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Sell More at a Yard Sale

Updated on February 21, 2017
Virginia Allain profile image

Minimalism is catching on, and I'm excited about streamlining. I'm sharing what I've learned about decluttering and simplifying our lives.

Make More Money at a Yard Sale

I've been a seller and a buyer at many yard sales and flea markets over the years. It amazes me how poorly some sellers present their items

Merchandising mistakes cut into your profits. It's not good to just strew your stuff around the yard and expect the buyers to snap it all up. There are ways to get more sold and get top dollar for your items, but it does mean a little extra work for the person holding the yard sale.

Here are tips for making the most of a yard sale, garage sale or a flea market. Sell your household items and things you no longer want, while getting the most that you can for them.

Price the Yard Sale Merchandise with stick-on labels

Use tags or labels Price everything. Many shoppers hesitate to ask prices if the seller is pretty busy. Instead they'll just walk away.

Items with prices on them sell better. If the price is low, they'll grab up the bargain. If they're high, they might try to negotiate a reduction. With price labels, they know where they stand.

It also saves the seller from making a snap judgement while under pressure. By pricing everything ahead of time, you can consider what the item is really worth.

Tips for a Better Yard Sale - Videos from YouTube

Take a few minutes to view these. You'll pick up some good tips to make your sale more successful.

Lay the Sale Items out in an Attractive Way

Merchandise your sale items at the yard sale

See how nothing really stands out on this table. Jumbling everything together means casual buyers may miss things.

Have Some Low Prices to Entice Buyers - at the Yard Sale

Have some real bargains. Once someone picks up one thing, they are more likely to go ahead and select more items. They figure if they're going to the trouble of pulling out the wallet, they might as well get several things.

When you see someone with their arms full, offer to hold their items aside for them or give them a bag. Some quit shopping when they can't carry any more. Don't let that happen.

Do You Put Prices on Your Yard Sale Items?

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Display Garage Sale Items on Tables - and sell more things

Put smaller things up where people can see them. Items crammed into boxes higgley-piggley are difficult to see. Many buyers walk around quickly looking for things they might want. You see their eyes scanning, then disappointed they leave for the next sale. They don't want to bother rummaging in scruffy boxes.

Look around for any tables that you can take out to the yard or garage. Think of card tables, folding banquet tables, pingpong tables, and picnic tables. All of these give you raised surfaces to make it easy for browsers to see what you are selling.

Put your prime pieces front-and-center where they are easily viewed. If you don't have enough tables to hold everything, then put the high dollar things there and the cheap stuff on the ground.

Make Sure Your Merchandise Is Easily Viewed

Between customers, rearrange the merchandise giving overlooked items more favorable placement. Watch how people circulate around the tables and boxes. Are some areas being ignored?. Shift the tables, if you can, to get a better traffic flow.

See how grouping similar things together, they really catch the eye! Look at the example below:


Watch Out for Breakables

Don't place glass items near the edge of a table. It's too easy for them to get knocked off and broken. Shoppers are reluctant to pay for accidental breakage.

More Information on Signs Sells More

at the Yard Sale

Show how it is interesting or useful. Use colored paper or pieces of cardboard to make signs calling attention to special items. Use a big marker and print clearly. If the dessert dishes are ignored, make a sign saying "Have an ice cream party, $5 for whole set." If people keep asking what an item is, put a note on it explaining what it's for or how it's used. I sold a bag of wine corks for $1.50 by putting a note on it saying, "wine corks for crafts."

Wine corks for sale
Wine corks for sale | Source

Get the Buyer's Attention with Mark Downs

at your garage sale

Some items you may have overpriced or misjudged the appeal. If people constantly turn away from a certain item, mark it down if you really want to sell it. When you mark down a price, cross through the original price, then write the new price. That way the customer can see you've discounted it.

(photo by Virginia Allain)

Overcome the Buyer's Fears - How to sell electronics

Have an electric extension cord ready to plug an appliance up and demonstrate that it works. (Do not take them into your house to plug it in)

Give them your phone number and tell them if it doesn't work when they get it home, that they can bring it back and get their money back. Giving a guarantee can overcome their reluctance to take home a possibly defective appliance. If you know it works, then you have nothing to lose.

Clean Merchandise Sells Better

Clean up the things before the sale day. People will pay more for a set of clean dishes than they will for dusty ones that obviously have been in your garage for six months. Polish up any copper or silver items. Your elbow grease will pay off in better prices paid for items.

Supplies to Polish up Your Yard Sale Merchandise - available from Amazon

Tarnished silverware won't bring nearly as good a price as a sparkly well-polished set would. The only trouble is that you might decide to keep it when you see how good it looks after polishing.

Showcase the Expensive Items

with extra information

On expensive items, print out a description and price from an internet site like Amazon or tear a page out of a catalog. Highlight the original price, then mark your price with a bold marker. Tape it to the item for sale. This shows them what a bargain they're getting. It also answers some questions on the features of the item.

