20 Quick Tips & Ideas to Throw a Successful Yard Sale

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Much how the groundhog sets foot outside of its own little burrow to assess the weather, folks also do the same with their own homes as spring nears.

Many people will embark on bouts of spring cleaning, paving the way for warmer months and putting away the bulky winter coats, sweaters, and boots. If you’re one of them, you may decide it’s the perfect opportunity to declutter and downsize your home

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It’s tempting to put unwanted items out on the curb for the trash collectors or see what Goodwill will take off your hands. Consider taking a second look, as other people may still have use for items you just don’t want. Instead of carting off usable items to the landfill, consider having a yard sale.

You can declutter in an eco-friendly way and make a few extra bucks while doing it. Here are some of our top tips on putting on the perfect yard sale.

Yard Sale Sign Ideas

The most tried and true way of getting people to know about your yard sale is to put up signs, and is a part of the ubiquity of American yard sales. Here’s what you should keep in mind when making your yard sale signs. 

1. Put signs up in advance

Tip: You’ll attract more shoppers if you give them some advance notice. You don’t have to put them up weeks ahead of time, as they might be torn down or damaged by the weather if you put them up too early.

Putting them up a day or two ahead of time gives people some advance notice, but they should still be intact by the day of the sale.

2. Keep signs geographically close to home

Tip: There are two main kinds of yard sale shoppers. The first group is hardcore yard sale aficionados who actively seek out sales. The second group is made up of more casual shoppers, who see a sign and decide to check out a sale on impulse.

Yard sale signs will typically attract the second group. They won’t want to travel too far out of their way, so keep signs relatively near your house. This could be anywhere from a few blocks to about a half-mile away. 

3. Put signs in well-trafficked areas

Tip: It’s important to make sure lots of people see your signs. Find active intersections near your house and put up signs so they’re visible in multiple directions.

Consider putting them up on shared community corkboards, for example in your local coffee shop or library. Be sure to include bold arrows to help people know they’re on the right track. 

4. Use bright colors

Tip: Yard sale signs are not the place to be subtle and understated. You want to choose bright colors that attract attention. Neon paper signs are a great choice.

They are bright and eye-catching, and won’t be easily mistaken for something occurring in nature.

5. Follow local ordinances regarding signage

Tip: Some jurisdictions can prohibit hanging signs up (even temporarily) on utility poles or traffic signs. Take a little time to research restrictions in your area.

You don’t want your profits erased by any fines. 

6. Keep information brief

Tip: Most people will be seeing your signs from their vehicles. They won’t have time to read a lot of in-depth information. Include only pertinent information: the address of the sale, and the dates and times it will take place.

You can also include some general terms about the types of items you’re selling, like clothing, books, or furniture. 

7. Make sure your writing is bold and legible

Tip: Bold and bright signage won’t do much good if people can’t read the words on the poster board. The information needs to be easy to read. Use thick, bold black marker to do your lettering.

Don’t get fancy with cursive lettering: bold capital letters are much easier to read. People may only have a few moments to take in the information. Make sure your writing is large and clear enough that they can see what they need.  

8. Tie balloons to your mailbox

Tip: Your signs should get people going in the right direction. Tying a big bunch of balloons to your mailbox will confirm for them that they’ve made it to the right place.  

9. Remove signs after-sale ends

Tip: Once the sale has come to an end, be sure to go take the signs down immediately. You don’t want people showing up, not realizing that the sale is over. The signs can also become litter and a nuisance once their purpose has been served.  

Yard Sale Advertising Ideas

Neighborhood signs are a great way to get local visitors to your yard sale. But other targeted advertising methods can help you bring in avid yard sale attendees. Here are a few more modern ways to attract shoppers.

10. List yard sale information online

Tip: Earlier, we talked about the different kinds of yard sale shoppers. Many people hit up multiple yard sales every weekend, hunting for treasures or collectibles pertinent to their interests. They also may be looking for good deals on things they can turn around and flip for more money.

Regardless, they’re always doing research and making up a list of good spots to hit. Many of them will go online to scope out upcoming sales. List your sale on Craigslist or the Facebook Marketplace for your area. You can also search “yard sale websites” on Google and find an assortment of websites and apps. 

