How to Hold a Successful Yard Sale

The month of June marks the start of Yard Sale Season

Once you've decidedly de-cluttered your home of everything that you do not consider beautiful or useful, enjoy the fruits of your labor by making a little money from your efforts!

Here's a few tips that are guaranteed to make your next yard sale a raging $uccess!

Get the Word Out!

When hosting a sale, you've got to advertise! The local classified ads is a traditional choice, but now-a-days you can also share details about your upcoming sale for FREE via,, and in addition to asking friends to spread the word via Facebook! Be sure to list any 'hot ticket' items like baby equipment, sporting goods, furniture, electronics, toys, and art within your ad. If offering kids clothing, make mention of sizes and and type (for example, 6-12 mo girls clothes).  Be sure to make special mention if your sale is a neighborhood or multi-family sale, as those are usually considered gold mines to yard sale enthusiasts.

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On the day of the sale, be strategic about placing several large, brightly colored, durable and neatly printed poster boards noting the location and hours of your sale around your neighborhood as well as near high traffic intersections near your neighborhood. 


Hard core Yard Sale shoppers are early birds.  When you choose a time for your sale (8-3 is a pretty universal choice) expect people to start showing up at least 30 minutes beforehand.  Usually, a one day sale on a Saturday is sufficient for a single family sale.  If you'll be hosting a multi-family, neighborhood or church-wide sale, two days (Fri. & Sat.) would certainly be appropriate.

Price It Right

Usually, a good rule of thumb is to price items at least 75% off of retail value.  If in doubt, price lower.
Determine before your sale begins if you'll engage in haggling.  Usually I hold firm on 'hot ticket' items like furniture and electronics at least until after the lunch hour.   But, ultimately, it's up to you.

Offer 'blanket prices' with signage as much as possible to limit the amount of questions and misunderstandings from patrons. This approach will make it a whole lot easier for you on the preparations end as well!

Create signs like:
All kids clothes - $1
All books - .50 cents
All movies - $2
All denim - $3

You could choose to have a 'designer' rack for individually labeled clothing, but I guarantee that the more general the pricing, the more bulk you'll sell.

Presentation is Key

Taking the time to arrange things in an eye catching and appealing way is sure to draw the attention of potential buyers and keep them browsing than if random items are just all piled together with no distinction.

Group like items with like items when displaying your wares. Consider how real stores display goods and follow suit! Create 'zones' for toys, books, clothing, games, house hold items, kitchen gadgets and so on. This way, shoppers can easily identify items they may be specifically searching for... and it just looks nicer.

Put top selling items like electronics and furniture in a highly visible place to attract potential drive-by customers. 

Enlist Some Helpers

It's a good idea to have an extra set of hands (or two) to help out in the setting up and running of your sale.  Not only will this eliminate possible theft, but it will help check-outs run faster and grant you a general peace of mind if there are a lot of shoppers visiting at once.  If you've got young children, a baby-sitter or finding child care off site is most recommended.  A yard sale can be a great learning experience for older children, (age 9+) however. They can be taught to count back change, bag items, or even sell cold drinks, coffee, or baked goods at their own stand.

What You'll Need
  • Money to make change: $30-$50 in ones, $30 in fives, $50 in tens, $60 in twenties and a roll of quarters ($10).
  • Money pouch or cash box
  • Calculator
  • Notebook and pen (to track sales, especially important if hosting a multi-family sale)
  • Tables to display goods to be sold
  • Measuring tape for patrons to measure furniture
  • Extension cords for patrons to test electronics
  • Clothing rack or clothes line and hangers to display clothes
  • Bags/boxes/paper for packaging purchased goods
  • Pricing materials, tape, stickers, paper signs tacks, etc.


  1. This is absolutely fantastic and just the info I was looking for! Thanks so much for sharing! :)


  2. AnonymousJune 23, 2011

    For reals, your timing is impeccable... even though you posted this probably last week and I am just now reading it. I've never had a garage sale because I was scared! I hate the idea of people looking through my stuff. But I've been considering it more and more lately and this made me feel equipped to do it. Especially the part about how much money to have on hand to make change.

    Thank you!

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