Get the Early and Late Buyers - to spend their money at your sale

At a flea market, let the other vendors pack up first. Keep your merchandise on display and you'll catch the compulsive shoppers who don't want to go home and the latecomers who are disappointed that half the booths are gone.

Be ready when the early birds come to your yard sale. Don't miss out if there's a buyer with money in hand. Don't discount the prices to early birds. You have plenty of time to make the sale, so don't get caught up in the fever of selling.

Best of luck on your yard sale!

Get an Inexpensive Cash Box - for all the money you're going to make

SentrySafe Cash Box, Locking Cash Box With Money Tray, Small, CB-10
SentrySafe Cash Box, Locking Cash Box With Money Tray, Small, CB-10

This one has a key. If you have someone stationed at a table to collect the money, this should work for you.


Share Your Best Yard Sale Tip - to make more money

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    • kittyhappykitty profile image


      4 years ago

      That is an excellent idea ^^ When people are packing up, we should stay open! You make me happy!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      5 years ago from La Verne, CA

      The yard sale is our next project for our house. We are trying to get rid of clutter. These tips will help a lot.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      @MaggiePowell: Excellent tips. Thanks for expanding on the topic.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Make sure everything is clean... and make sure everything is visible.

      Also, we sell snacks (one year we made a killing selling homemade kettle corn at our sale)

    • chas65 profile image


      6 years ago

      If they are allowed where you live, great signs will pull them in. But have someone check them in the middle of the day. Our last estate sale, a competitor was taking our signs down.

      We usually don't price anything below a quarter. Most people will pay a quarter if they will pay a dime. If it is hot sell iced down drinks. The customers will appreciate it and it makes a little money.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have done my share of successful yard sales. As a buyer on the other hand I am sometime amazed at the lack of preparation of some sellers.

    • franstan lm profile image

      franstan lm 

      6 years ago

      Wonderful ideas. Blessed

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Tons of great ideas. Very informative. I'd like to add this as a link on my Where to Sell Collectibles lens, if you don't mind.

    • marigoldina profile image

      Heather B 

      7 years ago

      It's too bad this lens doesn't get more attention. You've got some great ideas here!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Wonderful tips - I love garage sales and flea markets. They really are under rated in their value to consumers.

    • Frischy profile image


      7 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Some great ideas here! It really does seem like merchandising your items would increase sales.

    • MamaRuth profile image


      7 years ago

      Your lens makes having a yard sale sound like a great idea. (I'll need to remind myself that I have sworn off of these; I usually just donate to charity after I do a big clean out). You do have some very on-target ideas here. I agree that giving people a bag or offering to set aside their choices while they shop is a good way to increase sales. People just get tired and quit sometimes. Nice lens.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      You have some terrific tips and ideas here for everything from yard sales to flea markets. I've done both in the past and I agree with your advice for flea markets. Waiting a bit when the other vendors begin to pack up draws people past YOUR table(s). Your 'Showcase your expensive items' idea is one I'd never thought of -- it's great! Several times I've 'looked-up' an item online to learn the original price and get an accurate description so I can judge what I should charge for my item, but never thought about actually 'printing out' the information for a buyer. Best tip I've ever seen. Thanks so much! :-)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great ideas! It's too hot here for an outdoor sale, but I may plan one for the fall. I am amazed how "stuff" accumulates!

    • ZenandChic profile image


      7 years ago

      Great helpful lens! Blessing it!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      The last yard sale I had a few years back, I did all these things except the apron. I had a great 2 day total of $600. I need help now to do a yard sale, and can't find friends or family who are willing to take a weekend to do it. So I'm stuck with my stuff unless I sell it online. Great lens Virginia, thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the tips! Another tip I would add under Overcoming the Buyer's fears: make sure your items haven't been recalled & let your buyers know you checked. Buyers will be more encouraged to purchase your items, especially children's items, if they know the items are safe. Simply Check ( is a great tool to help with that.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      7 years ago

      Great tips for yard sales. Even though they can be worthwhile, I usually just donate my goods to the local charity. Easier that way and no haggling!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      7 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I place an ad on Friday mornings free on Craigslist for either single items I want to sell or I list under the Garage Sale category if I've got a lot of stuff. You can also upload 4 pics featuring a few special items you're selling to get more traffic.

    • ChrissLJ profile image


      7 years ago

      I love garage saling but will leave almost immediately if they don't have clearly marked prices. It's not worth my time or frustration asking about every single price of something that interests me.

      As a funny, yesterday I was at a garage sale where every item was over priced. She had things priced at twice their new value... such as a cheaply made quilt rack for $60. But the thing that took the cake... a rusted mattress spring for $3.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Great advice for holding a yard sale. I don't like those early birds who show up while you're still setting up so if I advertise, I usually list the starting time later because they're going to be there earlier than stated. (I'm not an early riser.)


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