Hello sweet Friends! If you’ve followed my blog for long, you know how much I LOVE yard sales. But I have also had over 25 yard sales of my own! I’ve learned a few things along the way and thought I would share what has worked for me to get the most out of all that hard work.
Let’s face it, shopping yard sales is way more fun than having them, but if you gotta do it, you may as well do it RIGHT, am I right?
Doing it right does NOT mean that you start digging through your attic the night before to see what you can get rid of. A successful yard sale takes planning.
Set a date and get started early. Set a date and start gathering your yard sale items two to four weeks ahead of time, depending on how big your household is. This will seriously cut down on the stress! Gather all of your items to one area. Leave no space untouched:
- Clothes closets
- Kitchen cabinets
- Linen closets
- Bathroom cabinets
- Storage units
- Coat closet
- Laundry room
Then call a friend or family member to join you. The more stuff, the better! I would limit it to three people/families max to keep it easy to handle.
Price everything. I mean EVERY thing. You don’t want multiple people shouting at you for prices while you’re already helping someone else. This is my biggest frustration as a yard sale shopper, and I often won’t buy anything if nothing is priced.
A couple more pricing tips:
- Price to sell or be willing to negotiate. The goal is usually to get rid of stuff!
- Price everything in 25¢ increments for easy adding. Avoid the “yard sale” stickers that are pre-priced.
- If more people will be joining you, have everyone use different colored pricing stickers to designate what items belong to which person. I always use green stickers I buy at Office Max in my area.
Use bins or boxes to keep everything organized and easy to shop. For items like my son’s clothes, I like to sort them into clear bins and add a sign to the outside:
They are so much easier to shop and sell like hotcakes at a dollar a piece, and I am thrilled that someone else will get good use out of them. Usually when the bin is almost empty, I will slash the price to 50¢, but almost all of them sold this year.
I organized my old scrubs the same way this year:
These are so much easier to shop than laying everything out on bed sheets on the ground, and I reuse the same clear bins year after year. If they are not in the budget, boxes in good condition will probably work too.
Bag items with multiple pieces. This is part of keeping everything organized. All you need are these two items:
Clear kitchen bags and gallon zipper bags.
- I organize so much with these. I put my son’s pajama sets in them:
- I group together toys with them:
- Seasonal items…this was a bag of miscellaneous Fall décor:
One lady bought both bags I had. I probably wouldn’t have sold it all had everything been laid out separately.
- And for all those little happy meal toys, goodie bag toys, etc that your kids accumulate throughout the year, I love to bag them as $1 grab bags, grouping like items together:
I sell a bunch of these!
Use ribbon or string to “package” items. Organize sheet sets, comforter sets, towels, etc by wrapping them with ribbon or string:
I wish now I would have grabbed those towels my Mom was selling…they were like brand new! Wrapping them this way made them easier to price too. Be sure to include details like sizes for sheets and curtains:
Get as much on tables as possible. My parents and I did craft markets for 15 years, so I am lucky that I have five five foot tables from that business to use, and I use them all, plus two card tables.
If you have to use two saw horses and a piece of plywood, if you have to drag your patio table around from the back yard, do it. Your yard sale will look more worth stopping at if everything isn’t just spread across the driveway.
As items sell, continue to move things up to the tables from the ground and reorganize.
Hang adult clothing if possible, or at least keep it off the ground. I have a four way clothing rack from my retail days long long ago. I used to go to the warehouse every year and borrow one and they finally just told me to keep it. Clothes sell really well and I know hanging them helps them sell better. You can also use two ladders and a large wooden dowel, but rig up something if you can.
If not, fold it neatly on a table like we did with our jeans:
Just try to keep it off the ground if you can. We used hang tags and I added a green sticker to those that belonged to me. You can barely see the clothes rack in the background there. For the hanging clothes we also used hanging tags and just added our color sticker to them, and hung them on the neck of the hangers.
Clean your items. No one wants to buy your dirt. I didn’t wash all the clothes because they were already clean, but I did wash many of the linens. If you are selling anything that can easily be wiped down with a Lysol wipe, take the time to do it. That goes for dishes, toys, baby gear, and anything else that can accumulate dirt and dust.
Make good signs. Making easy-to-read and easy-to-follow-at-45mph signs is SO important. I put my signs out just before opening at 8:00 am. (And yes we stay out there until 3:00. Unless you have city rules, why not make the most of all the hard work you did setting up?)
Here is my tried and true yard sale sign:
- Start with fluorescent posterboard. It is like 77¢ at Walmart, not a bank buster. I cut them in two to get two signs from one piece. And no need to bleed several black markers dry, opt instead for black craft paint and a brush to paint your signs.
- Large print that is easy to follow while driving! Unless you really live off the beaten path, keep it simple. Yard Sale. Time. Arrow. Keep all the signs the same color so shoppers know those are your signs and they are on the right path. (If you plan a Sunday sale as well, leave a space between the time and the arrow to add the word “Sunday”, and then take your paint and paint brush and go around and update the signs early Sunday morning.)
- Scrounge up some scrap wood to use as posts or stop in at the hardware store and cut a few pieces to mount your signs on. Cut the bottom at an angle to make them easy to get in the gorund. (We save the posts to use year after year…that is last year’s dirt. 🙂 )
- Let the top of the wood post stick up just enough that you can hammer the top of it without smashing your sign. Attach the posterboard with good quality tape. Now you don’t need to rely on lamp posts, sign posts, etc.
When putting your signs out on a busy road, don’t put them right at the intersection. Put them before the turn lane to give drivers enough time to get over.
Be a courteous neighbor and take your signs down when the sale is over.
Be ready to sell. (My Mom will love me sharing this picture of her from a yard sale we did a couple of years ago!) Designate one area to be used to take in all that cash you’re going to make. I use a small table at the front of my garage.
That’s our money box. She was selling it several years ago, and we ended up using it to collect the money. We use it every year now and call it our good luck charm.
Always keep an eye on the money! We remove the larger bills every hour or so and take them inside. (If you’re solo, opt for a fanny pack instead.)
We tally what we sell simply with a notebook and a list for each person with stuff to sell.
Here’s a couple more tips:
- Save several grocery and shopping bags the month prior in case someone needs a bag.
- Have newspaper, tissue paper, or small empty boxes handy if you have a lot of breakables.
- For change, start with $50 in ones, $50 in fives, and $3 in quarters if you can. That should ensure you have enough change to last the day.
Want to see the most ridiculous yard sale my family has ever had?
SO MUCH STUFF! This was at my sister’s house. She and my parents were getting ready to move. I wish I had taken more pictures!
I also wish I had taken more photos of our yard sale we just had, but we got so busy so fast. I think you get the idea though. Start early, organize and price everything beforehand. Make good signs.
- You can give a shout out on Facebook leading up to the sale and again the morning of with pictures, or list on Craig’s List a couple of days prior. You might need to if you live more off the beaten path.
I hope you are now feeling confident to go out there and make some money! If you have any other great tips I missed, I’d love to hear them in the comments. 🙂
I’ll be back on Tuesday with this shelf:
I’m trying to be good and work through all those small pieces left in my stash.
UPDATE: Check out how this little Home Interiors shelf turned out now HERE.
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