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How To Make Your Next Yard Sale A Smashing Success!

Updated on April 10, 2012
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Yard sale advice from an expert!

I guess I would call myself an expert on yard sales. I've been to hundreds and helped host quite a few. Unless things have changed over the past few years, these tips should help you with your next yard sale! Good luck!


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Pick A Date


Pick a date to have your yard sale. The best times seem to be Friday and Saturday or maybe even both days! Look ahead and make sure your yard sale doesn't coincide with a holiday. People might be off work, but it's doubtful they will attend your yard sale. They're probably planning on spending time with family.

Putting an ad in the local newspaper advertising your yard sale is a must! Pick a few of your special items and list those to garner interest. Also, put the times your yard sale will be open. Most usually start around 6 or 7 a.m. If you don't want people rummaging through your stuff earlier than your posted times, put something like "no early-birds!" in your ad. They know who they are!



Find Items To Sell


Go through your attic, closets, and basement to collect unwanted items. Make sure they are all in good working order. No one wants that handle-less pot any more than you did when you threw it in the basement! Take this opportunity to send things to the trash, too!

Clothing is always a good item to sell. If you find clothing that is blemished, but could be worn, you might think about being honest and point out the flaw with a piece of tape or paper. True, you might not sell it, but do you really want those butt-less dress slacks on your conscience? Now butt-less chaps, that's another thing entirely. Those are hard to miss, so tape and paper won't be necessary. Consider modeling those for the yard sale crowd! You might just sell them!

Clean the items you want to sell as you go! You know you won't remember to go back and clean the candle wax off that votive holder and that could cost you a quarter!

Remember! No broken, dirty, or holey items in your yard sale! Learn it. Live it. Know it!


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Ticket Every Item


There's nothing I hate more than having to ask the price of something at a yard sale! It puts me on the spot and I feel like I have to explain myself if I think that's too high. I don't ask for a lower price when I go to yard sales, but I have been asked if I would take a lower price when having one. Price your items and leave room for haggling. If you price something at five dollars and that's as low as you'll go, think about marking it seven dollars giving you a two dollar cushion. You just saved the day and the customer can now go buy a couple of dollar items off the McDonald's menu for lunch! That kind of makes you look like a hero! Go you!

There's no need to buy special sale tags to price your stuff with, either.I've seen some people use duct tape, box tape, notebook paper pinned on and taped on, but I don't like using any of those. What I have done is used a sticker sheet that I had left over from one of the many crafting projects. It's the ones where you design and print your own stickers. You could take the time to print out prices, but I just cut the sheet up into little squares and wrote on them with an ink pen. Fast and easy!


Set Up Your Yard Sale


Borrow tables from neighbors and family to put your wares on. Do not, I repeat, do not throw things on the ground on a blanket to sell. I've seen this so many times! I don't even stop when I see that someone has done this. If you can't be bothered to price and put your items on display nicely, I can't be bothered to buy anything from you!

Group like items together. That way you don't have a vase with the books and a book with the fishing tackle. Sure items will be moved around during the day, but at least you got a pretty start!

If you have TV's, radios or anything that's electric, have an outlet so the customer can test these items. It will put their mind at ease and you might just make a sale!

Have a checkout stand so the customers can see where you are and where to pay and maybe have an area to hold items while people look at other things, too. I'm sure you won't be having any shopping carts at your yard sale, plus they can be a pain rolling on the grassy knolls, so do this as a courtesy. It's just a nice thing to do.


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Have A Locking Cash Box


I've always had a locking cash box when we've had yard sales. I go to the bank the day before and get plenty of ones, fives, tens, and twenties to start out with. There's nothing like having that very first person buy a twenty-five cent item and give you a $100! Get some coins in all denominations to make change, too. Oh, having a calculator on hand would be a good idea, too!


Offer Specials


Offer to sell items cheaper if the customer buys more. For example: 1 CD is $2, but if you buy 3 you can get them all for $5. This is a good way to get rid of some crappy CD's. Polka For Youngsters and Music To Potty To are just a couple of examples.

