Aileen’s Yard Sale Tips // Have A Successful Sale!

I’ve become known among friends and family as some sort of a yard sale expert. I’ve had several successful yard sales in the past couple of years, many of which were at our old house that required A LOT of signage due to it’s out of the way location. Guess what? We still did very well even though our house was far from a main street.

Yard sales can be fun and profitable, but they take a lot of preparation. Our yard sales average a $400+ profit, so it’s totally worth it. I’ve provided 15 tips from my experience that can help you have a successful sale.

Photo Apr 21, 11 06 39 AM

#1 Signs

Clear signs. BIG signs. See the big green sign I made for the title of this post? Like that. Do yourself a favor and spend an hour making good signs. What I like to do is get foam board ($1 at our local Dollar Tree) and CUT them into arrows. Map out your house and all the streets leading to it and figure out how many arrows you need. Then figure out which way they need to face. Nothing bugs me more when I’m GOING to yard sales than sheets of paper, with tiny typed addresses. If I have to stop to look at your sign, I’m skipping your yard sale. If I have to type your address into my GPS to find it, I’m skipping your yard sale! All you need is “YARD SALE” and a HUGE arrow pointing them in the right direction. Make sure you continue to point them in the right direction at EVERY turn so they don’t get lost. And if they have to go straight for 2 miles, put an arrow pointing straight so they don’t think they made a wrong turn.

#2 Craigslist

If you have a craigslist in the area, post your yard sale the day before! When I used to go in Simi Valley, I would get up 15 minutes early and make a map of the yard sales in the area so I could hit them all and not be driving back and forth across town. Include your address, the date and time it starts and ends, and a sample of what will be available.

#3 Dollar Table

This was a big hit at all of our yard sales. In some places you might have to make it a .50 table since a dollar might be too much. But basically we’d pile a ton of old clothes and stuff like that on a table and put a sign that says “EVERYTHING ON THIS TABLE $1” and sometimes “BUY 5 GET 1 FREE!”. A lot of people walk away with armfuls of the stuff.


#4 Prepare

Unless you’re just throwing 10 things on your lawn, you’re going to want to get a little organized. I usually price as much as I can the day before while everything is still in boxes so that the morning of when people show up while I’m setting up (they will) I don’t get overwhelmed trying to get everything priced. Some people don’t price anything which is fine. But I find that it’s easier to keep track when someone buys 20 items if you price them all. That way they can’t say your husband told them it was a quarter when it’s actually $5. And people won’t be hollering at you from across your yard sale to ask how much something is while you’re trying to add up someone else’s purchase.

#5 Be realistic.

Just because you bought that pair of jeans for $200 new 2 years ago doesn’t mean you can ask $50 for them. If they’re in excellent condition and the market in your neighborhood is right, you might be able to ask $20. But don’t bet on it. I put out a couple pairs of $88 pants with tags and was asking $5. No one bought them. If you’re really hoping to get top dollar on that kind of stuff, put it on ebay. If I go to a yard sale and I notice that prices are crazy, I usually give up and leave. No, that mug you got from Utah on a family road trip in 1992 is not worth $5, lady.

#7 Tables

Make sure you have a lot of tables available. Borrow from friends and neighbors if you need to. Stuff on the ground doesn’t get as much attention, especially from the older folk who have a hard time bending down. At our old house we used a ping pong table as our Dollar Table, and even pulled out our kitchen table to put stuff on. Then we usually had at least 3-4 folding tables.

#8 Get Change

Get at least $50 in change, ideally 5’s and 1’s. If you can get $100 in change, do it. I promise you that for at least the first hour of your yard sale most people will try to pay for $2 worth of stuff with a $20 bill. We’ve had people try to pay for under $10 worth of stuff with $100 bill. Annoying. Be prepared.

#9 Hide Large Bills

When we get anything over a $20, we put it inside immediately to prevent from accidentally giving it as change, dropping it or worse, having someone take it. It’s never happened that we know of, but we’d rather be safe than carry around $100 bills.

#10 Price High (on a few things)

People are going to haggle. That’s why when we want $25 for a TV, we price it at $30. It makes them feel like they’re getting a good deal and I’m happy that I got what I wanted. People are still going to offer you $10 for it and it’s up to you to decide if you want to take it or not. I’m not saying do this with everything, but just be prepared: If you’re asking one price, people are going to offer less.

#11 Big Items Street Side

If you have big items like couches, bookcases, etc put them at the front of your driveway near the street. This way it’s easy for people to load when it’s bought and they’re not carrying it through your (hopefully) busy yard sale and knocking out potential customers. It also draws people in when they see that you have a lot of larger items, those sell fast.

#12 Baby Stuff

Ugh. Nothing turns me off more than driving up to a yard sale and just seeing baby stuff. I don’t have a baby. If the majority of your yard sale is stuff for babies or children, show off the stuff that isn’t. It’ll at least get me to get out of the car and instead of just driving by if I can see you have something besides old onesies and toys.

#13 Keep the Dogs Away

I love animals. I have four dogs myself. But it’s always interesting to see people who just let their dogs roam around yard sales. I personally don’t mind, but some people are afraid (or allergic) of dogs and you want them to buy your junk! I’ve been at yard sales where people let their dogs or cats nap away in the pile of clothes they’re trying to sell. Seriously?

#14 Have Help

Doing a yard sale alone can get crazy. Try to have at least one other person there to help you out.

#15 Have FUN!

I love having yard sales. Mostly because I love getting rid of clutter and I love making money. But I also love meeting new people and knowing that my stuff is going to a good home. At our first yard sale in our new house we met a lot of our neighbors which I loved. Yard sales are hard work, but I love, love, love having them!

Do you have any yard sale tips?

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