The ultimate guide to making money from your yard sale

The ultimate guide to making money from your yard sale

 

Have you ever hosted a yard sale with dismal sales? You made a dollar per hour for your efforts. No fun.

Last weekend, I hosted a garage sale with my brother, my ex-wife, and my girlfriend. It was a raging success. We cleared out tons of stuff, and we netted over $2500 in the process.

I've hosted many yard sales over the years (and shopped at dozens more) and have developed some strong opinions about what works best. I've heard people complain that garage sales aren't worth the time. But they can be quite profitable if you do a few simple things.

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Happy customers browsing our sale…


  • With so many tips, we divided them into ten main sections that cover all the aspects of hosting a yard sale.
  • If the subject was too large, we broke the main section down into sub-sections to highlight specific topics. Click on any of the hyperlinks to go immediately to that section or sub-section.
  • Yard Sale tips we consider essential are marked with a happy star ?. But don't ignore the other tips! They're all important to know.

Define Your Goal


The kind of event you hold depends on what you're trying to accomplish, and it's usually one of two things:

  • Get rid of stuff (fast) or …
  • Make as much money as possible.

(Skip to next section)


Take Advantage of Different Seasons

Whether you're trying to get the most money for your things or to sell them as quickly as possible, consider how timing can affect your choice of location, what you sell, how you advertise, and even how often you schedule yard sales.

For example, if you're moving and you can't take it with you, a yard sale is the perfect solution. But you may also be up against some tight deadlines that complicate things. How do you make it work in February, or if you only have a weekend, or you won't have anyone to help you?

On the other hand, if you have a lot of time, you can maximize your result by scheduling a few events that target special or seasonal items. What should you know about merchandising to get the best price?

Depending on your area, you may find that one-day sales are more beneficial. Experiment with which day is best. Maybe a Thursday afternoon/Friday combination is great, or just Fridays.

? You may think it's best to schedule a yard sale in the summer months, but it's possible to have a successful yard sale any time of year. In fact, you might even be able to capitalize on the fact that it's February or November and there aren't as many yard sales. Think about the pros and cons of each season.


Springtime


Advantages:

In northern climates, a yard sale in spring is an invitation to spend money after being cooped up all winter. There's an air of optimism that could boost how much you're able to sell.

Disadvantages:

Weather patterns are often unpredictable, and that could affect turnout. Pay particular attention to location and logistics. Shelter is critical to protect your merchandise and keep customers happy despite conditions.

Advertising:

Be clear about how rainy weather will affect the hours of your sale.

Good Items to Sell:

  • Sports equipment
  • Camping gear
  • Gardening tools
  • High-quality children's clothing
  • Patio furniture

Summertime


Advantages:

The hot, sunny, lazy days of summer make it easier to attract a throng and hopefully increase sales. And since the days are longer, you may only need a single day to sell all your items.

Disadvantages:

Heat and humidity are concerns in summer, so it's important to provide shade and a place for customers to sit.

Advertising:

It's even more important to differentiate yourself in advertising. Find your hook free ice water, a kiddie pool, a neighborhood back-to-school sale.

Good Items to Sell:

  • Back-to-school clothes
  • Furniture and household goods for dorms/apartments
  • Outdoor toys bikes, camping gear
  • Books (especially children's books)
  • Electronics

Autumn


Advantages:

Fall still offers pleasant weather, but the most hard-core (read: negotiate-like-crazy) customers are burned out.

Disadvantages:

Depending on your area, wind and weather patterns can be unstable. That doesn't usually affect turnout, but it's another reason to protect your merchandise.

Advertising:

Your customers may be looking for, or college students may need, your furniture and household goods to furnish dorms or apartments. Highlight these items in your advertising, as well. Maybe even title your sale as a Back-to-school yard sale!

Good Items to Sell:

  • Winter items
  • Exercise gear
  • Picture frames
  • Holiday decorations
  • Collectibles

Wintertime


Advantages:

In the lower latitudes, winter yard sales may continue on just as they do in the fall. Not so in the cold climate of the higher latitudes. Still, motivated buyers find motivated sellers in the winter months too. The winter months may be the best time to find bargain-hunters.

Disadvantages:

In winter, location and logistics are critical. A community or church hall may offer the best environment for a yard sale if they will work with you. Even a storage facility may permit a yard sale on their grounds if you're a customer.

