How to Have a {Very} Successful Yard Sale

One of the very best ways to clear clutter from your home is to have a yard sale.  There is nothing like getting rid of things that you don’t need and earning some money!

We have had a successful yard sale every year for at least the last 8 years in a row.  Each year, we’ve made hundreds of dollars, usually between $500 and $1,000 and most years we haven’t had any ‘big ticket’ items.

I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, what sells (you might be surprised!) and what doesn’t, and how to make it a fun event for the whole family.

In writing this post, I realized how many tips and ideas I wanted to share, so I decided to make it into a four day series.

Day 1 ~ Where to Begin & Planning Your Sale

Day 2 ~ Making Great Signs & Advertising Tips

Day 3 ~ Organizing Your Sale & Other Tips for Earning Money

Day 4 ~ Getting Kids Involved and Making it Fun!

Where to Begin?

Plan ahead, and pick a date.  Do not try to have a yard sale on a whim!  Having a successful yard sale takes planning.

In many areas, spring and early fall are prime seasons for sales.  Summer can be great, too, but in hot areas of the country, it can be more difficult to attract buyers.

Unless you are under pressure to get rid of things immediately, I suggest waiting for the upcoming prime season.

1.   Start by choosing a date (hopefully during a prime season).
(Set a back up date in the event of inclement weather)

2.   Choose a space in your home and start stashing stuff!

I keep a basket in my laundry room all year where I put things I want to sell at our yard sale.  When the basket fills up, I box it up and move it to my “yard sale stash” in the loft above our garage.

I keep the basket in an easy to reach place so it’s simple to get rid of excess junk stuff whenever I see it.

What’s Next?

After you have the date on the calendar, there are a number of things you can do weeks before the sale to make it easier on yourself.

1.  Start shopping!
(buy price stickers, permanent black markers, cardstock for signs, kids’ bake sale ingredients, etc.)

2.  Start saving!
(plastic grocery bags run out at a sale very quickly, so start saving them as soon as you get the date on the calendar)

3.  Write your ad for the newspaper (more on advertising in tomorrow’s post).

4.  Decide if you are going solo or with friends.

Neighborhood, Multi-Family, or Single Sale?

Here is a fact:  the more you have to offer, the more people will actually get out of their car to look at (and buy) your stuff.

People tend to be lazy, so you’ve got to make it worth their while to get out of their cars.  If your immediate neighbors are having sales, you are much more likely to attract people to shop at your sale.

Is planning a neighborhood sale difficult?

No.  It’s actually pretty easy.  You can Google how to have an elaborate neighborhood sale and turn it into a block party, but hosting a sale is not as difficult as you might think.

Here is what I do:

1.  Make a 1/2 sheet flyer announcing the date and time of the sale.  Use yard sale clip art and make the flyer look attractive.  Mention the places it will be advertised (newspaper, online, Craigslist, signs, etc.).  Deliver your flyer 4-5 weeks (or more) before the sale to give your neighbors a chance to prepare for their sales.

2.  Request a $3 – $5 donation to help with advertising costs.  I usually request $5 and find that most people are happy to donate considering that it would cost them $40 or more to have a sale on their own.  Plus – neighborhood sales always attract more buyers than single sales.

3.  Ask for volunteers to help put up signs.  This one may be a tougher sell, but if you get stuck with the job, look at it this way: you would have had to do it with your own sale anyway.  You may just find that your neighbors want to help – they probably do!

4.  Leave your contact information so they can contact you (and get you the advertising money).  Ask if they have any specific big ticket or popular items that should be listed in the advertisement. (more on Advertising in tomorrow’s post)

5.  Bribe your kids (ha!) to help hand out flyers.  Take a walk together as a family (or ask your neighbors to help) and split the street in “half”.  Have a race to see who can finish their side first.  Ice cream sandwiches are always a fun treat to share with the winners (and losers ;)) of the race!  If you are inviting multiple streets, ask some neighbors to join in helping to deliver the flyers.

A neighborhood sale doesn’t have to mean your entire development, or a 10 block radius of your home.  Inviting the neighbors on your own street is still very effective and will definitely entice many more people to come to your sales.

The more people you can have join you, the better!

What if I don’t have time to plan a neighborhood sale?

A neighborhood sale isn’t necessary to have a successful sale!  It is still possible to attract lots of people just by inviting a few friends to join you.

We had a very busy spring and I just didn’t have much time, so we opted not to plan a neighborhood sale this year.  But, we did invite friends!

