Have you ever been to a yard sale? I love them. I love going to them and I honestly really love having yard sales. After having over a dozen yard sales, I wanted to share how to have a yard sale along with some tips so you can make some extra money.
Some call them yard sales, garage sales, tag sales, etc. but if you’re setting stuff out in the yard, driveway or garage – it’s all really the same. They can be a lot of work, but it’s a great way to make extra money and get some stuff out of your house.
I want to share with you some yard sale tips, including topics like what to sell, how to make yard sale signs that actually get people to show up, how to price your items, what to do to prepare for your sale, tips for the day of and even some tips for after the sale.
One of our recent yard sales made us $1,065! We did have one higher priced item at $200 that sold, but almost everything else was $1-$3.
What to sell at a yard sale
Honestly, you can sell pretty much anything at a yard sale. Clean out your house, your garage, your closet. Check your kitchen cabinets for stuff you don’t use anymore. Under your bed. Tell friends and family in case they’ve been meaning to get rid of some stuff too. I’ve even sold unopened food items I knew I wasn’t going to eat. Yes, really.
What sells best at yard sales
Below is a list of what we tend to sell the most of at our yard sales.
- Clothes (this is always our best seller!)
- Baby/kid items
- Kitchen gadgets
- Household decor
- Video games
- Cheap furniture
You can pretty much sell anything at a yard sale, that’s the beauty of it! The only thing I might be hesitant to sell is anything of significant value like jewelry. Keep those close by or on you if you do decide to sell stuff like that.
When to have a yard sale
In my experience most yard sales are Saturday mornings from 7am-12pm. But after talking to a lot of people who have had yard sales I’ve heard that Friday mornings can also be great for yard sales! We have actually found this to be true as well. It also depends on your area. Some places they can start as early as 6am.
Avoid having your yard sale on holiday weekends or weekends where there are large events happening such as fairs or graduations because people will be busy or out of town.
Another thing to consider is to have your yard sale in the last half of the month. If you have it too close to the first of the month people may not have a lot of money to spare because they just spent it all paying bills.
How to price yard sale items
While there are different opinions on how to price, it’s also going to depend on your area and how badly you want to sell your stuff. We generally price to move our items because our goal is always to clear stuff out.
Important tip: make sure you add price stickers to all of your stuff. Most people won’t ask for pricing!
Most people shopping at yard sales are wanting to spend in the $1-$5 range. I’d say we generally price 80% or more of our items under $5. Many of our items are priced at just $1.
Here’s an example of how we generally price (of course there are always exceptions). Keep in mind we generally price on the LOW end because when we’re having a garage sale our goal is to get these items out, not to bring them back in because we priced too high. Adjust according to what works for you.
- Clothing (adult) $1 for most just to make it easy on us. If we have nicer items or new with tags items we will price $3-$5, but even nice or new items at those prices don’t sell as well as $1 clothing.
- Clothing (kids) .50 to $1 per piece
- Shoes $2-$5 per pair
- Purses $3-$10
- Mugs, plates, bowls, etc $1 each
- Toasters $5-$10
- Coffee makers $5-$20
- Books .50 to $1
- DVDs $1
- Toys & Games $1-$5
- Coffee tables $10-$25
- End tables $5-$15
- Bookshelves $10-$40
These are just some examples. My biggest tip is that you pay attention to how people are pricing where you live. Go to a few yard sales yourself. And consider what your goal is: get top dollar and possibly not sell very much or price low and move items out. To me there’s nothing worse than having to pack up all the stuff that didn’t sell.
What you need for a yard sale
If you want to save yourself some time driving around to get supplies, you can just grab a complete yard sale kit online. I really like this one!
- Signs. We made our signs and have been using the same ones for like 10 years. My BIGGEST tip is to have bright neon colors with HUGE arrows. If you’d rather buy some these are great because you can use the black line at the bottom to fill in arrows which ever way you need them to point.
- Yard sale stickers. You want the blank ones, not the preprinted ones because you’ll have tons left over of the prices you don’t use.
- Sharpie for pricing and making signs
- Display tables to showcase your items (we usually have 5 or more)
- Tarp if you have a lot of items you can also set out a tarp to display items if you don’t have enough room on tables
- Apron or Cash Box to keep your money safe
- CASH! Don’t forget to have lots of $1 and $5 bills, plus some change as well.
Prepping your yard sale tips
To have a successful yard sale it’s important to do some prep! Sorting, pricing, making signs, etc. is all important because when you start pulling stuff out in the morning, you’ll be busier than you expect setting up and the more you have prepared the better.
Make sure you have enough stuff
I always laugh when I pass a yard sale where there are 10 or 20 items neatly placed on a table. For me, that’s not worth the time spent sitting outside for hours. Make sure your yard sale looks full otherwise a lot of people will just drive by.