Advertising:

Give clear directions for parking and how to access any buildings.

Good Items to Sell:

  • Space heaters
  • Firewood
  • Tools
  • Furniture
  • Clean linens and blankets

With yard sales, word gets around. So stock your sale with lots of stuff to pull the biggest crowds and generate buzz.

  • Locate and sell anything you no longer want or need. Aaron LaPedis, author of The Garage Sale Millionaire, suggests taking an inventory of all of your possessions in order to determine what you should sell and what you should keep. “Make sure you go through your house top to bottom — every closet, drawer, nook, and cranny,” says LaPedis. “Nothing is too small or too big to sell.” And make sure you have enough stuff.
  • ? Don't base what you sell on what you would buy. You never know if someone likes to fix broken things or is looking for materials for an art project. If it's something you don't want and it's safe, put it in your garage sale.
  • Offer to sell stuff for family and friends. Ask around to see if anyone has big-ticket items to sell. Not only does this help them, it also could potentially draw more customers to your sale.
  • Look beyond household stuff as your merchandise. Do you have plant starts you could pot and sell? How about leftover building or landscape materials?
  • Take the time to wipe off the dust and dirt. Clean stuff sells better. Period.

All garage sales are basically the same. Find a way to set yours apart, whether it's by theme, price, scale, or amenities. Last weekend, for instance, I billed ours as a “geek garage sale”, and emphasized that I had graphic novels, board games, and computer gear. My Craigslist ad brought folks from far and wide because of this. They bought the geeky stuff, but they also bought kitchen gadgets and yard art and clothing.

  • Label your sale. Lots of graphic novels, board games, and computer gear? Bill it as a “geek yard sale.” We did this last weekend and my Craigslist ad brought folks from far and wide because of this. They bought the geeky stuff, but they also bought kitchen gadgets and yard art and clothing.
  • Free delivery! If you have several large items to sell, another way to differentiate yourself is to find a couple of volunteers with trucks who wouldn't mind delivering items — for free — after the sale.
  • Partner with your neighbors! Neighborhood garage sales attract tons more customers, so talk to your neighbors and spread the word ahead of time to arrange multiple sales. Find out what your neighbors are selling and offer to refer your customers to them. Or, better yet, hold your garage sale during an established entire-neighborhood garage sale day.
  • Offer free lemonade, cookies, or even just ice water. Most garage sales are held on hot days so a jug of watery lemonade or refreshing ice water is a nice gift for your customers. Don't forget that visiting pets get thirsty too.
  • Engage the customers. Be friendly. Chat up the people who stop by. Be engaging. When parents with young children visit, I always find something to give the kids for free (often it's whatever they've gravitated toward). I also throw in freebies for folks who buy lots of Stuff. This builds goodwill, especially among the other customers who are watching things transpire. I believe we sold more because Kim and Kris and I were friendly and fun.

Getting the word out about your sale is critical to your success. In the old days, advertising meant sticking an ad in the newspaper, which would normally cost around $20. Newspapers may still be useful today, but other (free!) methods exist.

Here's how to advertise to get more customers today.

Neighborhood Publications:

If you're hosting a yard sale along with others in your neighborhood, check if they publish the yard sales. This may be free or cost a nominal fee.

Craigslist:

To get the most value from a Craigslist ad…

  • Advertise the date and location of your sale.
  • Add pictures and descriptions of the nicer items.
  • ? Put up ads for the most valuable things in their respective categories on Craigslist. Some people might not be browsing in the garage sale section but might see your ad for the table set in the furniture section and come to the sale for it and more stuff.
  • Once it sells, delete that listing immediately as a courtesy.

Make your Sale Shareable. Social Media is your Friend:

?Facebook, Twitter, Instagram use them! The entire week before the sale, post on social media about your merchandise. Include pictures. During the day of the sale, update your status or tweet on what you still have available.

Nine Tips to Make your Signs Sizzle!


Your goal is to get as much traffic as possible. If your signs are unclear or difficult to read, people won't waste their time, especially if there are dozens of yard sales to choose from. Simple is best!

I'm shocked at how ineffective most garage sale signs are. It's like people don't care, or as if they don't spend twenty seconds putting themselves in the shoes of their customers. Keep signs clean and neat. Make sure everything's legible. Make sure nothing's ambiguous. Clear signage is worth its weight in gold. Our signs included the address, the date and time of the sale, and an arrow pointing the way. I hung a dozen of them along the major traffic roads in the area, funneling people onto our street.