11. Look for targeted buyers

Tip: The kinds of items you’re selling may inform you as you post yard sale information online. If you’re getting rid of a bunch of kids’ clothing and toys, list your sale in Facebook parenting groups.

Getting rid of old comic books and collectibles? List them in local hobbyist groups. 

12. Go old school

Tip: Not everyone is internet savvy. Some yard sale aficionados are strictly analog when it comes to researching sales. You can usually list yard sales in the classifieds of your local paper for free if you keep them under a certain word count.

Another option is to print out flyers and post them on community boards at places like cafes, thrift stores, or used bookstores. 

Yard Sale Set-Up Ideas

Whatever the weather is like, you can still prepare for your yard sale. Here are some great tips on getting organized ahead of time, as well as on the day of the sale. 

13. Begin sorting and organizing items you’re selling

Tip: While you’re still cooped up, you can still prep for a future yard sale. Go through your house room by room and gather any unwanted items. This could include clothing, books, collectibles, toys, and more.

You can take days or even weeks to go through this process. By the time you choose your yard sale date, you’ll be ahead of the game. You can even start pricing items ahead of time (keep reading for more on pricing).

14. Borrow folding tables from friends and neighbors

Tip: If you’re selling tables, you may think it’s fine to display other merchandise on them. But what happens if those tables are the first things that sell? Then your other items will end up on the ground. Using inexpensive folding tables will ensure you have plenty of display space. Just make sure to mark that those tables aren’t for sale. 

Yard Sale Ideas for Hanging or Folding Clothes

Yard sales can be a great place to get rid of clothes that are out of season or that no longer fit. However, figuring out the best way to display them can be tricky. Here are some creative ways you can display clothes and general tips on selling clothes.

15. Make sure clothing is clean 

Tip: You don’t have to iron and steam everything, but you at least want to make sure clothes are clean.

If you washed clothes a while ago but they’ve been in storage, you can spritz them with a laundry refresher spray to get rid of any mustiness. 

16. Make a DIY hanging display

Tip: Clothes are easiest to shop when they’re hanging up. But most people don’t have clothing racks readily available. There are a few ways you can make your own. If you have space to hang a clothesline, do so.

You can put hangers full of clothes right there. Another solution is to set up two tables, leaving a large gap between them. Lay a ladder down sideways so one end is on each table. You can hang clothes right off the sides.  

Yard Sale Ideas for Pricing Items

If you’ve never held a yard sale before, you may feel unsure about how to price items you’re selling. Here, we’ll break down tips on setting the best prices.  

17. Stock up on change

Tip: People don’t bring exact change to yard sales, so you’ll need to be prepared to hand out change. Get plenty of ones and fives. If you have a lot of things priced at 25 cents or 50 cents, have a few rolls of quarters on hand.

If you’re having your yard sale on the weekend, get your change on Friday as many banks may not be open or have limited weekend hours.

18. Keep pricing consistent

Tip: Make things easier on yourself by applying mass pricing to similar items. For instance, you can charge fifty cents for paperback books and a dollar for hardcovers. Make all shirts be one consistent price, and so on.

This will make things much easier to keep track of when it comes time to ring people up. You also won’t have to spend time individually stickering every item. Save the price stickers for unique items. For everything else, you can post more generalized pricing sheets. 

19. Manage your expectations

Tip: People come to yard sales looking for good deals. If you don’t price items to move, people won’t want to buy them.

Keep in mind as well that people will expect to haggle. If you have an item you believe is valuable, you may be better off selling it online as many yard sale shoppers will be scoping out bargains. 

20. Give away remaining merchandise when the sale ends

Tip: There are always some odds and ends left over after a yard sale ends. You could load up your car and take it to a thrift store. Or you can just create a Craigslist post letting people know that any yard sale leftovers are free.

Leave items down by the curb, and they’ll likely get picked up within the hour. Just be sure to take the post down as soon as the last items are gone.

Pull Off the Perfect Yard Sale

Whether you’re cleaning out your elderly parent’s home or decluttering your own, a yard sale is a great way to unload unwanted items. Not only will you make some extra spending money, but you’ll also be keeping usable items out of landfills.

Following these quick tips can help make your yard sale be nothing but smooth sailing.

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