How to Have an Awesome Yard Sale
  June 2017


Need to make some extra cash? Need to get rid of some of the extraneous things cluttering up your home and garage? Having a yard sale is a great way to answer both these needs. I am the local “Yard Sale Queen” among my friends and family and I have gone to hundreds of yard sales and hosted quite a few myself. I’ve discovered new neighborhoods, find awesome items for cheap and had quite a bit of fun.


Here are some tips on how to have a successful yard sale.

  • Team up with your neighbors or friends in hosting a yard sale;
    • The more items for sale will draw more customers.
  • Advertise:
    • Post an ad on  Craigslist with directions and other Social Media sites
    • Make colorful, legible signs (date, time, address) with arrows that people can read from the road in a moving car at the main intersections (both ways) and the side streets leading to your house;
    • Get creative with signage: use terms like “Awesome” or “The Best Yard Sale Ever!”
    • Place balloons or a sandwich board sign at your yard entrance. Please don’t forget to take the signs down after the sale!!
  • Make your sale space attractive and accessible-so important:
    • Set up tables and “merchandise”-this means putting like items together and creating scenes like they do in department and home goods stores, e.g. all kitchen
      yard sale
      courtesy of YardSaleBloodBath

      items on one table and perhaps creating a kitchen vignette-table with a place-setting; put pretty table cloths on tables;

    • Run a live electrical extension cord so buyers can test your electrical appliances; set up a rack for clothes and a mirror;
    • Play some upbeat music; make your place look like a boutique;
    • Consider setting up a children’s section so kids can play and parents can shop.
  • Clean and prepare items:
    • Clean all items (nothing is worse than picking up a dirty kitchen appliance).
    • Have everything easily accessible-do not leave boxes right in front and below tables-this prevents buys from getting in close to the merchandise on top of the tables.
    • Don’t leave lots of random items in boxes-yes, some people will rummage through these, but most won’t.
    • Put batteries in things that require them.
    • Don’t set up items so people trip over them; organize the items so there is a flow of traffic.
  • Be a Good Cashier and Negotiator:
    • Have about $100 cash bank, in $1s, $5s and quarters
    • Wear a fanny pack or an apron with pockets as a way to stash cash.
    • It is wise to offer some Free items, but only to people who buy other items (free book or CD with a purchase).
    • Learn how to haggle wisely-sometimes it is better to let something go at a lower price than to have to haul it away to Goodwill later. And sometimes it is wiser to hold out and post the item on ebay or craigslist than it is to let a valuable item be dramatically undersold. (do some research on these sites with comparable items if you are unsure)
    • You should expect to get about 10 cents on the dollar for used items, e.g. a coffee maker that you bought for $50 and is in great shape should warrant a $5 sticker at most. But take $3 for it if offered.
    • Put price stickers on your items, but be willing to negotiate with buyers-this is part of the fun for yard salers. (If you have antiques or designer clothing, consign those items.)
    • Have on hand plenty of boxes, shopping bags and old newspapers to help shoppers package their goods.
  • Keep an eye on your house: don’t let strangers go unattended into your home or garage.
  • Consider having refreshments: Set up a cooler with small bottled water for free; sell some refreshments at minor costs. Get the kids involved.
  • Think about the weather: have tarps or tents ready or an
    courtesy of

    alternative rain date.

  • Make it Fun:
    • Set a relaxed tone where you are willing to interact with people and make them feel comfortable.
    • If you have kids, train them not to “attack” potential buyers with all sorts of “helpful buying suggestions”-have them sell the lemonade and brownies and sharpen up their math skills with the cash transactions.
  • Have a Back up Plan: with what to do with leftovers;donationbox
    • Drop off immediately to a charity
    • Place some items out on the curb with a “FREE”” sign.
    • Try to resist bringing stuff back into the house, unless of course they are of value and can be posted on Craigslist.
    • Bring certain items to the recycling center of your city’s public works department (eg. TVs and computers)
    • Put some stuff in the trash and your recycling bin.