Tips for Having a Successful Yard Sale
In our journey to downsize our both where we lived and all our possessions, we had a yard sale. Here’s what we learned!
1) Pick a date weeks ahead so you have a personal pressure deadline for going through your rounds and collected everything to sell. Have everything pulled out in advance-don’t try and frantically run through your house the night before to find things to sell.
2) Advertise a week before. Where to advertise your yardsale? Post for free on Craigslist (>for sale>garage sales) AND for free on YardSales.net (which also automatically puts your post of GarageSaleFinder.com).
Pictures: Having pictures in your ad always helps. Take pictures of your big items (think furniture), items that will draw people to your sale (think bikes, baby stuff, antiques), and/or pictures of the mountain of things you’ve collected to sell to show people that you have a lot of stuff to get rid of and it’s worth their time to drive specifically to your address.
The write up: Talk up your yard sale with words like “huge” “downsizing” “moving” “must sell”. Give examples of items and even a few prices. Again anything to tell people that it is worth their time to drive to you. *Note* We also originally listed on Craigslist that people could contact us before the date to buy items listed. This backfired terribly and I don’t recommend it because we found that not only did we not have any spare time in preparing for the yard sale, but we got a lot of annoying people just wanted to look through the pile before everyone else.
3) Put prices on your items BEFORE your sale. People often are more comfortable seeing a price than having to speak to you to either find out the price, or to suggest a price to you. We used a role of painters tape-easy to put on and take off without damage, and easy to write on with a sharpie without it bleeding through. It may be tempting to try and get a lot of money for your stuff, but ask yourself two questions 1) What would YOU pay for this item if you saw it used at another yard sale. 2) What’s that item worth to you if it doesn’t sell? Mark.it.down.
4) Make large, clear signs that can be seen from a car driving by. None that piece of notebook paper written in pen. Grab a big piece of cardboard and a giant sharpie (craft stores sell oversize ones) and go to town with big block lettering. We skipped all the details of dates and times and just made signs saying “Yard Sale NOW” with arrows leading the way.
5) Be ready, and put your signs out early. 60% of our buyers arrived within the first two hours. The highest concentration being within the first hour when we were still trying to unpreparedly put up signs and drag our stuff outside.
6) Good time for a yard sale? We advertised our time frame would be 8am-4pm. I’d recommend 8-2 or 7-2 if you’re an early riser. We got very few people in the last 2 hours and started to pack up at 3pm. We only did Saturday, which I’m happy about because it seemed like all our “good stuff” was gone within the first few hours. A second day would have been wasted time to sell a few last-picked items and we needed every bit our time to continue packing and moving.
7) Spread out your stuff, set up a lot close to the street, and walk around. A lot of people will do the slow drive by to see if its worth their time to park, get out, and walk back. Spreading out your stuff makes it look like you have a lot to browse through. Putting a lot of stuff close to the street make people more comfortable. The more into your driveway/garage, or towards you in general, that people have to go, the less likely they are to stop and browse. I don’t know why, but we noticed this and had a much better response when we took everythign within 4 feet of our house and put it by the road (think luring people in). Also, people are more likely to stop if they see other people there browsing. In other words-if your yard sale looks popular, they want to be there too. So get up and walk around, pretend to browse your stuff, ask a neighbor to wander by or come hangout. Heck even park one of your own cars down by the road. Whatever gives driver-bys the illusion that they won’t be the “only shoppers” if they stop.
8) An additional FYI– We set out some items for FREE that we didn’t think anyone would buy but we wanted to try keeping it out of the landfill just a bit longer (and sure we didn’t want to have to drive all the way to the county dump anyway). Things like open/used containers of paint, household cooking oils, plastic throw-away flower containers, and random odd and ends toys (think happy meal). If not free then we asked for $0.25 (open half used containers of oil for cars we no longer had). People took it all. An artist took every ounce of paint we had-even gallon jugs only ¼ full.
** Jump back to This Article for what we did with all the stuff we didn’t sell.
Hi there! I’m Kaley, prevailing parent and wife, but also just me; stubborn lover of DIY everything, outdoors, and chocolate. Read more about myself and my family under the “Parenting” > “About My Family” tabs.