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Our signs also had the address and an arrow pointing the way…

Design to inform and intrigue

  1. Use bright colors to attract attention.
  2. Use a thick marker of a contrasting color to make big, bold text.
  3. Adding a border around your text may increase readability. Remember that your customers are cruising by at 35 miles per hour!
  4. Have large arrows pointing in the correct direction. It's so much easier to follow arrows than to slow down to read an address.
  5. Remember that superlatives rule Awesome! Blowout! Epic!

Where's your sign?

  1. Post multiple signs around your neighborhood.
  2. Place signs at nearby major intersections and at each turn along the way.
  3. Also, take a practice drive past one of your signs. Do people have time to read it, make a decision, and make the turn, before they've driven past it?
  4. After the sale is over, remove all the signs!

The right supplies can make your sale run more smoothly. So as you get closer to the big day, gather everything you need.

  1. Borrow tables and shelves to display your merchandise. Having a check-out table can be helpful. It helps people know exactly where to go to ask a question, and placing the table near the exit allows you to welcome people in while watching that they don't walk off with anything.
  2. Apron or fanny pack for the money. I use a cheap cloth apron/utility belt from the local hardware store. It works beautifully. Some people use fanny pack or a zippered bank deposit pouch.
  3. Markers, scissors, masking tape, price stickers, and poster board. As you change prices throughout the day, you'll use these items. Also, use these supplies to mark items that are NOT for sale.
  4. Paper/pencil. Use this as a ledger to jot down a description of each item and how much you sold it for or to place stickers on a page for each seller. (This can help make it easier to settle up after the sale if you have a neighborhood event.)
  5. Calculator. Having a calculator will expedite your checkout line and make it easier if you're not especially gifted at math!
  6. Batteries. Keep an assortment of batteries on hand so that a prospective buyer can test that old Nintendo Gameboy for himself.
  7. Extension cords. If you are selling electrical items, make sure you have an extension cord handy or display these items near a plug so people can test them.
  8. Bags/boxes for customer purchases. Collect free bags/boxes before your sale so your customers can haul away their purchases.
  9. Hangers and a method to hang clothes. Searching through hanging clothes is much easier than pawing through a table covered with clothes.
  10. Plenty of cash. Get two rolls of quarters, a stack of 50 $1 bills, 10 $5 bills, and 5 $10 bills. Do it two days before the sale so that, if you forget, you can still get the change on the day before.

Pricing


$1 price tag

Know your purpose. “There are two types of garage sales,” an old man told me last weekend. “One is to make money. The other is to get rid of Stuff.” Know which type of sale you're holding and why. Your purpose will affect how much you negotiate and how much you give away for free.

As mentioned above, be clear on the purpose of your sale. Are you selling things to make money or to get rid of them? This question affects everything you do, from how you price things to how willing you are to negotiate. Surprisingly, you can often make more money (and get rid of more junk) by pricing things low. (If your goal is to get top dollar, you should really be selling on eBay or Craigslist.)

Oh, and lose your sentimental attachment. Unfortunately, no one cares how much you paid for an item or how many memories are attached to it. It's a sunk-cost. They just want a bargain!

How to Establish Price


Know the value of your items. By doing some research on eBay or Craigslist, you might discover that some of your items are worth way more than you thought. However, this does not mean you should actually charge those prices. By attending yard sales yourself, you'll have a general idea of what an acceptable price is. Also, you're probably safe by pricing things somewhat below what the area thrift stores charge.

  1. Don't price your stuff too low. People like to bargain, so allow some wiggle room. Also, you want to make money. You can always have a 50-percent-off sale over the last couple hours.
  2. Price items like a store. If you have a lot of something, “Buy 3, get 1 free” works really well.
  3. Other pricing strategies. Fill this box for $10 or fill this bag for $5. Anything not valuable can go on tables dedicated to that and you will get rid of all sorts of stuff that people might not buy individually but might stuff in a box.

To Price or not to Price.

Pricing items is a pain, no question.