I was sure people thought we were hoarders!  Our {fairly} long driveway was packed up and down both sides all the way up to {and partially including} the garage.

We had more than 6 families’ stuff at our sale!  You can bet with all that stuff we didn’t have any “drive-bys” as we like to call them (when people drive slowly by looking at what you have but don’t stop at your sale).  There was very obviously “something for everyone”.

Asking friends to join you makes your sale FUN and PROFITABLE!

One of my favorite things about having a yard sale with friends is the time you get to hang out together.  When else do you plan a day (or more) to just sit and chat with friends from early in the morning until the afternoon?  It’s one of my favorite times of year.  We always include our kids and have So. Much. Fun!

Day 2 in this series is Making Great Signs & Advertising!

Day 3 is Organizing Your Sale and Other Tips for Earning Money

Day 4 is Day 4 ~ Getting Kids Involved and Making it Fun!

Do you plan a yard sale every year?   Do you prefer to go solo, or do you like to invite friends and neighbors?


13 Responses to “How to Have a {Very} Successful Yard Sale”

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  1. Azslyn Cole says:

    Thank You for the advice this will definitely come in handy =}

  2. Tanya says:

    Great tips, we have had a few over the years. Some successful and some not so much. But I will be following this as I have overlooked a few key things I can see. Now following, (I am a HS mom of four too)

    Hugs, Tanya :)

    • Ginny says:

      Thanks, Tanya. I’m glad you found some inspiration! Thanks for stopping by – it’s always nice to meet another homeschooling mom. :D

  3. Amee says:

    Thank you this is a perfect post as I want to do a yard sale soon. Pinned and shared it with my readers on FB. Amee

  4. Great tips Ginny! I’ve been meaning to have a yard sale for about 6 months now. The garage is getting ridiculous! Thanks so much for sharing at Mom On Timeout!

  5. Marci says:

    I wish this had been posted like a month ago! We had a multi-family garage sale to raise money for the girls at my church to raise money to attend camp this summer… it went well, but I think with some of these tips we could’ve done a little better. Thanks for posting all these tips, we’ll tuck these away in case we try a yard sale again next year for our fundraising!

    • Ginny says:

      Oh, too bad, Marci! Oh well. I hope the tips help you out next year. :D I hope the girls enjoy camp, my oldest two are looking forward to going in a few weeks.

  6. These are some great tips!! I’ll have to keep this in mind. I’m either going to have a garage sale in the next couple of weeks, or in August. I’m probably going to have it at my sister’s house (she has a much better location).

    Thanks for linking up at Romance on a dime!! I’m pinning this.

  7. Emily Watson says:

    I have been an avid attendee of garage sales my entire life.

    1. Make sure you have enough change. Getting $20 worth of fives and ones is not going to cut it long and people will be forced to walk away.

    2. Take the time to hang up clothes. Just do it. People don’t want to spend half the day digging through a disorderly pile.

    3. Put your stuff on tables, not all over the ground.

    3. Baby clothes are ok to have in a pile but put them in boxes/ hampers based on sizes.

    4. Write your address BIG & BOLD on your signs. No one is stopping their car to see what time it opens.

    5. Block your driveway so people don’t park directly in front of it.

    6. Have other people around just for extra eyes and ears. People steal even at garage sales.

    7. Clean your furniture and high dollar toys. The return is well worth the cost of 1 magic eraser.

  8. Maggie says:

    I am an avid garage sale goer! Here is my tips if you’re having a garage sale.
    1. Price your stuff to sell! – do you want to put the stuff back?
    2. Put a price on everything – nobody likes to make the first offer or keep asking.
    3. Mark the stuff down after the first day of the sale to half price. If you plan to donate the left overs
    to the thrift store anyway – mark down the prices!
    4. put your address on every sign!

  9. Maggie says:

    I am an avid garage sale goer! Here are my tips if you’re having a garage sale.
    1. Price your stuff to sell! – do you want to put the stuff back in your house?
    2. Put a price on everything – nobody likes to make the first offer or keep asking.
    3. Mark the stuff down after the first day of the sale to half price. If you plan to donate the left overs
    to the thrift store anyway – mark down the prices!
    4. put your address on every sign!
    5. Put how many miles on your signs. It really stinks casing a garage sale sign for 5 or 10 miles to come to a sale that is over priced and has diaper genies and breast pumps.
    6. The most important tip – If you can fit all of your garage sale items in a couple of plastic storage bins – Don’t waste your time or anybody elses. wait until you have more- or have a multi- family sale!


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