Have quarter mystery bags! These are fun and you can put all those little items like mini screwdrivers and kid's meal toys in them. Usually anything you'd sell for a dime should be bundled in the quarter mystery bags. Get rid of it! Note: no matter how tempting it is, do no put broken items or dead batteries in the bags! This will make you a bad yard sale host and the word might get out that you sell your trash rather than throw it away!


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Offer Bags At Checkout


Everyone I know has dozens of plastic and brown bags they either haven't taken to be recycled, or are just holding on to. This is a great time to use them! Offer them when the customer pays. If they only have one item, don't worry about it, but if their arms are full, please offer them a bag.

Also, have newspaper available if you are selling glass items. No one wants to buy a pretty set of glasses and have only two make it home. Wrap those items and make someone happy!


MCN: W6S9U-UP87B-AF1KE © copyright 2012-04-10 11:37:13 UTC - All Rights Reserved
MCN: W6S9U-UP87B-AF1KE © copyright 2012-04-10 11:37:13 UTC - All Rights Reserved

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    • EclecticFusion profile image
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      Lisa 5 years ago from Tennessee

      Brett, I never thought about chaining the cash box, but it's a great idea! Thanks for the comment and for sharing!

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      Very good tips. The idea of advertising a yard sale I would not have considered, but it makes sense, especially as the advert is free. It is also very important to have a lockable box and if you live in a troublesome area, you may want to consider chaining it down too lol.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • EclecticFusion profile image
      Author

      Lisa 5 years ago from Tennessee

      kj force, sounds like your social affair, uh, yard sale was a success! I like the idea of having a place to try on clothes, I'm sure that helped you sell more! My nieces used to make Rice Krispies Treats and sell those along with lemonade. We definitely made it a family affair!

      Thanks for the comment!

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 5 years ago from Florida

      Very informative Hub..you sound like a pro-yard saler. My daughters/friends/grandchildren and I had a yard (barn) sale, each used a different color tag ( could distinguish $ made after)The children set up a water/juice/soda table..people were very receptive, and purchased more items.We also set up an area to try clothes on..Yes, we used re-cycled plastic bags. Anyone with children got a free gift ( toy,book,etc) people also wrote names/phone#/e-mail so we can inform them of our next sale...thanks for all your ideas..We made it a social affair...

    • EclecticFusion profile image
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      Lisa 5 years ago from Tennessee

      Jackie, they are a lot of hard work and I haven't had one myself for years! Thanks for the comment and votes!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Great hub, I love yard sales, but not having them...so much work. I too hate seeing blankets on the ground with stuff and pass them right on by and I will leave a yard sale immediately if stuff is not priced. Gee to have to ask about everything that interests you? That is really lazy...and stupid if you want to make money. Interesting and useful!

      Jackie

    • EclecticFusion profile image
      Author

      Lisa 5 years ago from Tennessee

      Dee aka Nonna, that table idea with certain price points sounds like a good one! I might just use that next time, but I would still put a color dot or something on the items to tell which table they came from.

      Thank you so much for your comment and passing this along! I really appreciate it!

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago

      Really enjoyed reading this hub. I, personally, have only had one garage sale in my life. It was so much work that I really didn't want to try it again. Now that I am older I can see all the things I did wrong that made it that much work.

      I read a hub recently about selling things on ebay...in order words, I have been doing a great deal of research in order to help my daughter-in-law. There are some things she will be able to sell on ebay or craigslist...no problem, but she has so much stuff from 3 kids and her sister have 2 kids... with grandparents, aunts and uncles constantly buying for these kids there are items that are barely worn and some still with price tags. We saw something at a church sale recently where they priced everything one price...no negoiating was necessary. So we thought separate the items and each table will have one price for each item and of course, 3 for $ or 5 for $ .. it would make it less time consuming.

      Thank you for writing this.... I will pass along to her what you said about picking the right date and not placing anything on the ground on blankets.