How to have a successful yard sale

“Have a yard sale.” They said. “It’ll be fun!” They said. Earlier this summer (and every summer, really) my kids asked if they could have a garage sale. Normally, my answer is no. My husband hates yard sales with a passion. Saturday is our relax day. Strangers pilfering through our junk and haggling over a quarter is not my idea of a good time. But I figured a few books and maybe a handful of McDonald’s toys wouldn’t hurt. Then my neighbor said they were having a yard sale and asked if we wanted to join them.

I’m not good at neighbor relations. Scratch that. I’m terrible at neighbor relations – epic comedy gold, terrible at neighbor relations. I like these ones, though, and they seem to like us enough to engage in conversation, so I’m trying to keep it that way. I’m trying hard. And I agreed to a yard sale.

Now, I thought I had decluttered sufficiently over the winter and that we didn’t really have enough to add. No. I’ve been working on this for two weeks and my side of the garage is full – and I haven’t even made a dent in the clutter! We might need two yard sales.

How to have a successful yard sale.

  1. Big. Bright. Clear. Signs.

I’ve noticed this is the downfall of many yard sales. Tiny signs on 8×11.5 printer paper, hand written in in sharpie, and stapled to a random street sign won’t cut it. Poster board is 50c at the dollar store and comes in super neon. Use it. Stencil GIANT letters with a clear address. Staple it to some paint sticks so it doesn’t fold in the wind. Make more than one!

     2. Price it right. 

People tend to overprice their own stuff. I’ve noticed this, especially on online flea markets. We have an emotional attachment to our stuff, whether we like it or not. And we know how much it cost. But this stuff is used and probably not in the greatest shape. If you have a local thrift shop, go look at their stuff. See how it’s priced. These people price junk for a living.

     3. Clean it up.

Grab soap, a bucket, and a rag and wash everything down. I learned this from selling at a local consignment store. Not everyone can see a gem underneath a layer of dust and a quick wipe-down  can make a difference. You can also charge more for something that’s clean.

      4. Display everything.

Don’t just leave all your old cookbooks in a box. Lay them out. Tables are best, but if you don’t have any, just make sure everything is lined up, grouped with like items, and easy to see at a glance.

      5. Advertise online.

Use Craigslist and local groups to tell people about your yard sale. It’ll bring extra traffic.

      6. Check local laws.

Our local laws are pretty lax. You just have to remove your signs by sundown. But some municipalities aren’t so easy going. Check. The last thing you want is a big ticket. Also, if you’re selling children’s items, make sure you’re in compliance with the new laws.


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