Yard Sale Tips

Do you need to clean up around your home and yard, and do you want to make some extra money in the process?  This page is dedicated to help teach you how to have a successful and profitable yard sale.  Collected here we have some of the best yard sale and garage sale tips based on our personal experiences that will save you time and money and will help you think of the things that need doing to ensure your success.

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- Find out what restrictions or rules apply to having yard sales in your community.  Some cities may require a permit or limit you to a certain number of sales per year. 
- Know your city laws regarding sign placement on public right of ways such as light poles, trees, fences etc.  Some are strict in violation enforcement.
- Be alert to what is going on in your neighborhood.  I’ve gone to sales where it was trash collecting day and the trash truck blocked the streets.  Another time the only street into an area was being paved that day!  Conversely, if there is a big parade or other event in your area and people have to go by your house to get to it, this could bring more customers.

- Make sure your signs are legible, neat, and sturdy with large lettering, arrows pointing the direction of travel, your address, and date of sale.  Use permanent marker and make the letters extra wide and dark. Large, bright signs made of sturdy cardboard or other firm material seem to hold up well and are noticed best, as do signs cut out in the shape of arrows showing the desired direction of travel.   
- Place signs at high traffic locations around your neighborhood. Signs in the back window or outside a car placed at strategic locations also catch the eye.
- Assume people do not know where your sale is.  Many times I’ve turned into a street that says “yard sale” only to come to an intersection with no other indications which way to go.
- Be sure all your signs look the same; this will assist people following your signs.
- Make your signs readable from two directions.
- Put up signs the evening before or very early in the morning on the day of your sale. If you are putting up signs the morning of the sale, get someone to help you so you will not leave your sale unattended or not open. Invariably people will show up at your home before you get back, so be ready for customers at the time your sign advertises.
- List your sale in your local newspaper a day or two before the sale and not just on the day of the sale.
- Advertise your garage sale on the web for free. There are many free listing sites available where you can place a free advertisement about your upcoming private yard sale, rummage sale, etc. 
- Be truthful!  Don’t say “huge sale” if it is small. Better yet, get together with someone else so you can have a really big sale to make it worth the while of your customers. 

- Confine the area of your yard sale to a back yard with only 1 entry, an area taped off with yellow plastic tape, a garage, etc. especially if it is a really large sale.  You will have better control.
- Be neat!  If things are jumbled, messy, dirty, or unattractive, customers will leave without making purchases.
- Have like items placed near each other, preferably on tables at waist level.  Keep small children’s books together, cookbooks together, tools together, dresses together, kitchen appliances together etc. If items do need to be on the ground, place tarps, plastic tablecloths, sheets, or blankets to keep items clean. 
-Anything really special or delicate should be up by the cashier or by a person designated to stay with it.
- Keep vintage and antique items in a separate area.
- If you have games or puzzles for sale, put them in plastic bags or tie them closed so pieces will not fall out.  If pieces are missing, put a note on the item so people do not buy them thinking they are complete sets.
- Consider hanging clothing from a clothes rack on a string or wire tied between two posts or trees. You can get more money for items placed in this manner than just dumping them on the ground.
- People will soon have your items on the ground jumbled together unless you have enough space to really separate them. 
- You might want to have a “parts” section for items such as screws, pot lids, crock pot parts etc. away from the main items.  Never think no one needs that spare part!
- Have enough people to assist or answer questions, and they need to know the right answers to questions that might be asked! If possible, have one person who is “in charge” to answer questions or have the final say.  Don’t let people rush you or badger you into changing your mind.
- Think of everything you could sell.  I have gone to sales before and asked if the person had an item, and people said, “Yes, I do but never thought of selling it.”
- Have extension cords plugged into an electrical outlet available for people to see if electrical things work.
- If other people are bringing items to sell at your garage sale, have them bring the things to your home the day before.  It is discouraging to get to a sale at the time appointed only be told, “So and so will be here later with more.”
- Consider selling home baked goodies, donuts, sodas, water, or hot chocolate depending on the weather.
- Have some bags/boxes available for those who might need them.
- Have a few papers with your name and phone number listed incase someone wants to call you back about an item to see if it has sold etc.
- Have paper and tape ready so if someone buys something but can’t take it right then, you can write “sold” on it.  If possible move this item back away from the sale.
- Remember, do as much as you can ahead of time.