  • Some people find it more profitable not to price anything because customers are turned off if the price is too high.
  • However, most customers prefer priced items, if only as a starting point for haggling.
  • Opting for a hybrid approach may require pricing larger items, or grouping like items on a table and then placing a sign on the table for the prices.
  • You can also place anything worth less than $5 or $10 on a table with a note to make an offer.
  • Another innovative approach is to mark by colored stickers only and having a master price list or two. As the day goes on, you can easily change the master price lists without changing prices on the individual items.

Be Willing to Bargain, but be Less Flexible at the Start.

If you just want to get rid of your stuff, you probably won't mind haggling over anything.

But if you're interested to make some money for your efforts, don't haggle over a low-priced item or two. If your customers buy several things, cut them a deal.

Also don't cut prices by much the morning of the sale, unless they are buying a ton of stuff. Tell them that you'll cut prices a couple of hours before the end of the sale, and if they're willing to take the chance, they can come back later. Or offer to take their phone number, and say “I'm sorry, but I'm not comfortable selling it at that price. Would you like me to call you if it's still here at the end of the day?”

By the end of the sale, it's best to practically give things away rather than face the prospect of having to deal with it later.


Too many garage sales are a haphazard collection of Stuff piled every which way. Don't be like that. Take lessons from supermarkets and department stores. “Organize things so they'll catch the shopper's eye,” Kris says. “And don't have depressing music playing.” (At the start of the sale, I had some New Age music on the stereo. “It sounds like a funeral,” she told me. She had me put on Elton John's greatest hits instead, and people loved it. Sales improved!)

If you really want more bang for your buck, borrow from the big retailers' playbook for how to display your merchandise.

  1. Prepare your window display. How do regular stores get people to stop in? By creating intriguing/beautiful/interesting window displays. You won't have window displays but use the concept. You can lure more customers by placing highly-desirable items near the road.
  2. Move your customers to the right. For whatever reason, shoppers prefer to move through stores counter-clockwise. To get your customers to do the same, you can set up a table with free lemonade to the right, or display good items (but probably not the most expensive), or colorful, items to the right. You may want to place your most expensive/desirable items in the back of the garage, on the wall. As long as your customers can see these items from the garage door, they will walk past all your other items first.
  3. Display items to their advantage. Too many garage sales are a haphazard collection of stuff piled every which way. Customers want bargains with the feel of a store. Put the highest value items at eye level or clearly marked on a high-value table. Organize things so they'll catch the shopper's eye. Hang up clothes, sorted by size, with the sizes clearly labeled.
  4. Slow your customers down. Instead of lining your garage with long tables, consider staggering them in such a way that your customers slow down — without creating bottlenecks, of course.
  5. Make it cohesive. Establish themes. While you can group like items together, also consider grouping items of the same color, or by theme. One theme could be music: Gather old instruments, CDs, and old speakers together.
  6. Shed a little light. Lighting is important in big box stores, and it's just as important at your yard sale. Make sure all light bulbs are working in the garage. Consider setting up table lamps and white Christmas lights to brighten the atmosphere.
  7. Promote expensive items. Big-ticket items can be tough to sell, but you can do it with a little extra effort. For example, if you have a digital camera to sell, gather all the bits and pieces and place them together on a table along with a printout of the Amazon page for the camera.
  8. Think like a customer. As soon as you've opened and fielded the initial flood of shoppers, walk through your sale as if you were there to buy something. How does it feel? Are things clearly marked? Is it easy to move around? Visualize any potential bottleneck areas. Are your books on the ground in boxes or are they placed neatly on shelves and tables? As things sell, move items around to fill in the gaps.
  9. Make it easy for shoppers to test electronic items. If it is a sound or video electrical item, take a retailing idea from the pros and set it up to play. A TV that is playing will sell much better than one that is off. This is also true of sound electronics. Play videos on TV. People will start watching and ask to buy the video.
  10. Create visual interest. While you want all the customers to see into your garage clearly, don't forget that staggering items at various heights along your garage walls creates visual interest and allows better visualization.
  11. Display impulse purchases. Wherever customers check out, conspicuously place inexpensive, fun items.
  12. Have a box of free stuff. Nothing is more fun than finding something for nothing, so place a large, well-marked “FREE” box close to the curb. Mention the free box on the main Craigslist ad and place an individual Craigslist listing in the Free category.
  13. Complementary items. Have a pile of complimentary items and let buyers pick one item to go with each purchase. It could be any old junk, but people will love getting a freebie.
  14. Set up a lemonade stand. Instead of giving away free lemonade, your child can sell lemonade — and make her own money!
  15. Be the Pinterest of yard sales. Your customers may think something looks cool, but they aren't really sure how they'll use it. Consider displaying some of your merchandise on furniture you have for sale. By displaying the item in an interesting way, or even printing out some craft projects you found on Pinterest, you may inspire your customer to take the treasure home.

