Thursday, June 30, 2011

Simple Tips for a Successful Yard Sale {Part Two}

Thanks for coming back for round two!  Part One was clearly a huge success (ha!) but I wanted to stay true to my word, so here’s the rest of what I wanted to share with you: 

6. Have plenty of change, in all amounts.   

  It’s a standard fact of life that ATM machines give out $20 bills.  So, as annoying as it is, be prepared for the fact that a lot of people coming to your sale will be paying with $20s, especially in the early morning, before some other lucky yard sale host has already broken it for them. :)  Knowing that going in will keep you from getting frustrated.  Personally, I like to take out $100: $10 in quarters, $30 in fives, and $60 in ones.  That’s just what I’ve found to work. 

7.  Realize that there’s something for everyone.

vacation and garage sale 046

  It never ceases to amaze me what people will buy at yard sales.  Sometimes the craziest things are just what people are looking for!  For instance, I had a super cheap-looking tankini top from Wal-Mart that I haven’t worn in forever.  I contemplated just chucking it, but I put it in the 50-cent women’s clothes bin, and sure enough, someone bought it.  Same goes for some picture frames that I thought were hideous, and on and on.  Unless it’s truly broken or really worn out, you might get lucky and sell it – so just try.  :) 

8.  Free signs get rid of things for you.  Fast.

  Every time I have a yard sale, I do have at least one “Free” box at the end of the driveway, where I put everything that I consider truly unsellable.  Inevitably, without fail, the majority of the stuff in there is gone by the end of the day.  Everyone just loves to get something for free – what can I say? :) 

  The same goes for the end of your day…rather than automatically put all your leftover stuff in the car for Goodwill, place it on the end of the driveway with a “Free” sign.  I have done this for every sale I’ve had – after my two in PA, big ol’ totally creepy vans drove up and took every single item left.  Unfortunately, this didn’t happen here, but a ton of people did come by throughout the afternoon to look through our leftovers (Chris and I were totally getting so excited every time we saw someone taking it away. ;)  It’s a win-win: they get free items, and you have to fit that much less stuff in the car for a donation store.

vacation and garage sale 044{Poor Luke looking at all the neighbors’ cool toys for sale that mommy and daddy did NOT buy for him!  haha}

10.  Realize going in that yard sales are a lot of work. 

  Not to be a Debbie Downer here, but I just want you to be prepared in advance.  To run a good, smooth yard sale takes quite a bit of effort.  I spent hours on and off for a few weeks (and then more intense time in the two days prior) making sure that this would be a success.  For someone like me who has way more time than money :), this is not a problem.  It was worth it to me to clean the house out and make money, even if it took a while.  If I was working full-time and had triplets and a dog, I probably would have just hauled the stuff to Goodwill and called it a day.  Only you can decide if it’s worth it for you.  But for me as a stay-at-home mom, it was a no-brainer that a yard sale was a great idea.  

Which brings me to my last point…

11.  Host a yard sale with friends. 

  We had good traffic from about 7:30-11, when it slowed down dramatically.  Even though we were busy consistently, it was so much fun to have my mom and aunt and sister there to talk to and laugh with.  Plus, the more people you have selling with you, the more attractive your sale will be.  We had tons of items, in all different home styles, for sale.  I’d much rather stop at a giant sale than one with only a little table out front…just because odds are that I’m much more likely to find lots that I want to take home with me.  So talk to your girlfriends and family members, and get others involved.  Odds are, you’ll make a lot more money and have a lot more fun.  :)


Well, that’s a wrap!  Again, anything you’d like to share, I’m more than willing to listen!  What have you seen or tried that has worked well?  What has totally bombed?  I’m all ears eyes!


  1. such great tips! i think the one about having a sale with your friends is so true... the more inventory, the more people shop, and the more they shop, the more they buy!!! ; )

  2. Hi,

    Found your blog via Kelly's Korner. I had to comment on your yard sale tips, which I thought were very practical!! I used to have a yard sale just about every year, and over time, I came to realize what works. Your suggestions are wonderful!

    The best yard sale we ever had was one where a very kind neighbor returned $300 my darling husband had squirreled away in an opera book. The book was from years back in college and his first job out of school was one where he was paid in cash. He stuffed the bills in there and subsequently forgot about it. Fast forward 10 years, and there I was selling the book without ever looking at it.

    I thanked the neighbor profusely, of course, and bought him a gift ceritficate to a local restaurant plus a nice bottle of wine. He was a gem.

    Here's the final yard sale we had in our old home before we moved abroad! This one was a doozy, as I had to get rid of a lot.

  3. Yup that's some great advice right there eh. (Said in my best just got back from Canada accent.) Fab post espec about the time it takes to make it successful. :o)


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