Guide to Hosting a Successful Yard Sale
Guide to Hosting a Successful Yard Sale

Guide to Hosting a Successful Yard Sale

You’ve cleaned out your closets, organized the garage and purged your kitchen cabinets …. now you’re ready to make a few extra bucks and host that yard sale you’ve been planning. But where to begin? Hosting a successful yard sale takes some strategic planning and hard work, but it can certainly pay off if you take the time to do it correctly. Whether you’re decluttering for an upcoming move, downsizing or just putting the finishing touches on this year’s spring cleaning ritual, here is your guide to putting together a successful yard sale.

What You’ll Need

  • Calculator
  • Change (Plan to have $50 in ones, $25 in fives, several 20s and a roll of quarters)
  • Notebook and pen (to track sales)
  • Tables for display items
  • Rolling rack for clothes
  • Measuring tape (so people can measure their treasures)
  • Signs
  • Price tags

Timing Is Everything
Summer and early fall months are usually the best times for a yard sale. Schedules tend to be more flexible and the weather is generally more agreeable. Attract early birds by getting a 7 a.m. start and wrap things up by 3 or 4 p.m.

Choose Merchandise Wisely
The first trick to having a successful yard sale is selling things people actually want to buy. That cat vase your mother-in-law made in grade school may be cute, but chances are it’s not exactly an in-demand item. Dishes, furniture, cookware, baby gear and gadgets are typically on buyers’ most-wanted lists. Home décor accessories, such as mirrors, throw pillows, frames and artwork are also smart options. Make sure they’re in pretty good shape, of course. Stuffed animals and outdated electronics (like your “vintage” VCR) may be tougher to unload and are best donated or tossed. Don’t bother trying to sell broken or damaged goods

Pro tip: If you have more valuable, higher end, brand name items you’d like to try and sell for a higher price, don’t sell them at your yard sale. For antiques or valuable items, contact an appraiser or ask your move manager to help you find the right home for them. Online platforms like eBay, Craigslist or your local Facebook Swap N Shop groups are great places to try and sell gently used, high-end items for a good price. Same goes for large items you need buyers to come pick up (thing pool table, couches, etc.)

Categorize & Organize
Create boutique-like shopping vignettes by displaying like items together and displaying them neatly. Think from a shopper’s perspective: Would you rather dig through a box of books, or skim a row of neatly lined-up books, spines out? Would you prefer to rummage through a stack of T-shirts or browse a rack of hanging clothes? If you have time, create signs for each section.

Price Items Realistically
Visit your local thrift store, or better yet, drop by a few yard sales in the weeks leading up to yours. Get a feel for how much items are selling for and follow suit. Remember—while your goal is to make money, you also want items to move. Whatever you don’t sell, you’ll end up having to donate or trash. We think these pricing suggestions from Real Simple are excellent. 

Hardcover books: $1 (paperbacks, two for $1)
CDs and DVDs: $1
Mainstream brand-name clothing: $5 to $15
T-shirts: two for $1
Shoes: $5 to $10
Costume jewelry: $1 (or $5 for a few items)
Coffee tables: $50 to $100
Dining chairs: $25 to $150 each
Dishes and glasses: $5 to $30 for an eight piece set
China: $1 to $10 a plate
Kitchen gadgets: $1 to $5
Lamps: $5 to $30
Mirrors and artwork: $1 to $10 (small); $30 to $100 (large)
Sofas: $150 to $300
Board games: $1 to $5
IKEA anything: 30 to 50 percent of the original price

Spread the Word!
Social Media, bulletin boards (think grocery store, rec center, etc.), your local newspaper and strategically placed signs are all smart ways to advertise your upcoming yard sale. If you have space, give people an idea of what to expect by writing down specific things like, “Furniture, Baby Gear & More!”

Lastly, plan to donate whatever you don’t sell at the end of your yard sale — don’t fall into the trap of holding onto things you’ll never use again!

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