Have change for your yard sale
One of the most important things to make sure you do is to go get change. We like to have $50 or more in $1 and $5 bills because a lot of people will hand you a $20 bill for a $2 item and if you don’t have the change you’ll lose the sale. Have some quarters too in case you sell something for less than a dollar and need to give change.
If you have time take a few hours a day or two before the yard sale to go through everything you want to sell. Gather it all in one spot so you’r not running all over the house the morning of the sale trying to put it all outside. We like to make a big pile by the door or in our garage of items in boxes so they’re easy to move out the morning of.
There’s a big debate on putting price tags on everything or not. I used to avoid doing this because it was too time-consuming, but there are also people who won’t even ask for a price and just leave.
I figure that people who are going to haggle will haggle if there’s a price or not. Also prices makes it easier for YOU to remember how to price things, especially if you’re selling with another person and agreeing on prices.
I’ve also talked to people who said that if there are no prices they won’t buy anything. I’ve never had that issue and find that not pricing every single item saves us a ridiculous amount of time, so it’s really up to you. If I’m in a big time crunch, I’ll just price items that are going to be over $5.
I like to tell people who have a few things in their hands “Here’s a box, why don’t you shop and then we’ll make a deal on a bundle when you’re done.”
There are pros to pricing items though. You’ll get less people interrupting your transaction with someone else asking for prices. And less of a chance of someone saying “oh but your husband told me it was $1” when you were pricing it at $5.
Ask the neighbors to join you
If you’re having a yard sale try asking a few neighbors to join you! If you advertise a multi family or neighborhood yard sale you’ll get much more traffic because people know they can hit several sales at once. Even if you just have 1 or 2 neighbors join in, it’ll be great to draw people in.
One way to ask your neighbors without going door to door is to make a post on the NextDoor app letting people know about your sale and asking if others want to have one too. You can even share some of these yard sale tips (or link to this post) so they can have a great sale too!
Make sure to mention that it’s a neighborhood sale or multi-family sale on your signs and anywhere you advertise the sale.
How to Advertise a Yard Sale
Make sure you post your yard sale online! Of course signs are important, but a lot of people find yard sales through places like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and the Yard Sale Treasure Map app (which pulls ads from craigslist). I usually post the night before and include some photos of the stuff we’ll be selling and then again the morning of the sale with photos of the actual sale.
What to do the day of your yard sale
Get up early!
Even though we always advertise our yard sales to start at 8am, we’re usually up and setting up by 6am because there’s usually someone showing up early. It always takes us longer than we think it will to set up and getting a huge rush of customers when you’re in the middle of set up can be overwhelming.
Get those signs up
As soon as our yard sale is mostly set up I send my husband to put the signs up. It usually takes a good 20+ minutes so making sure he’s out there at least a half hour before our sale starts is key. We sometimes even put them up the night before so we don’t miss any early customers.
Put furniture curb side
Make sure you put any big items like furniture closer to the street. Not only will this be easier for people driving by to see, but it also makes it easier to load into a car when someone purchases the item. The last thing you need is to be carrying a huge piece of furniture through a busy yard sale.
Hide large bills
We only keep $1, $5 and $10 bills on us. $20 bills and up go inside so we don’t accidentally lose them and we’re not shuffling through hundreds of dollars in front of people.
Keep the dogs and kids inside
I have dogs and kids. I get it. But some people just don’t like dogs, are allergic or are terrified. I don’t mind dogs at yard sales and I will happily interact with them. But people who aren’t into it might be turned off. I’ve been to yard sales where dogs were lounging on the clothes they were trying to sell.
As for kids, it’s just easier if they’re inside because it can get hectic and be hard to keep an eye on them if they’re younger. We usually ask a family member to come over for the morning to help us keep an eye on them inside if possible. It can definitely be done with kids around, but the last thing you need is a tantrum while you’re trying to do a transaction with someone.
Dollar table or pile
Honestly? We throw all of our $1 clothes on a big tarp and tell people everything on the tarp is $1 each. This is by far our best seller at every single yard sale. Most people don’t mind digging to find a good deal.
What to do after a yard sale is over
There are some options on what you do after. It’s rare that you sell every item you put out so you need to decide what you want to do with it all when you’re done.
We usually pick out the few items (very few) that we want to keep to sell online or just keep and then the rest gets loaded up and donated to a thrift store.
- Where to sell online for free
- How to Sell on Poshmark for Beginners
- Beginners Guide to Selling on Mercari
- How to sell on Ebay for Beginners
- How I started my Ebay Business for $0
If you don’t want to do that or don’t have the time you can also advertise that your yard sale left overs are free and leave them out. Just make sure that it’s clear which items people are allowed to take, I’ve heard of people taking plants from a porch because it was next to the free items.
And now you’re well equipped to have a fantastic yard sale!
Do you have any yard sale tips as a buyer or a seller?
I’d love to hear them in the comments below 🙂