The Early Birds.

Warn in your ads that “early birds pay double.” Otherwise, you'll be stuck fumbling for change and entertaining these folks rather than getting your items ready. Or if you don't want early birds to show up, don't put your entire address in your ad. Then, just before you open, put out the signs and open the garage door. And don't take money (meaning, no sales) until you are ready.

Future Burglars.

Unless you personally know them, don't allow anyone in your house. If they ask for a bathroom, direct them to the closest public restroom.

Do NOT Use a Cash Box.

Carry your money on you at ALL times. You don't want to present a target for casual thieves. More than that, you don't want to be duped by professional swindlers who run distraction con games. It happens. It is devastating to see the profits from all your labor and the proceeds from your hard-to-part-with items vanish in an instant. This happened to a woman on our street on the last day of the sale last year. Do NOT use a cash box. I use a cheap cloth apron/utility belt from the local hardware store. It works beautifully. Some people use fanny pack or a zippered bank deposit pouch.

Don't Bad-Mouth your Items.

A decade ago, Kris and I held a garage sale with a group of friends. One guy constantly told customers what was wrong with the items they were purchasing. “Oh, that book is awful. That's a terrible movie. That skillet doesn't heat very well. That game is boring. Needless to say, we sent this friend inside to drink beer ASAP. Your goal is to sell the items. Don't lie — just emphasize the positives. Oh, that book is very popular. That movie won three Oscars. That skillet is great for pancakes. That game is fun for kids.

The Hostess with the Mostest.

If having a group yard sale, pick the best location in terms of traffic or accessibility or parking (and don't forget to clear parking spots on the big day for customers). Offer the host a bonus such as a percent of the sale or a hosting fee. Also, go over ground rules such as the bargaining policy, etc.

(If you have an option to select the home where the sale is hosted, select a home with a shaded drive, if possible.)


Have a plan for what you'll do with your unsold merchandise.

  • Some non-profits will pick up unsold stuff, so research this ahead of time.
  • If you are going to drop anything off at a thrift store, know their drop-off times/days. Also, check to see if there are any limitations on what they accept.
  • Post on the local freecycle (www.freecycle.org) that, after a certain time, whatever is left is free for the taking — and remember to include your address. If you're lucky, people will schlepp it away for you!

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Even after years of purging, I still have too many books…

We'd only intended for ours to be a two-day sale, but we did so well that we decided to open Sunday too. This time, we re-branded. Because we still had shelves filled with classics, graphic novels, and photography manuals, we billed ourselves as a “book sale”. Surprisingly, this still brought folks in. Traffic was much lighter than previous days, but we still cleared $400.

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In the end, we sold $2,454.90 worth of Stuff. Kim and Kris and Jeff didn't do as well as I did — none of them spent a lifetime making foolish financial choices and “collecting” books and records and comics and other toys — but everyone seemed happy with the money they earned. And as for me? After years of battles, I think I've finally won the war on Stuff!

A great yard sale begins with a great plan. What are your best yard sale tips?

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J.D.
J.D.
14 years ago

Sorry about the dearth of posts. I’m still working at the garage sale. It’s been busy. Just for fun, here’s a list of everything I’ve sold so far over the past two days: — start day one — $7.00 – CDs: Billy Joel, Tears For Fears, Judds free – the head of a broken axe $3.00 – VHS: Vertigo (letterbox) $2.00 – VHS: The Fountainhead $4.00 – Books: C++ (Strousstrop) and a German play $1.00 – white ceramic bowl $0.50 – Tape: Rick Springfield’s Tao $3.00 – CD: Cyndi Lauper $3.00 – Sign: Star Fleet Personnel Only $10.00 – unused… Read more »

Penny
Penny
13 years ago

I am having a garage sale in like 4 days and i dont know how to price my stuff. how much should i price for…

CD’s (the used, HIM, all american rejects, aerosmith, like 20 more)=

clothes=

crockpot (never opened)=

VCR (nothing wrong with it)=

VHS movies( good condition)=

new book bag ( LOTS of room)=

stuffed animals( clean)=

books ( brand new hardbacks)=

please someone answer my questions!!

