If you want to make some extra money while downsizing your home or just cleaning out your garage, then you're going to want to host a yard sale (or garage sale). Utilize these tips and tricks to increase your chances of having a successful yard sale that gets you some additional cash while also freeing up some extra space in your home.
'Yard sale' and 'garage sale' will be used synonymously throughout this article.
How to Plan a Yard Sale
1. Work with Others
Ask your family and friend to assist you with the sale. The more people helping out, the easier the sale will go. In addition to that, you can allow them to sell their own item. If they sell their things as well, it expands what is being sold which increases the amount of people who want to stop by and potentially buy one of the items.
2. Schedule the Sale
For the best results, a Saturday and Sunday sale is recommended over a one day sale. If you're an early bird be ready by at least 8 a.m. to allow people to look around throughout the morning and early afternoon. Plan to end around 2 p.m. in the afternoon, but if you have the time, they typically end around 5 - 6 p.m. When the last day comes, be prepared to mark down the remaining items to increase the possibility of them being sold.
3. Check the Weather
Once you set your dates, have a gauge on what the weather will be like and establish a backup date in case the weather isn't in your favor. If the weather ends up not going your way and you have space in your garage, you can move your racks and tables inside and open pop-up tents for what you can't get into the garage. A cheaper alternative than pop-up tents is clear tarps to protect the tables that don’t make it inside.
4. Get the Word Out
Now that you're ready for your yard sale, it’s time to spread the word. The most important aspect of having a garage sale is advertising it. Make some physical signs and digital posts several days in advance. Post your signs in and around your neighborhood and immediate community. Make your posts on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, in Facebook Groups, and ask your nearby family and friends to share a post or two that you've made.
Additional Tips for Yard Sale Advertising
Make posts specifically for any more expensive items on Facebook Marketplace and include the details about your sale.
Yard sale signs should be basic and legible from a distance. Use big, bold letters on a bright background to catch more eyeballs.
If the forecast calls for rain, waterproof your signs so they don't get ruined.
If your home is in a cul-de-sac or a road with less traffic, put your signs at intersections close-by.
If you’re collaborating with others that are selling their things too, determine who has the most bustling neighborhood and have the sale there.
5. Round Up Your Yard Sale Necessities
By the time of your yard sale, you’ll want all of these supplies:
Tables and elevated flat surfaces to display items
Calculator (or a smartphone)
Money tray, cash box or apron
Stickers for pricing
Clothing racks and hangers
Extension cords for appliance testing
At least 2-3 volunteers to help
Pro Tip: Make sure to always have a lot of ones and fives. To avoid worrying about keeping track of coins, list your prices ending with whole dollars.
What to Sell at a Yard Sale
It can be enticing to just toss everything you don't want anymore into the “sell” bin. The most successful sales though are when buyers see the right things.
If you decide to sell some more valuable items, try selling them on Craigslist, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace before your garage sale. If they don't end up getting sold, put them out at your sale, but don't be surprised when people try to get them for a bargain.
Here are some of the highly ticketed items to sell at a yard sale, and how to display them to attract the most customers:
Appliances: No matter if they're antique or modern, you can effortlessly sell appliances at a yard sale. Be sure to clean them as best as possible and have them within reach of a power strip to be tested. If you have them, include owner’s manuals.
Exercise equipment: Basic equipment like dumbbells' will go fast, but electrical machines like treadmills and ellipticals will depend on price and age. Try to sell these beforehand or include them in your online advertisements.
Tools: Have an electrical outlet nearby for your corded tools and make sure your cordless tools are charged.
Jewelry: Unless you have a jewelry tree, hang bracelets on a dowel and necklaces from a coat hanger. Keep your jewelry in an area close by so you can keep a close eye.
Bundle it up: “Bundle” items such as baby onesies of the same size or style, DVD collections and book collections together when you can.
Gently used clothing: Hang up freshly washed and dried clothing on garment racks. Pick 10-15 really nice pieces to display at a time. Note the size of clothing on each item and sort appropriately for easy browsing. For baby and children’s clothes, add size separators so each age group of clothing is easy to locate.
Kids’ toys: Display on a table or lay out on a board over two milk crates. Throw away any games, puzzles or toys with missing pieces or that are broken.
Smartphones: Old smartphones should be within one to two years old. Make sure to completely erase the memory or do a factory reset before selling.
Books: Make sure they are easily sortable, reasonably priced and in good condition. You can bundle some children’s books together based on topics or series. Whatever you don’t sell, you can donate.
Furniture: Vacuum upholstered furniture. Buff leather using a mix of lemon juice, vinegar, and olive oil.
Pro Tip: To prevent your fragile items from being knocked over and damaged, place them somewhere safe away from the center of the yard sale.
What Not to Sell at a Yard Sale
Heavily used items like teen clothing (unless they’re designer pieces or still have tags), shoes, obsolete appliances and electronics, holiday decorations, and souvenirs, typically don’t sell that well. It's usually best to just donate these things and let potential buyers focus on the good stuff, but make sure your local thrift store will accept them.
Lastly, there are some things that should be recycled or thrown away. Here are some things you can get rid of quickly:
Defective and broken items
Old owners manuals
Torn and stained clothing
Incomplete puzzles and board games
Newspapers and magazines
Once the junk is taken care of, it will be smooth sailing to separate the leftover items between the donations and things to sell at the garage sale. If you’re struggling to clean out your garage, basement or attic and can't decide what to keep, donate, or sell, recognize what items still work and are in good shape. If they're not, it’s time to get rid of it.
How to Price Yard Sale Items
It’s a difficult yard sale tip to adhere to, but the best way to set prices are consistent and reasonably. Remember, the goal is to sell as much as possible.
When pricing garage sale items, remind yourself of these tips:
Don’t price your items hinged on sentiment or original price: No matter what you paid for your things, buyers still see them as used. If you're too attached to the item to price it reasonably, consider holding onto it for now.
Don’t be greedy: Price your items fairly. Remember, the goal is to sell everything.
Don’t squabble over the inexpensive things: Customers are prepared to haggle over high-priced items, but for items less than a few bucks, it’s not worth jeopardizing a buyer who may buy more than the cheap item.
Use multiple color pricing stickers: Use a specific color pricing sticker for different friends or families who are selling items at your sale to record how much everyone makes.
Pro Tip: You're more likely to sell items when you accept a variety of payment forms. Unless they're planning on coming and stop at a bank first, most customers won't have cash or won't bring enough to buy everything they see. To bypass this, make sure to have accounts set up for popular mobile payment apps like Venmo, Cash app, Apple Pay, and Zelle.
Tips for Having a Lucrative Yard Sale
Now that you've established what you’re selling and for how much, it’s time to decide how to organize your garage sale for the best outcome.
Understand the regulations: Some localities require permits for yard sales or have rules about sign locations. Abide by the rules to prevent your sale from being shut down.
Categorize items: When things are unorganized, people often feel stressed and could leave. Make it easy for people to find what they’re interested in buying by grouping items together like electronics, furniture, etc.
Allow buyers to test electronics: It's common for customers to ignore electronics and appliances because they're not positive that they work properly. Be sure to have an extension cord or two near your appliance section so buyers can test them. This is a simple trick that will help your sales.
Pro Tip: Don't forget to gather your signs once the sale is finished to avoid potential fines.
You're Ready to Sell
You've chosen the best items to sell and the perfect prices to sell them at, organized your garage sale it in a brilliant way and have advertised it well. Now you're ready to have the most successful yard sale in your community.
If you're yard sale is over and you're left with items that didn’t sell, consider renting a dumpster to easily get rid of them.