It’s time to clean house and one of my most favorite activities is Yard Sales!!! I’m sure every single person has either been to a yard sale or hosted a yard sale. They can be great to purge and make a few dollars. But have you given much thought to the fact that if hosted a well-orchestrated yard sale you could increase your earnings by double or even triple. Give this post a quick read and then bookmark it for reference because you are sure to learn a thing or two when it comes to hosting the perfect yard sale to make a fortune.
Yard sales have many do’s and don’ts. Bet you didn’t know that. Over the years I have perfected my techniques for how to hold a successful yard sale. However, I did make a lot of mistakes along the way as well. But what I found was that a successful sale can be realized in three stages: Preparation, Execution and Negotiation.
Preparation is Pivotal!
- Do determine what you are going to sell ahead of time. Be organized!
- Do have a game plan. Ensure you have enough tables, blankets and hanging clothing racks to display all your items clearly.
- Do invite your neighbors and friends to participate, now you can label it a Multi-Family or Neighborhood Sale.
- Do advertise your sale two days prior and the day of on Craigslist in the For Sale / Garage Sale section.
- Key Points to include in your advertisement:
- What type of sale is it – Yard Sale, Multi-Family Sale, Estate Sale, Moving Sale?
- What type of items will you be selling – electronics, furniture, designer clothing, designer purses, tools, toys, sports equipment? (BONUS TIP: tools and electronics are the biggest draws. Even if I only have a few items I will list tools and electronics. Once people invest the time to come to your sale they will buy something).
- Pictures of some of the larger items.
- Do place signs around the neighborhood on major cross streets. Keep the signs clear and to the point.
- Do have plastic grocery bags or paper bags ready for people to store their purchases, the easier it is to carry the more they will buy.
- Do have $40 in change ready the day of. 20 $1 bills and 4 $5 bills are the best combination to make change.
- Do have a cross-body purse with you on the day of. Store your earnings and change in the purse while keeping your hands free.
- Don’t be disorganized, the key to a successful sale is your preparation. If you are scrambling beforehand you will not be set up in time.
- Don’t forget the change. The last thing you want to do is turn away a paying customer because you can’t break a $20.
- Don’t add price tags to individual items. It is a waste of time and stickers. People will always want to negotiate. If they see an item with a price tag that they do not favor they will keep moving, whereas if it doesn’t have a tag they could fall in love with the item before you hit them with the price.
- Don’t undercut your prices. I once had a friend join in on my sale that sold a brand-new small microwave for $10, if she would have named a higher price she could have easily made $30 – $40.
- Don’t sell valuables at yard sales, people are there to buy inexpensive items, if you have an expensive designer purse try eBay. Yard sales are perfect for items under $50. If it’s something large – furniture, car, etc. you will want to mention that in your advertisement, so people come prepared.
Execution is Exciting!
- Do have FUN!!! It’s the day of – enjoy being outside.
- Do start setting up at 6am for a 7am start time, in my neighborhood garage sale professional buyers come through early so they can resell my goods at the swap meet later in the day! Hey if you make the amount you want who cares what they do with it after.
- Do leave all parking spaces in front of your home open (if possible) so buyers have easy access.
- Do plan a trip to Goodwill, Salvation Army or local Shelter after the sale so that you don’t have to take anything back into your home. Make sure to check their hours. Better yet 30 min before the end of your sale post all remaining items to your local Buy Nothing group – 1st come 1st serve, must take everything same day.
- Do ensure that you have at least 2-3 people with you helping on the day of, this makes it easier to keep all your items in clear view without running the risk of something being stolen.
- Do ensure you have water, snacks, sunscreen and a hat with you the day of. It will be a long day! Sometimes I also have snacks for the kiddos that visit (small bags of goldfish etc., if their content their parents will spend longer viewing your items.
- Don’t set up too late. Your biggest traffic times will be 7am-9am and once again after lunch 12pm-2pm.
- Seriously don’t forget to put on sunscreen. It will be a long day!
- Don’t count your money in front of buyers or make change holding your whole stack of bills. If they see you have made a lot, they will try and low ball you.
- Don’t leave anything unattended. Especially when little kids are running around your sale, they tend to find something they like and hold on to it.
- Don’t leave your garage or home open unless you want people wandering around. People assume everything is for sale, including my baby’s stroller while she was sleeping in it!
In a past life I must have been a merchant because I can haggle with the best of them when it comes to sales. This leads us to my favorite stage in How to Make A Fortune and Have Fun at Your Yard Sale – Negotiation.
Negotiation is Necessary!
- Do have a ton of FUN, pretend you are the store owner and your items are your inventory. If you make the items look appealing people will gravitate towards them. For example, do you have a pitcher, wrap a dish towel around it, add a colorful stir stick and a few glasses around it and advertise it to your buyers as a perfect lemonade or Ice Tea set.
- Do greet people as they come up to your sale and ask them if there is something specific they are looking for. I once had a 30 something male come to my sale asking for vintage board games – I just happened to have a few, one was Star Wars related. He loved it, he bought all the games, a few books and a couple of DVDs’ because I gave him that extra attention.
- Do start out with the highest price but stand firm on your lowest price point. If others see you standing firm with another buyer, they will know they can’t mess around if they want to buy an item.
- Do find things for people to buy, if you see a woman looking at all jackets go through your pile and find her some matching pants or skirts – offer a bundle deal.
- Do ask people what they think its worth – let’s say you have a DVD player which you are willing to sell for $10, someone shows interest, you ask them what do you think its worth – they say hmmm $15? You just made $5 extra dollars by not naming a price!
- Do a grab bag at the end of your sale. Everything you can fit into this paper bag you can have for $20. You get rid of more items you were just going to donate, and you make extra money at the end of your sale.
- Don’t allow people to offer anything under a dollar. Now you must make change with actual change.
- Don’t start out with a low price because you think the person is more likely to buy it. They might walk away but the person behind them who would have paid a higher price overheard the low one.
- Don’t offer bundle rates unless the person is giving you a fair price, or because in the heat of the moment it sounds like a good deal. One time a woman asked me if she can buy all my towels and sheets. I told her that would be great they are $2 each. She responded with I’ll give you $15 for everything. It sounded good, but I declined her offer and stood firm with my $2. She ended up making the purchase and spent $25 with me instead.
I genuinely hope that these tips helped you and motivated you to host your own yard sale. With everyone getting into the spirit of giving and downsizing their belongings there is no other perfect time to host one then now!
Julia Burge of Organizing Motherhood, is a Los Angeles Millennial Mommy that is navigating the world of marriage, money and motherhood all while juggling color coded balls. Her mix of humor, organizing tips, money matters and mommy related topics has landed her the honor of Top 30 Millennial Mom Blogs and Websites for Millennial Moms by Feedspot. She is a consultant for Monat, a social marketing company that focuses on Naturally Based, Anti Aging Hair Care for men, women and children.