by quickly and paying attention to the road, not your sign. They’ll have a split second to read what you wrote, so your signs need to be BIG, CLEAR, and PRECISE.
Those small “Garage Sale” signs you can find at the hardware store? Forget those – they’re so tiny, no one can read what you write! I can’t tell you how many of those signs I regularly pass and shake my head because no one can read them!
The only time I saw a “garage sale” sign well-used was when someone drew a single fat black arrow pointing in the right direction, like this:
Buy a couple sheets of brightly colored poster board (cut then in half or fourths if they’re huge) and write with a thick black permanent marker. If you think your writing is big & bold enough, have someone hold it twenty or thirty feet away and check again.
Keep your sign simple. You don’t need a ton of details, your goal is to get people headed in your direction.
Something as simple as this is perfect:
123 MAIN STREET
You can add the times too – aka 8-1 – just remember not to crowd the other important details.
Arrows are helpful as well, but make sure whoever hangs the signs points them in the right direction! Last weekend, one family’s yard sale signs were pointed in the opposite direction and sent us down a dead end road with no houses. #Fail!
Another yard sale tip: keep your signs consistent. Don’t use a dark cardboard box for one sign, a “Garage Sale” sign for another, and a green poster board too. Consistency helps people continue heading in your direction.
If you are directing people a couple miles down the road, it’s helpful to add a few “direction” signs along the way. This is as simple as a large arrow pointing straight ahead on your green poster board.
For us yard salers, it’s frustrating and a waste of time to drive a distance without finding the sale we’re looking for. Did we pass it? Is it just around the corner or another 2 miles away? Don’t waste people’s time.
Lastly, make sure your signs are well hung, especially if it’s windy. Lost or bent signs (don’t make them TOO big) won’t be helpful to anyone, especially you.
#3 Smart Set Up
Choose a good location for your yard sale. If you live at the end of a mile long dirt road, you might consider asking a friend or neighbor if you could do a multi-family yard sale at their house. People are far more likely to stop by if you’re not far out of the way.
Set up where people driving by can see you. If you have a long driveway, don’t make people drive or walk all the way down. Yes, it’s more work for you to bring everything farther out, but it will pay off.
Put interesting things out front, like furniture, kids’ toys, games, etc. Tables full of knick knacks and dishes aren’t as likely to draw most people in. (I personally drive by those sales.)
Try to have as many things as possible (without overcrowding) on tables so people don’t have to bend down. Of course, most of us run out of room and have to put some things on the ground, so choose things like clothes, stuffed toys, larger items, or kids’ stuff to lay out on tarps, etc.
Sort out clothes. It’s frustrating for buyers to have to dig through huge clothes piles with no rhyme or reason to sizes or genders. This is especially true for kids’ clothes where people are usually looking for very specific sizes.
As you sell things throughout the day, be sure to rearrange. Don’t make people walk to the back of your garage when there’s room up front.
#4 Price Well
One of the best yard sale tips is to price well. Don’t expect people to pay an eBay price at your yard sale. It’s okay to put a few things out at higher prices, but be prepared to bring them inside at the end of the day. People want HUGE discounts at yard sales; that’s why they got up early on a Saturday morning to visit yard sales!
At a recent yard sale, I overheard the woman in charge telling someone that a bin of Lincoln Logs was $50! I had been about to inquire about the price, knowing my boys would love them, but after that, I didn’t bother because it wasn’t anywhere near what I was willing to pay. Coincidentally at the very next yard sale, I picked up an even larger lot of Lincoln Logs with their original containers for just $5!
If you really want to get more money for a particular item, considering selling on eBay or Craigslist instead where you’re more likely to get the price you want.
Remember that for anything you don’t sell, you’ll have to store, donate for free, or throw away. Even 25 or 50 cents is more money than you had before, so don’t snub your nose at offers. There’s always people that will try to low ball, but most people are decent and just looking for a good price.
#5 Label Your Stuff
Label anything you can because it makes it much easier for you and the folks buying your stuff. You won’t have to field as many “how much is this” questions and are likely to make more sales because they at least know what your asking price is.
For bulk items, like clothes or books, write or print out a small sign that says your price – ie softcover books 2 for $1 / hardcover $1 or kids’ clothes 2 for $1.
For larger items, you can buy little stickers with preprinted prices – 25 cents, 50 cents, etc. or write them in yourself.
“Make an offer” stickers don’t usually work because people have no idea what your base price is and many times won’t even ask. Do you want $100 for something they wouldn’t pay $20 for?
To make it easier for everyone, try to avoid 25 cents, etc. You could say 4 for $1, which is pretty much the same thing, but it’s easier without all the quarters. Of course if you don’t mind, then go for it.
A Few More Yard Sale Tips:
- Be prepared for the “junk” stuff you almost threw in the trash to sell for full asking price, while something you just knew would sell right away never does! It always amazes me what people buy!
- Make sure you have lots of small bills on hand, especially $1’s and $5’s; chances are you’ll be handed quite a few $20 bills and often for a $3 sale too!
- Keep your money on you – this is a good time for when of those old fanny pouches or have a designated person with a cash box. While most people are honest, you won’t stress as much if you’re not having to constantly keep an eye on your cash container on the other side of your driveway.
- Don’t waste your time and stand out there until 5pm in hopes that one more person may stop by and give you a dollar for junk! It may be different in other areas of the country, but around here, yard sales wrap up by 2 or 3pm and almost no one shops afterwards.
- Be friendly! It may be a little weird to see people picking through your things, but a simple “Good morning!” and smile can make everyone’s day better!
So there you have it. Remember to advertise for free, hang up good signs, set up smart, price well, and label too. Follow these simple yard sale tips and you’ll have a successful rockin’ yard sale!