BillinDetroit
BillinDetroit
13 years ago

One thing I look for, but seldom see, at garage sales are TOOLS. If you’ve got ’em, put a sign out and I’m SOOO there! No sign, no stop. But don’t make me walk through a ton of kids size 3 jammies to find them. It seems like every garage sale on the planet has kids clothes … you don’t need a sign for that. But not many offer decent tools (still useful for their original purpose). Which is to say that you should offer signage for anything that sets your sale apart … sports equipment, tools, furniture … whatever… Read more »

A Tentative Personal Finance Blog
A Tentative Personal Finance Blog
13 years ago

good looking garage sale. Was that the before or after picture?

Any suggestions for garage selling when you don’t own a garage? I don’t own one and and relegated to selling things on eBay.

Albena Georgieva
Albena Georgieva
7 years ago

Why don’t you try Yardmama. It’s really great and you can post all year long, without having a yard or garage for only $34 / yr.

The Happy Rock
The Happy Rock
13 years ago

I wish all the junk left after yard sales would just disappear. For me, that is by far the worst part. You have all this junk that you have emotionally departed with, but then it is still there!

Eric MIchael
Eric MIchael
7 years ago
Reply to  The Happy Rock

We have an entire webpage that discusses how to get rid of stuff after your garage sale. You can also make money on the leftovers, if you do it right.

MoneyChangesThings
MoneyChangesThings
13 years ago

Three suggestions: 1) everyone loves free stuff. You could put out free lemonade/ice tea, cookies or whatever, to promote a festive feel. And you could have a pile of complementary items and buyers can pick one item to go with each purchase. It could be any old junk, but people will love getting a freebie. 2) have bags and or boxes available for people to haul away their purchases. 3)around here people post on the local freecycle (www.freecycle.org) that after a certain time, say 4 PM, whatever is left is free for the taking, and include their address. If you’re… Read more »

Anne
Anne
13 years ago

That sign’s not so great because it doesn’t include the date of the sale. Often I don’t even bother checking out a yard sale if the sign doesn’t have the date on it, because so many people fail to take a sign down after the sale. I don’t want to hunt for a yard sale that turns out to have ended two weeks ago.

nankie
nankie
13 years ago

I am a longtime fan of the Yard Sale Queen site. The message boards there are very busy..with tons of tips on hosting and going to yardsales, thrift shops and also reselling on ebay.

KMull
KMull
13 years ago

I would argue that you need to stick firm to your prices. I would be extremely annoyed if someone came up with something tagged $5 and offered me $4.50. Come on. Give me the 50 cents.

npbeers
npbeers
13 years ago

A few things… I personally find it easier and more profitable to not price each item. I keep a rough idea in my head as to how much I’d like to get it return, but generally I don’t want the hassle of having to deal with the left-overs, so I want everything to sell. If something is priced too high people will often just walk away. Talk to the customers if they are chatty and try to sell the items… ask what they are willing to pay and negotiate on everything. They will feel like they are getting a deal,… Read more »

J.D.
J.D.
13 years ago

I would argue that you need to stick firm to your prices. Kevin, Kevin, Kevin. Have you been to many yard sales, either as a buyer or seller? Around Portland, anyhow, the haggling is part of the game. I suspect that many people go out to sales just to haggle. In the case of a $5 item, a person isn’t likely to offer $4.50. They’re going to offer $2 or $3. Again, it depends on what your goal is with the sale. If your intentions are to make money, then you might be less willing to negotiate. But if you’re… Read more »

Julie Jarrett
Julie Jarrett
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D.

You may have to give them away. A sweet friend of mine, a retired school teacher, tried to donate a set to the local libraries, to schools and even Second Hand Books didn’t want them and they went into the recycle bin. So sad. Maybe in 50 more years they will be a priceless momento of an age when people read and used Encyclopedias for research.

Shanon
Shanon
5 years ago
Reply to  Julie Jarrett

Local Prisons and County Jails will take any and all books books books!!! Being that reading is about all they are allowed to do!

