Yard Sale Tips

To me, today, Memorial Day, marks the unofficial beginning of summer.  Summer means grilling, mowing the lawn, swimming, and garage sales.  I thought today was the perfect day to share this article I read in the May issue of Better Homes and Gardens.  BHG shared 20 tips to have the best garage sale.

1. Pick the right date.

2. Shop your house for items to sell.

3. Give yourself at least two weeks before to clean everything.

4. Arrange like items together.

5. Price everything with tags or marked painters tape to avoid residue.

6. Keep a tape measure, yardstick, calculator, batteries and an extension cord handy.

7. Make your signs bold and easy to read.

8. Post fliers at local shops and have directional arrows on signs.

9.  Advertise multiple ways

10.  Have a friend help you host.

11.  Have grocery bags and boxes to make carrying easier on buyers.

12.  Have plenty of small bills and change.

13.  Fill a $1 box near the checkout.  Also have a ‘Free with Purchase” box of little items for shoppers to choose from.

14.  Place large, eye-catching items close to the road.

15.  Group similar items together as department stores do.

16.  Hang clothes to show them off.

17.  Cover tables in colorful plastic tablecloths.

18.  Display jewelry on a fabric covered board.

19.  Place baby clothes and toys at the back to make shoppers travel through everything.

20.  Use vertical space to show items off.  Stack smaller pieces on covered boxes.

It’s not rocket science, but there are several ideas to take away to make your next garage sale a screaming success.

Do you have special tricks or tips to make a garage sale even better?  What do you call it?  A yard sale?  Garage sale?  Rummage sale?  Have you ever hosted a sale?  Surprisingly, I haven’t.  I’m too lazy, so I donate most things or give unwanted items to friends and family.

14 thoughts on “Yard Sale Tips

  1. We are actually planning a garage sale in a couple weeks. We have SOOOO much baby/kid stuff and with my father-in-law moving into a retirement home, we inherited a lot of his tools and home decor. I’ve never had a garage sale before and I haven’t actually gone to many, so this post was perfect! Thanks for the tips!

  2. great tips in this. I’ll add a tip for shoppers and a true story to demonstrate it’s importance! My father and his then girlfriend were riding around when she spotted an open garage and all kinds of things out in a driveway. She jumped out to look and was filling her arms with stuff she wanted from the driveway and garage. A few minutes later, a police car arrived. I’m sure you see where this is headed, it wasn’t a garage sale at all, just someone rearranging his garage! Obviously my suggestion is: if there are no signs and no one is out there, avoid the shame and keep going 🙂

  3. We have garage sales once or twice a year. It helps if you can have neighbors plan a sale the same day so that you get lots of traffic. Have lots of small bills and keep your money in a fanny pack. You won’t look cool but your money also won’t walk off. I don’t accept bills over $20. Make sure to start out with lots of $1 bills for your change. Borrow tables to display your items since people don’t like to lean over to check things out that are at ground level. Watch for people switching tags on items if you use tags. I sometimes battle this by putting some sort of description on the tag such as: table, picture, etc. I’ve found that putting a cooler of drinks out is a big hit. You can sell them or let your kids sell them. You can make makeshift racks by using a closet rod and ladders. I love garage sales!!!

  4. These are great tips! I am hoping to have a garage/yard/whatever you call it sale this summer and will definitely be incorporating many of these into our sale 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. I LOVE you for sharing this Amanda! I’m working on putting together a yard sale and it seems simple enough for someone with event-planning background, but it’s definitely helpful to have tips from the pros!!!

    1. Ha, thanks, Ashley!! It’s nice to be loved. I think a garage sale is tricky and require a lot of planning. Good luck with yours! Let us know how it goes. 🙂

  6. Thanks for these tips! Really like the $1 box and the “free with purchase” box. I would also add one more tip that wasn’t mentioned: check that none of your items have been recalled (it’s esp important since it’s illegal to sell recalled items). A tool I’ve worked on called Simply Check (http://wemakeitsafer.com/SimplyCheck) can help with that. Hope you and your readers find it useful!

    1. Hi PR, that is a great tip! I thought the $1 and free with purchase boxes were great ways to clear some of the smaller clutter that might not go otherwise.


  7. I always do at least one sale a year if not more…it’s amazing how much stuff you collect in one year!! One thought…price items to GO!! You may not get as much per item but you’ll sell more. My philosophy with a garage sale is I’m trying to get rid of stuff so I might as well get what I can. This also means less loading in the back of my truck at the end of the sale. I take everything that hasn’t sold to Goodwill immediately after clean up.

  8. Loved reading this post! Our family usually has one garage sale per year. This year it will be a good thing to do after we finish our new deck and shuffle all of our kids around in the rooms…lots of hidden treasures to be unearthed and hopefully sold to a bargin hunter.
    We find that having an ad on Craig’s list works better than the newspaper. We use neon paper for the signs. My husband really seems to love this and runs the sale. He loves to dicker, and it gives me a stomach ache.
    I will pay full price at a garage sale, especially if it is something I have been looking for awhile. My husband tends to go immediately for the 50% off offer…I think it is a huge drop and if it’s early in the day, unreasonable. I usually will offer what I can afford, $30 for a $35 dollar item(like a scroll saw).

  9. I use a multi-pocketed tool belt (borrowed from my hubby) to keep things I might need quickly while selling!

    Notepad, pens, and markers (several colors & preferably washable)
    Extra tags/tape (I like painter’s tape)
    Coins/cash for quick sales away from the main table (I have a LOCKED cash box)
    Small ball of string/twine (you never know!)
    Small scissors & razor knife

    I also bring several sheets of paper (just regular copy/printer paper) for making extra quick sale signs!!!

    BALLOONS are a great attention getter and I always make sure I can quickly give one to kids, if need be!

    If you’re going to add on a charity bake sale…make sure the customer sees you putting their money in THAT jar!!! Some people assume it’s a scam & you’re pocketing the extra cash! 😦

  10. I have a multi pocket apron (a crafting apron that I got at Michaels) that I wear to hold the money in. I can separate out the coins and bills in the pockets. Helps making change easier. Learned this trick while selling Girl Scout cookies! You are wearing your money and no one can walk off with it. The balloon thing is a great idea! And giving them to the children will guarantee that you have no leftovers!

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