This summer I had my very first major yard sale. I had sent a box or two of stuff to be sold at yard sales family members were having, but this was my first real yard sale.
I have heard people complain again and again about how much work it takes to have a yard sale, which made me pretty nervous. Would I make enough money to justify the effort? Would I hate the whole process? Would I wish I had donated everything instead?
I am pleased to report that I was thrilled with the outcome of my yard sale! In fact, I can’t wait to have another one. I earned $150 without very many high priced items.
10 Tips for a Successful Yard Sale
1. Do it with a Friend – I did yardsale with Emily, a close friend. It made the whole experience so much better to do it with a friend. (Plus she hosted it at her house, which only made it even easier for me!!) Also, being able to advertise the yard sale as a “two family sale” made it even more appealing for people to come since they could expect more items than at a single family sale. Another big perk is that you can divide the prep work: making signs, getting change, borrowing tables, advertising the sale.
2. Collect Items Over Time – I had several “yard sale boxes” in my attic waiting for the day when I would finally host a sale. Having all of those items already set aside was super convenient. I can’t imagine the stress of trying to declutter my house in the same month or week as a yard sale. Plus, setting these items aside as soon as I knew we were done with them, kept my house less clutter than if I waited to declutter all at once because of a sale.
3. Don’t Have a Yard Sale Every Year – Many people might disagree with this tip, but I think a big part of our success was that Emily and I had some really nice items that we had decluttered over the past couple years. The longer that you wait between yard sales, the more high quality items you’ll have to sell.
4. Organize Kid Clothing by Size as You Declutter – I have saved the majority of our kid clothing, but from the moment that Grace started to outgrow her newborn clothes, I knew that there were some items I wouldn’t want to save for future babies. I separated those items by size and packed them away in plastic grocery bags marked with the size. When I pulled out the boxes of yard sale clothing for this sale, I didn’t need to spend any time sorting the items by size. It was a huge time saver!
5. Price Items Over Several Days – I started pricing items for this yard sale 2 weeks before hand. It was much easier to find smaller chunks of time price the items rather than doing it all in one day. It also prevented mental fatigue! Whenever I started to feel weary of the process, I stopped!
6. Price Items to Sell – Translation: Don’t try to get top dollar for items at a yard sale! If you want top dollar, then try to sell your items on Craigslist, Ebay, Facebook Yard Sale Groups, or at a consignment shop before having a yard sale. The main motivation of a yard sale should be to get rid of items!
My friends were very helpful and gave me great advice on how to price my items to sell for yard sales in my area. (Prices probably vary from area to area.) I ended up pricing the majority of my stuff for $0.25, $0.50, or $1.00.
Emily and I decided to price all of our kid clothing for $0.50 a piece. However, I priced some items for $0.25 that didn’t look as nice and other items (some clothes were brand new) for $1.00 or $2.00.
7. Prep the Night Before as Much as Possible – In our area, people start to show up at yard sales as soon as they see you pulling things out regardless of what start time was advertised. We were very thankful that we had pulled all of our items out of boxes and displayed them on tables the night before. In the morning, we were quickly able to carry the tables out of the garage.
8. Display Items Well – Emily was able to borrow several tables from family, which helped us display items. We put like items together (ex: baby table, toy table, kitchen table, etc.). Plus, Emily swears by hanging clothes. We didn’t hang any kid clothes, but we did hang several men’s shirts. The shirts we hung sold much faster than the ones folded in a bin.
9. Advertise the Sale – Emily and I took pictures of items we were selling. She shared the sale in a local Facebook group, and I shared the sale on Craigslist. Emily also set up signs for the sale a couple days in advance.
10. Donate (and Save!) the Leftovers – After the sale was over, Emily and I went through what was left and saved the nicer items for a future yard sale. We both ended up with 2-3 boxes to try to sell later. The rest of the leftovers were immediately taken to a thrift store. It was incredibly freeing to go home with a small fraction of the items I had come with, which truly added to the success of the sale.
3 Things We Could Have Done Better
1. Join a Community Yard Sale – Community yard sales are a big deal in our area and attract a lot of people, but Emily and I had already missed her neighborhood’s event.
2. Advertise to People We Know – Except for the Facebook Yard Sale Group, Emily and I didn’t share with anyone else in our community that we were having a sale. Emily was selling some nice baby items, and it would have been great to let expecting moms in our church know about the sale. But how do you do that without being spammy? We probably should have posted about the sale on our personal Facebook profiles.
3. Sell Food – Emily says that some people have a lot of success selling doughnuts or hotdogs at yard sales. This is especially great for community yard sales where people are walking around long enough to build up an appetite. Emily’s kids sold lemonade at our yard sale, but that was more for the fun experience rather than for profit.
Love yard sales? Read: 4 Questions I Ask Before Bringing Home a Freebie or Buying a Good Deal
What are your best yard sale tips?