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How to Have a Yard Sale

Updated on September 10, 2012

Are you tired of the clutter around your house? Want to make some extra money? A yard sale is a great way to accomplish both goals!

With a little thought and preparation ahead of time, you can have a very successful yard sale. Try these tips for making your sale successful!

Yard Signs
Yard Signs | Source

What to Sell?

The first step in preparing for a yard sale is to gather all the things you want to sell. If possible, put everything into one room or in your garage, so you can see it all together.

When you have everything together, take a look at the overall stash of items. Does it look like it will fill your garage or driveway? If not, you probably don't have enough items to hold a garage sale on your own.

If this is the case, and you still want to have a yard sale, start calling some of your friends and relatives! If anyone else has some things to sell, you can combine your items into a larger sale. As an added incentive, you can also then advertise yours as a "multi-family" sale, which usually attracts more customers!

When to Have a Yard Sale?

When picking a date and time for your yard sale, there are a few items to consider. In order to maximize your shopping traffic, follow these rules:

  • Avoid holiday weekends. Many people have other plans and won't come.
  • Avoid Monday through Wednesday. Most people are working on these days. Even if you are off, you won't get much traffic.
  • Use multiple days. While most of your traffic will come on Saturdays, consider having the sale on two days (Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday) to maximize the attendance.
  • Start early. Many junk dealers want to come to sales early! Start no later than 8:00 a.m., and be ready a few minutes before then to meet the early birds.

Advertising Your Yard Sale

Advertising is a very important part of a successful yard sale. Even if you live on a busy street, you can count on a lot more shoppers if you spend a little effort advertising ahead of time.

Again, think of this from the perspective of a shopper. How do shoppers know there is a yard sale? Usually it is either by seeing a sign or by reading an advertisement either online or in a newspaper. You will miss a lot of eager shoppers if you rely only on those who happen to drive by during your sale.

There are many places to advertise yard sales. If you choose to advertise in your local newspaper, you will need to place the ad at least one week prior to your sale in order to meet the print deadlines. Consider smaller local papers as well as larger city papers for maximum coverage.

With a quick search for "garage sale" online, you can find many sites on which to advertise your sale. Advertise on any sites that are free, and as many of the low cost ones as you can. In order to give your shoppers enough notice, you should advertise online at least one week in advance.

On the day before the sale, place signs at major intersections near your sale location if they are acceptable where you live (check for local ordinances against signs prior to posting them). Make sure you cover the most likely routes to your house, putting signs on each intersection with arrows in the direction they should drive. These signs should have the date(s) and hours of the sale to prevent the shoppers from coming on the wrong day.

Low Prices!
Low Prices! | Source

Yard Sale Prices

Putting a price on your yard sale items is probably the most difficult part of getting ready for a sale. While these are things you want to get out of your house, they are also things that, at one time, you either paid money for or were given by somebody. Because they still have some value to you, whether it be what you spent or the story behind receiving them, it's hard to put a price on them that will actually sell in a yard sale. You want to make as much money as you can on each item, but you also don't want to price things so high that you don't sell anything!

In order to price things appropriately, you first have to take the item's history out of the equation. Why? Because the person who wants to buy the item won't know or care about the history. They just want to buy something they like and get a good deal on it. So, think of yourself as the yard sale shopper who stumbles upon this item. How much would you pay for it? Again, keep the history aside, and look at it just at face value.

Yard sale shoppers aren't usually looking for specific items. While they may have a category in mind (such as "baby clothes"), most likely they aren't in desperate need of anything at your sale. The reason shoppers buy at yard sales is to find something they like and pay less than it is worth.

Think about when you are shopping at a yard sale. Are you looking for a specific item (a blue ceramic unicorn statue, for example)? Probably not! And even if you are, how likely are you to find exactly what you seek? You may find a unicorn, but it might be made of glass and not ceramic. Or, you may find a ceramic one, but it may be pink instead of blue. Or, you might only find regular horses! The point is that you have to be willing to price items as though you are selling a pink unicorn to the person who wants a blue one.

Put price stickers on ALL of your items. Yes, all of them! This eliminates confusion and keeps the shoppers from having to constantly ask you how much something is (which will cause them to get tired of it and leave without buying anything). It may sound like a lot of work, but it's worth the effort!

More Tips for a Successful Yard Sale!

Sales Tips - Set Up is Important
Sales Tips - Set Up is Important | Source

Setting Up for Your Yard Sale

Now that you have advertised your sale and priced all of your items, it's time to set up for the sale! Setup can be overwhelming, so I recommend that you do a bit of setup a few days in advance.

A Few Days Before the Sale

  • Put price stickers on your items.
  • Consider how you will arrange the items for your sale. How will the items be grouped?
  • Gather tables and chairs.
  • Determine where you will keep cash. A locked box is ideal.
  • Gather plastic bags to help shoppers carry items home.
  • Get some tissue paper to wrap fragile items for shoppers.

The Day Before the Sale

  • Get a lot of change. Some items may only cost 25 cents, yet someone may need to break a $20 bill. Your best bet is to go to the bank and get at least $10 in coins and some five and one dollar bills.
  • Make any signs that will be on the tables, such as "Baby Clothes 50 cents each".
  • Place signs along the route to your location.

The Day of the Sale

  • Set up tables and arrange the items. Put the largest, most eye-catching items closest to the street. These will entice shoppers to come and see what else you have to offer.
  • Get a cup of coffee and prepare to make some money!

Try these tips for your next yard sale and you will see the payoff immediately. With a little preparation ahead of time, you can have a successful and stress-free yard sale!


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    • Amy Gillie profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy Gillie 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      Thanks Crystal! I love the couch idea! I've done something similar when we moved to a new house. We moved everything that we wanted, then shoved the rest onto the driveway and had a sale until it was gone. No moving!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      A really fantastic hub. I've heard the best time to have yard sales is the first weekend of the month, when folks have some extra spending money. I personally only like yard sales when someone else does all the work! It's fun to see what people buy. Once, when I was about 11, my mother sold our old couch at a yard sale for $5! Anything to avoid having to haul it off!

    • adjkp25 profile image


      6 years ago from Northern California

      Who doesn't have some stuff they could get rid of? Good suggestions on the advertising side of it, I wouldn't have thought of them.

      Voted up and useful.

    • Amy Gillie profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy Gillie 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      Thanks Nare!

    • Nare Anthony profile image

      Nare Gevorgyan 

      6 years ago

      Very interesting! You have done a great job with this hub Amy. I bet many people will find this useful.

    • poppi profile image


      6 years ago


      You have taken the science out of YARD SALES theories.

      I like the way you showed us how and what to do. I like how you boxed the clothing, organized the books, keeping everything in order and priced each piece. I'm nt sure if I missed it or not but did you Itemize the goodson a paper so you could keep track along with the prices.

      Keep up the good work on your hub

    • Amy Gillie profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy Gillie 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      Thanks so much for the comments and shares!

    • alliemacb profile image


      6 years ago from Scotland

      A great guide to having a yard sale. It's not something that's very common here in Scotland but the same information would be useful also for car boot sales which are popular here. Voted up and shared.

    • ASchwartz profile image


      6 years ago from Kentucky

      Lots of good information. It can be confusing if you are having your first yard sale. Thanks.

    • Nettlemere profile image


      6 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      a logical guide and I liked the schedule at the bottom.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      6 years ago from Planet Earth

      What a thorough guide to having a garage or yard sale! I like the way you broke it into stages of planning; you covered all the details and organized it in a doable way. I've been wanting to have a sale - maybe I can do it now that I have these tips!

      Voted up and up, and socially shared.


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