15 Best Yard Sale Tips

If you’re ready to clear out some clutter and make a little cash, a yard sale is a great way to go. Use these tips from the pros to get the best results.

1. Do your homework. Check with your neighborhood and city regarding any signage restrictions. In the weeks before your sale, visit other yard sales to see what works best (and what doesn’t) regarding pricing, staging, and signage. Be sure there is parking available for at least four or five cars.

2. Advertise online and in the local papers. Utilize social media too. Create signage signage that is large, legible, and consistent. For example, use the same neon-colored posters, the same bold handwriting or font, and simple directions such as arrows to guide your traffic to your door.

3. Beware of early birds. Many yard sale connoisseurs try to show up early, sometimes hours early, to get first pickings. This can be a hassle, especially if you’re trying to set up. If you don’t want to be bothered, be clear in your advertising: NO EARLY BIRDS!

4. Organize your items like a department store and staff it accordingly. This makes it easier for shoppers to shop and more likely to spend. Keep like items together and display them as nicely as possible. Sell books on bookshelves, clothing hanging, and furniture displayed as if on a showroom floor. If you’ve got a lot of merchandise, make sure you have help to answer questions and stave off shoplifters. Have everyone working the sale wear the same colored shirt.

5. Be smart with your pricing, and mark everything clearly. A good rule of thumb is to price things 1/4 to 1/3 of their original cost, and then be willing to negotiate down from there. Psychologically, yard sale shoppers expect to pay less than the marked price, so price things slightly higher than the price you hope to fetch.

6. Carry change. Wear a carpenter’s apron or fanny pack with your change, around $100 to $200 in Tens, Fives, Ones, and some quarters. Never use a cash box as they are a target for thieves.

7. Disclose issues. If the rewind button on the VCR doesn’t work, put a small note on it disclosing the information. Customers appreciate the honesty, and are just as likely to buy when they know something isn’t in perfect condition. If you fail to let people know potential problems, you run the risk of having them show up on your doorstep later. Remember, they know where you live.

8. Place the cashier table at the back. Again, thinking like a department store, make your customers walk past more merchandise to reach the cashier table. They’re more likely to pick up an extra item or two on their way to pay.

9. Offer extras. Have a supply of grocery bags or boxes to aid your shoppers at checkout. Consider offering a bottle of water, soda, or a freshly baked cookie. A jar of lollipops is a great treat for patient kids. Tentative shoppers will be impressed and more likely to buy.

10. Polish and spruce. You’ll earn more money for items that are clean and look ready to use. Use a can of disinfectant wipes to wipe down dusty, dirty, dingy items and give them a fresh look. Hose down bikes and dirty outdoor toys.

11. Avoid holiday weekends. It might be tempting, but big holiday weekends (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day) are bad dates for yard sales.

12. Have electricity available. If you’re selling anything that requires electricity, have an extension cord available for shoppers to test things before buying. If you have a TV or stereo for sale, have it turned on during the sale and watch it fly.

13. Involve other friends and neighbors. A multi-family or neighborhood yard sale attracts a lot of traffic, so invite others to join in to share in the preparation and profits.

14. Quantity pricing. One of the best ways to sell a lot of smaller individual items is to offer specials for bulk purchasing. Fill a bag of clothes for $5, take 10 books for $5, etc. This is a great way to move CDs, magazines, and small toys.

15. Give the rest to charity. Make clean up a breeze by arranging for a charity to pick up anything that hasn’t sold at the end of the day.

Do you have any other tips? Share them in the comments section.

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