Last summer my family held a yard sale and it was really successful. We were trying to raise money to pay for fertility treatments, so we had a lot of help and had a lot of things donated for us to sell. But there were a few simple things that we did, that I think anyone could do to have a great yard sale, regardless of whether it is just for de-junking or for a fundraiser.
Today I want to share a few tips on how to have a successful yard sale. There really is more to it than just setting your stuff out and putting up a few signs. Yard Sales take time and energy – you might as well make it worth your while.
1.) Go Big or Go Home
If you are going to have a yard sale, I would suggest doing so when you have a lot of things to sell. If you just have a few boxes of odds and ends it probably won’t be worth your time. Go through your house and find anything and everything you want to get rid of, and if it’s not enough, consider asking other friends or family members to do it with you. Multi-family yard sales really draw great crowds. When you combine multiple families items you will have a lot of stuff. Most people like to have options and enjoy looking around. When someone sees a house with tons of things they are more likely to stop and look.
You want people to come to your yard sale? You have to let them know about it first! Putting up yard sale signs might take some time and effort but it will be worth it. When putting up signs, get several bright poster boards all the same color. When we had ours, we made sure there were arrows on them pointing them in the right direction toward our house. We also had cut out arrows from poster boards that we stapled up throughout our neighborhood to show the way. Several people told us how much they loved being able to follow the arrows right to our house. We put them up the night before so people would be able to see them earlier enough to make plans to be there.
Another way of advertising is online. Post it on your Facebook wall, and look and see if your community has an online-yard sale site on Facebook. Most do, and it is a perfect place to advertise that you will be having a yard sale at your home. You can even post about your yard sale on sites like Craigslist. If you plan enough ahead, you can advertise in your local or community neighborhood newspaper. I was worried at first that we were “over” advertising- but I soon realized there is no such thing! The more people that come, the higher chance your stuff sells.
3.) Sell Treats
Our Bake Sale was the biggest hit and was a huge money maker for us. We sold soda and bottled water along with pre-packaged snacks and goodies. Have one or two designated people -usually kids- to be in charge of manning the bake sale and let them be in charge of that area. When people are out looking at yard sales, they love to snack! And most people can’t resist and adorable child asking them if they would like a donut.
4.) Price to Sell
You obviously want to make money if you’re putting for the time and effort to have a yard sale, but you have to remember- people love a bargain! They don’t care if they are buying something practically brand new or in perfect condition, it is still used and it is coming to them second hand. If you have things that are higher priced (such as furniture) try putting those things toward the back. If people walk up and see high prices it will deter them from looking further.
Also, have prices visible! Ticketing and pricing out stuff can be a pain. But it will be worth it. People like to know what the prices are, and don’t want to have ask the seller how much things are, especially if they are interested in a lot of stuff. There are a few tips to make pricing easier. You can set things out that you want priced the same all on the same table with one large sign on it stating the price or you can get the price stickers that already have dollar or cent amounts on them. You can usually find them at the Dollar Store.
5.) Stay Organized
Cluster things together that are the same. For instance, have a section of your yard where all the toys are and a section where you lay out all the books. If you are selling a lot of clothes, it might be tempting to throw them all in a box for people to go through, but take the time to set them out.
We set out large picnic sized blankets on the grass and laid out the clothes on it so people could see what was there. You can put signs that say “boy” or “girl” or “coats” on each blanket so people know what they are looking at. If you are selling a lot of clothes, consider having “grab bags” where you supply the customers with plastic grocery bags and they can stuff whatever will fit in it for five dollars. You might want to consider do that toward the end of your sale when you are looking to get rid of stuff faster.
6.) Be Flexible
There are always going to be people who are going to talk you down price. We were having a fundraiser yard sale, and people still wanted to pay less. Remember, any amount of money is better than none. Unless it is an outrageous offer, consider taking it or counter offering a different price. Don’t be offended if people don’t see the sentimental value in your great-grandmother’s old rocking chair- roll with the punches and be prepared to stand firm in your pricing or be prepared to be flexible.
7.) Be Friendly
A smile and a hello goes a long way! Greet your customers, engage with them, and make small talk when it seems appropriate. But also take note if your customers don’t want to talk. Be observant and notice social cues. It might pain you to talk to someone you don’t know, but if they are chatty, it might help you make a sale. When people feel they are in a friendly environment, it makes them feel more comfortable and willing to stick around. You could even have some fun music playing in the background to create a more relaxing ambiance.
8.) Don’t Forget Change
Before you open up for the day make sure you have several ones, and fives and different coins. There is nothing worse than losing out on a sale because you couldn’t make change.
9.) Stay Safe
Keep your money box in one place and make sure someone is always by it. Use the buddy system and make sure there are two people “in charge” at all times. That way one person can be watching the money while the other person greets customers and answers questions. It will keep everyone safe, especially when crowds die down and there are not as many people around.A cashbox is a must-have for money!
At the end of the day take inventory on what you have left. You probably had a yard sale in the first place to get rid of stuff, right? Instead of storing things even longer, have a plan in place to donate the rest of your things. If it means borrowing a friends’ truck to haul it away- do it. Find a Goodwill or Salvation Army in your area and take the leftovers there as soon as you can. You wanted to get rid of everything to begin with, don’t think twice about holding on to stuff now.
I hope these tips are helpful for you when you plan your next yard sale. Remember to have fun, and go in with a positive attitude. A lot of people love to go to yard sales, and it is a favorite past time for many. It is a great way to make some extra money and get rid of stuff around your house. It can be a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. Our two girls loved helping and participating in it and they still talk about it a year later.
What tips did I miss? How did you make your yard sale a success?
Cindy Maudsley lives in Utah with her husband and three young daughters. Aside from writing, her passions include her family, faith, and spreading infertility awareness. She also loves a good book, Netflix binge, diet Coke and Target run