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Any advice for throwing a yard sale?

May 20th, 2009 at 08:49 am

I'm having my very first yard sale this summer. We really need to clear away clutter now that we have another baby on the way. Plus, I really feel the need to minimize.

Do you have any tips on how to throw a successful yard sale?

7 Responses to “Any advice for throwing a yard sale?”

  1. momcents Says:


    The best advice I ever received was have $ tables - one table of $5, $3, $2 items. Mark your larger things accordingly. Also have your plan for discarding items ready when the sale is over (whether it is donating books to a school, puzzles to a nursing home, or everything in boxes for a Monday pick up of Amvets).

    Good luck with your sale!

  2. Valerie Says:

    um, i would like to have one myself this summer. i like the suggestion above, table prices.

    also in my town we need to get a permit to have a garage sale from the town. not sure if you need to do that as well, but it's the only thing i can think of.

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    My friend is an evil mastermind of garage sales. Here are some of her nuggets of wisdom (and things I've observed over the years).

    Place an ad in your paper and possibly online (craigslist or there are a few yardsale sites). Make signs with large neat accurate lettering (thick black letters on fluorescent yellow is best, on white is second best. Don't use brown cardboard) and arrows and place on corners leading up to your sale (nailed to stakes; get someone to check them periodically to make sure they're still there).

    Put some bright, big items (toys, furniture) within view of the street, to draw people in; they feel uncomfortable wandering into your yard or garage if it isn't clear the sale is there.

    Set your table and chair off to the side, so people don't feel scrutinized while they shop.

    Get tons of quarters and small bills from the bank.

    Lay everything out on tables and blankets; don't make people rummage too much. Fold clothes neatly. Hang dresses if you can. Label prices clearly. Make prices consistent for similar things ($1 for top, $2 for pants, $1 hardcover, 50 cents paperback, etc.) Don't price lower than a quarter for ease of counting change (unless it's 3 for a quarter or something).

    Arrange by type of object; kids' clothes one table, adults another. Art in one area, books in another. Kitchen stuff here, knickknacks there. Make sure there's room in between for people to move around.

    Be willing to bargain. Set your prices cheaper than you think things are worth, and be willing to knock it down even further. Otherwise things will not move. People are looking for incredible bargains, so if you think something's really valuable, sell on eBay or somewhere. (Be more willing to bargain for bulk buyers than people buying one item that's already well-priced. Even if you say "no" to an offer, don't be hostile about it, and consider making a counter-offer in between.)

    Offer sodas, water or coffee (depending on temperature) for just-over-break-even prices. Have music playing softly, so if one person is shopping they won't feel it's eerily silent.

    Consider running Friday and Saturday, and steadily offering bigger discounts throughout Saturday, including "all the clothes you can fit in a bag for $3" or similar.

    If you don't feel like humoring early comers, don't. Tell them to come back when sale officially starts. They are scavengers and will be used to being told this by seasoned yard-sale-holders.

    Keep bigger bills in a fanny-pack and periodically send someone in the house to stow them in a safe place.

    See if Goodwill will pick up your leftovers, so you don't have to haul the junk back in your house.

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    I will second everything that ceejay said.

    Our last sale we had $75 in cash to begin with. $10 in quarters, $25 in 1's and $40 in 5's. A fanny pack that stays on your body is great, so that no one can run off with your cash while you are helping someone else!

    I live off a main road that is easy to find, so I was even able to get by with just signs and a free craigslist ad. I use bright yellows signs with black wide magic marker letters!

    Organize like with like. Dust things off, fold t shirts, hang nice clothes. Shoes under tables. You will have to reorganize as the sale goes; people move things around.

    Good luck!

  5. Ima saver Says:

    I also had a free pile. As the day went on, I added more and more stuff to the free pile so i would not be stuck keeping something I no longer wanted.

  6. pretty cheap jewelry Says:

    THE BETTER YOUR STREET SIGNS THE BETTER YOUR ATTENDENCE!

    no exceptions imo!

    I had a craft event a year ago and made signs that were similar in style (rimmed with leftover Xmas tinsel which catches a driver's eye!) and placed them EVERY 500 feet or so for a MILE all directions from my home.

    Yes it's alot but I used cut up boxes (the brown cardboard) and had my kids paint in big BLACK or RED letters (doesn't wear out so many markers).

    We had 5 vendors and did an average of $100 ea.

    sorry for the shouting, but it worked for me Big Grin

  7. LuxLiving Says:

    Put something in the crockpot for supper later. You most likely won't feel like cooking, or be prepared to send husband for burgers or call in a pizza.

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