- To eliminate confusion and make it easier for all, determine beforehand your prices on everything.  Mark all items clearly and visibly with a price sticker or tag on top, or have a uniform price for everything in that container or area so buyers know what items cost. No one should have to ask a price.
- Know ahead of time how firm your prices are going to be on items, especially bigger or older ones. Consider those things on which you are willing to accept offers.
- Have a   25¢ or 50¢ section.  Reasonable, lower priced items are more likely to sell than outrageously priced items.
- Be flexible – your prices may be too high, or you may be too attached to something to not realize it’s not worth your asking price.
- Some items are just junk!  Either put them in a “Free” box or just throw them away.
- Be sure items not for sale are out of sight so buyers will not get confused and try buying items you have not intention of selling.

- Have lots of quarters, dimes, nickels, dollars and five dollar bills.
- Watch out for foreign coins (pesos etc.), and counterfeit bills, especially $20 and anything bigger.  You might want to visit your bank and have them acquaint you with ways to detect counterfeit money before your sale.  You could refuse to take a bill of a large denomination; hold the item for a short period of time while the customer goes to the bank.
- Be sure you have enough help to watch what goes on. Have one person acting as cashier.
- If you have no one else to act as your cashier, storing your money in a fanny pack around your waist lets you be more flexible in your movement.
- You might want 2 cashiers if your sale is really big.  I have left yard sales without buying something I was “iffy” on, simply because I did not want to wait a long time to pay. Waiting in line a long time loses precious time to hit other yard sales!

- Parking and driving by a garage sale can be hazardous.  Many people double or triple park, leave cars running, don’t look when backing out etc. 
- Park your own vehicles elsewhere. 
- Try to have your yard sale in an area with ample parking.

- Remove or repair all potential hazards. (i.e. loose bricks that customers might trip over, broken sidewalk pieces, holes in the yard)
- Try to have everything for sell located outside of your house.  If people do have to enter the house and look at an item, have 2 people to take them inside.  Let no one into your house otherwise.  I know people that have had thing stolen because they let someone in to use the bathroom.
- Keep your sale items neat and organized so customers will not have a hard time getting around and will not have to step over or on things that might cause them to trip.

- Be prepared to start early and expect early birds.  You can sleep late another day.  Serious yard sale buyers are out early –even at the crack of dawn!   You would be better off to sell to the early comers and get on with your day.  The person who opens their sale early gets done fastest.
- If you really do not want early customers, place on your signs or in your yard, “No Early Birds”.
- If you say “No Early Birds” stick to your guns. Yard sale customers don’t appreciate having to leave a sale that said no early birds and then come back at the appointed time, only to find the people having the sale let others in before the supposed starting time.
- If you are part of a block sale, be sure you all open at once.  Nothing is more discouraging than to have a block sale advertised and you arrive and only one person is open at the appointed time.

- Check the weather forecast to know if weather is conducive for a sale and so you know what weather conditions to plan for.  Many die-hard yard salers will brave the elements, even on inclement weather days. You may want to include the posting “Rain or Shine” or give another date in case of rain on your sale posters or ads.  You may need to have your sale in a garage, tented area or have rocks or other heavy items to keep your wares from blowing away.
- If the weather is really hot, a tarp or covering is especially nice if the sun will be directly on the people visiting your sell.  For sure provide some sort of shelter for the cashier.
- If you set your items out overnight, remember dew will make them wet. Cover them with plastic for protection from moisture.

- Be friendly and courteous, but don’t get involved in lengthy conversations.  You need to pay attention to your yard sale and all your customers.  Most people are in a hurry to get to the next sale.  I have left sales before because people were smart alecks, rude, or loudly yelling at their kids etc.
- If you have children helping you with your yard sale, do not let them walk around “begging” people to buy or let them follow people around showing them things.

- Small complimentary cups of cold water are nice especially if it is really hot.
- Thank those who purchase items or have made the effort to attend your sale.

-Try to have items for sale ready at appropriate times.  You will sell the Halloween costumes, Christmas decorations etc. more readily a few weeks before an event rather than the week after.
- If you really want to get rid of things, before your yard sell gets too dead, you might start saying “a bag for a buck” or “10 items for a dollar” etc.

- Remove all signs after your sale is over.  If you have trouble remembering where you place signs, write down the locations of your signs as you post them.  Garage sale goers are easily annoyed by bum signs from past yard sales!

Have new, interesting things if you have frequent yard sales.  Don’t just set out the same things time after time.   If you have sales more frequently than 2 or 3 times a year, you are probably having them too often.

If the weather is not cooperating or you don’t have time for a traditional yard sale, consider taking your yard sale online.  From the convenience of your home and with a little computer time, you can sell unwanted items to buyers everywhere.  Simply write up descriptions, take some photos, and you are ready for business. Three well known sites to list your items on are ebay.com, craigslist.org, and buysellcommunity.com.

We wish you much fun and success with your future yard sale!



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