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Tips for Hosting a Yard Sale

We’re planning a yard sale for May 15. Here are my tips from past yard sales:

  • Pick the right season- pick a season (or day) that is warm enough you want to hang out outside and cool enough to not be miserable.
  • Involve others- bigger is always better when it comes to getting people to stop at your yard sale. Invite family, friends, and neighbors to set up shop along with you. Then, advertise as a multi-family or community sale.
  • Advertise- I advertise on Craigslist and by posting signs.
    • Craigslist: include date, time, address or intersection, and if you don’t want early birds, say so! (Expect early birds and have in mind a way to deal with them. Early birds are usually looking for things dirt cheap or scour for valuable things for really cheap that they turn around and sell. I usually tell early birds to come back when we are all set up. If they start rifling through our stuff anyway, I never, ever give an early bird a great price. I think it is a rude practice and inevitably slows down my set up time every time.)
    • Posted signs: Be sure to remember where you put your signs so you can take them down promptly. Make your signs clear and don’t overwhelm them with details. Make sure you can read them from a passing car. Make the date and time large and use arrows. Use one color of paper and design style so people know they are following the right path. Put signs up at intersections near your house, but not too far away. Posting signs is illegal in many areas, so proceed at your own risk.
  • Don’t make price tags- People will disagree with this, but personally I don’t put a price on anything unless it is more than say $2 or $5. It is a waste of time, in my opinion, to tag cheaper items because people will haggle over everything anyway. Also if they talk to you about what they are getting you can upsell other things (e.g. “Did you see the bathmat that matches that shower curtain? How about both for $7?”) Also, price stickers makes clean up tougher because if you are donating leftovers some charities (almost all in my area) will not accept yard sale leftovers. So, if you have good stuff left over that is worthy of donating you would need to remove every tag.
  • Negotiate less at the beginning of the day when you have the most time to sell things. But, as the day goes on be willing to sell cheap. To me, the point of a yard sale is to get rid of stuff with the added bonus of making some money. Who wants to lug all of that stuff back in if it doesn’t sell?
  • Prepare lots of change and small bills and keep it close at hand. I like to wear my old reversible apron from waiting tables that has lots of pockets. Twenties and larger go into my pants’ pocket for security, but smaller bills and change stay in the apron.
  • Use plastic bags. In my world, these are normally evil, but they are just great for yard sales. When people have paid for their items, tie it up in a bag. It makes it easy to see what is paid for if they stick around to peruse.
  • Hold the cash that people give you in one hand or set it on a table while you make change. I’ve had people try to scam me by saying they gave a larger bill than they actually did. Don’t put their money in your pocket until proper change is given.
  • Keep track of the money you make. Either know exactly how much change you started the day with or keep a tally of each purchase. If you are selling items for other people, keep a small notebook and write down the price and their initials.
  • Table tops are premium real estate. While it is tempting to fill your card tables with knickknacks to make your sale look tidier, instead use table tops to feature the things that are most valuable. Use as many tables as you can! It is much easier for customers to see what you have.
  • Going through piles of clothes stinks. If you can keep clothes on hangers and hang them from a rack or tree branch, do so.


About More Green for Less Green

Hi, I’m Pamm. Welcome to my little slice of the web! As a progressive Evangelical female pastor and crunchy homeschooling mom, I’m never quite what anyone expects of me. But, hey, that’s what makes blogging interesting, right? Join me as I try to wholeheartedly parent my three little boys, slowly fix up the trashed foreclosure we bought in 2009, and live simply.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Ruthie July 12, 2010, 4:34 am

    Great post! Will be helpful at my garage sale this weekend! Thanks!

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