How to Plan a Successful Yard Sale

As summer approaches, you may be doing some spring cleaning and considering having a yard or garage sale. Yard sales are a great way to get rid of unwanted items, provide people with inexpensive items they might need, and make a little spending cash while you’re at it. Just throwing some junk in your yard isn’t enough to make your yard sale a success, however. With just a little planning and time you can make your yard sale well worth the effort.

Advertise. If you live in a small town, or your house is located off the beaten path, you should consider advertising in a local newspaper. The people who read the yard sale advertisements are the ones that will seek out your yard sale, and more importantly, will make purchases. If you live on a busy street, within a subdivision where multiple yard sales may occurring on the same day, or you live in a large town where classified advertising is very expensive, skip this suggestion.

Post Signs. A few days before your scheduled yard sale, post some signs in your yard and on major streets near your house. Make the signs readable and large. Don’t use too many words on them. The words “yard sale” and the date of the sale is probably all you need. If you are using some signs for directions, be sure just to use a one line address rather than trying to give specific directions on the sign. If a prospective yard saler can’t read the sign from a car, it won’t be read.

Price Your Items. Many yard sale goers will simply pass up items if they don’t have a price tag on them. It will take some time to price your items, but it’s worth it. Pricing your items makes it easier for your patrons and you don’t have to worry about remembering what price gave for the sweater your latest customer is interested in.

Team Up. It always pays to team up with another person or two or three to make your yard sale extra successful. The larger your yard sale looks from the road, the more likely people are to stop. If you invite two or three friends to bring items as well, you will have more merchandise to offer patrons. Using keywords such as “multi-family” mentioned in an advertisement also will bring more customers. Just be sure to put your initials on your price tags so that you can write down who sold what and keep your earnings straight.

Keep Things Off The Ground. If it all possible, try to have enough tables to display all of your sale items on. Having items on the ground makes viewing them more difficult, especially for older people. If you must use the ground for some of your items, reserve it for very large items and kid oriented items such as toys.

Stay Firm, But Not Too Firm, On Your Pricing. Some people who frequent yard sales will see an item marked for $.10 and ask if you’ll take a nickel for it. Try to price your items with a fair price and don’t allow negotiating. This makes it easier for everyone involved. The only time prices should be negotiated is if the item is somewhat expensive, of if the customer is buying several items. For instance, if a person is buying several items that all add up to $10.50 and they offer you $10 for it, take it.

Be Prepared. Small preparations ahead of time will help your yard sale go smoothly the day of the event. First of all, make sure you have plenty of change. Many yard sale items are just a quarter or fifty cents and inevitably the first purchaser will give you a twenty dollar bill. Also, have some grocery bags to put your customer’s purchases in to take home. Finally, be sure to have a calculator available. Even if you’re great at math, trying to add up 15 little items at once can get confusing.

Be Ready to Box Up the Leftovers. The main goal of a yard sale is always to rid your household of unwanted junk. So once your yard sale is over, be ready to box up the leftover items and take them to Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or another donation center. You will be able to get rid of your extra stuff, you will receive a nice tax deduction, and someone will be able to purchase your unused items for a cheap price.

You won’t make a ton of money by having a yard sale. You will, however, get rid of some junk, make a few extra bucks, and have a good time, if you follow a few simple steps to make your yard sale a success.

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