One of my goals this year has been to really clean up my home and get rid of anything that isn’t needed or simply doesn’t get used. When things get over cluttered and I don’t feel comfortable in my own home anymore, I know it’s time to get rid of stuff. This year it was definitely time to do this.
So this past Saturday my family held a yard sale to clear our home of all the clutter. This certainly isn’t our first yard sale and surely won’t be our last, but after having a number of yard sales in the past, we’ve learned a few things about having a successful one. And by successful, I mean one that truly gets rid of the clutter and also puts a nice chunk of change in our wallet.
Follow these 10 essential tips and you’re sure to have a successful yard sale of your own.
Preparing is essential to having a successful yard sale. Weeks and maybe even months before you plan to have a yard sale, you need to start gathering items you want to sell. If you really want to declutter, you should go through all drawers, closets, cabinets and even the garage. There may even be items sitting displayed around the home that you really don’t want anymore, but since they’re already displayed, you just left them be. Now is the time to let them go.
Once you’ve done your preliminary preparation in the months and weeks beforehand, you’ll want to organize everything at least a few days before the big sale. Separate kids clothes and items, from adult clothes and items. Have nicer clothing you want to hang for display/attention? Put them on hangers and have them ready. Keep all breakables together and then all miscellaneous items together.
Keeping like items together and having an organized set up is an indication to buyers that you take care of your items. Who wouldn’t prefer an organized home? The same thing translates to a yard sale.
Organizing beforehand will make things much easier for you when yard sale day arrives. You can simply pull like items out and place them on a table together, and because you’ve organized beforehand, it will save you time the morning of the yard sale.
3. Place items for attention
Placing larger yard sale items near the street will draw attention to your yard sale. Things like furniture, strollers, baby swings, comforter sets, lamps, ceiling fans, washers, dryers, anything on the large side, will be eye catching for passersby and are likely to cause people to stop.
Another great way to catch someone’s attention is to hang nicer clothing (like those still with tags attached or flashy in-style items) on the garage or up towards the house. Make buyers walk up towards the home so that they have to walk by everything else. It almost forces them to browse everything else you have, just because they want to see what that item is that’s hanging up. Don’t have a garage? Tie a line between 2 trees and hang some clothes from it.
4. Price appropriately
Keep in mind this is a yard sale. You want to get rid of unwanted stuff and yard sale goers want to get a good deal. Don’t price things at retail or even resale. If you price low (priced to go) you’ll sale a lot more and make more money overall. I’m not saying give your stuff away, but price things reasonably for a yard sale.
Some of the prices we used were:
- Used baby clothing – 2 pieces for $1
- Used adult clothing – $1 per piece
- Cups/dishes – $0.25 each
- Picture frames – $1 each
If you have clothing or other items that are sets, price them as a set so buyers don’t have the option to separate them. For example, I had tons of baby outfits that were complete 2 or 3 piece sets. I placed them each in a Ziploc bag and priced them for $2 or $3, rather than 2/$1. Or for items that still have tags attached or have never been taken out of their package, price them a little higher than your used items, but still reasonable for a yard sale.
I had a woman come looking specifically for baby clothes and she literally bought every single baby clothing item I had. She got a ton of great stuff and I made about $100 just on baby clothes!
Even if you mark prices on your items, yard sale goers are always looking for the best deal they can get. Be prepared for offers less than you’ve marked or even lesser offers on bundles of items. It’s up to you whether to accept an offer or not, but I say it’s always nice to let buyers have a bundle deal, one that works for both you and the buyer.
If the goal of having a yard sale is to declutter your home, don’t take anything you’re trying to sell back inside, even if you don’t sell it. When the yard sale is over, load up whatever is left and take it straight to a donation center.
Keeping in mind that everything you don’t sell is going to be donated, 2-3 hours before you plan to end the yard sale, reduce your prices. Most buyers arrive early in the morning so they can get first pick of what you’re selling, so traffic will slow down later in the day. But if you reduce your prices, the sales will keep rolling in. In fact, some buyers will come in the morning for first pick and then return later in the day to see what’s left at reduced prices.
We changed our adult clothing price from $1 per piece to $0.50 per piece, at about 3 hours before the end of the yard sale, and we were able to keep selling right up until the end. This helped put a little more money in our pockets and also created less stuff that we had to haul to our local donation center after the yard sale.
7. Start Early
Be prepared to start super early. Yard sale goers will start arriving as soon as daylight hits. Get up about 2 hours earlier than sunrise and start getting your items out and ready for buyers. No matter how early we start, we’re usually still putting items out at least an hour after buyers start arriving. And keep in mind that most sales occur earlier in the day, so the more you have out, the more sells you’re going to make.
8. Invite a friend
The more stuff you have to offer at a yard sale, the more successful it’s going to be because there’s more to attract buyers. Inviting a friend or family member to join your yard sale and sale items of their own, will not only help both of you declutter, but it will provide a larger variety of items for buyers to choose from. If you’re up to it, maybe even try making it a neighborhood sale.
If you don’t advertise your yard sale, people won’t know about it. It’s not necessary to advertise a week ahead of time and it really only takes 1-2 days. If you live in an area where there’s not a lot of traffic, then you may want to put some signs up 2 days before. On the other hand, if you live in a high traffic area, simply put up some signs the afternoon before the yard sale. It’s ideal to advertise by at least 2 or 3 pm the day before your yard sale. That way, evening traffic heading home from work will get the chance to see your signs.
Be sure to advertise at busy intersections and especially at the end of your street. You have to guide buyers to your home with your signs. Elaborate signs aren’t necessary, but just make sure your signs are visible to drivers. We usually have a few weather proof signs and then a few homemade posters.
10. Offer free cold water
In general, most yard sales are in the summer time and that means hot weather. It’s something simple, but offering free cold water to yard sale goers is a nice gesture. Fill a cooler with ice and bottles of water, and offer it to buyers as they pay. Not everyone will accept, but those who do will certainly appreciate the offer. This was the first year we tried this and noticed that after providing water, a lot of buyers went back to look some more and many bought more stuff.
Put these 10 tips to use and you will definitely have a successful yard sale. You can easily make upwards of a few hundred dollars in just a matter of hours. This past weekend we got up at 5 am to be ready for buyers at 7 am. When things slowed at about 1:30 pm, we took down our signs/advertising and loaded up everything that was left, to take to our local donation center. In just that short amount of time we made over $600! I’d say that’s a pretty nice payoff and icing on the cake after the benefit of decluttering our home.