DizzyFromSaleing
DizzyFromSaleing
13 years ago

Great article — good comments. Check out http://www.yardsalequeen.com website for the low-down on making your sale a success. the author quotes some of her tips too. great web page. ref having a ys w/o a yard or garage — rent a table at a church/school flea market!

The Reviewer
The Reviewer
13 years ago

I think this is a great list, we are doing on in a few weeks and I am going to try to follow this list.

60 in 3
60 in 3
13 years ago

I like this article, but what about some tips for those of us who like to shop at garage sales? Any advice on what to look for and what to avoid?

Gal

J.D.
J.D.
13 years ago

Gal, check out how to find garage sale gold, one of the earliest articles I ever posted. It’s been a long time since I wrote about how to shop at yard sales, though — I’ll have to write something new.

Lynn
Lynn
13 years ago

I garage sale a lot during the summer – these are my suggestions: 1) Avoid bottlenecks – give people room to shop. If you have a table at which you collect $, move it away so that people can still move even if there’s a line to pay. 2)Avoid addresses and dates that clog up your signs. People can’t read these on the fly anyhow. In our town, you will get ticketed if you leave your signs up and they can track you down. Also, most people use the paper or craigslist to list of where they’re going and don’t… Read more »

sue
sue
13 years ago

Glad you referred to the yardsalequeen site. It has everything you’ll ever need to know about having a yard sale and going to yard sales. A terrific resource and lots of fun.

Scott Simmons
Scott Simmons
13 years ago

If only I’d gotten a picture, I’d have the ultimate submission to add to yardsalequeen’s bad sign hall of shame … I’m sure the accuracy was unintentional on the part of the sale promoter who put up the ‘Garbage Sale’ sign.

Really.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
13 years ago

I just wanted to let everyone know that I post on the message boards at Yard Sale Queen almost every day. The people on the site are full of knowledge and friendly too!

MVP
MVP
13 years ago

A couple other tips from a lifelong garage-saler: 1) If you want to make money, be aware of the over-bargainer – she’s the person who negitiates down on every item as she picks it up, then hands you a handful of stuff at the end. You potentially end up losing out on multiple dollars. If you see this starting to take shape, you might want to ask him/her to wait until she’s done shopping and you’ll work with her on the overall price. 2) For all that change you’ve got afterward: my bank has a machine that counts all the… Read more »

Bonnie
Bonnie
13 years ago

Wow! What perfect timing. We are planning a garage sale for next weekend (due to a rainy forcast for this weekend). We’re putting out some stuff that didn’t sell in last years sale but we’ll definitely be keeping these tips in mind!

FamilyFinanceBlog
FamilyFinanceBlog
13 years ago

Make sure that when you’re all done with your sale, you look into donating your items. You can get really good tax breaks from donations. (And if you really don’t feel like having a yard sale, you can actually make more money by donating than by having a garage sale in some circumstances … I have an article about it on my blog – sorry for the plug!) I agree with putting a date on your sign, it helps people know. For me the best yard sale sign has Yard sale at the top in big enough to read but… Read more »

stephanie
stephanie
13 years ago

wow! what a timely post! after reading about the benefits of yard sales i was very excited to participate in the neighborhood yard sale yesterday. ours was not nearly as productive. we lost money. and didn’t get rid of much stuff either. seemed to have a lot of people looking for the .10 item they could re-sell on ebay for $100. i worried about being overpriced, but i was offered .50 (and accepted as it was getting late in the day) for 5 books and 2 kitchen tools (1.45 by my pricing). it cost $5 to participate in the sale… Read more »

Joe Soter
Joe Soter
13 years ago

Garage Sale tip: When the kids were smaller they collected the free toys in their burger meals. When they got older we cleared out the toys by putting ten in a ziplock bag and selling the bag for 50 cents. It’s amazing how many of these trinkets were in the bottom of the kids’ toy box. Our bags brought in $20! Hint: Don’t let the customers’ kids open the bags and mix and match. You’ll sell more.

blondeblogger
blondeblogger
13 years ago

Good tips!! I’m hosting a contest on my blog right now and the prize is an autographed copy of Garage Sale America by Bruce Littlefield, plus one of his garage sale treasures. Stop on by and enter if you’d like. 🙂

Michelle
Michelle
13 years ago

Does anyone out there ever try to have a “swap meet” as opposed to a yardsale, for say maybe children’s clothing and such. I had the crazy idea that if I can host a swap meet at my church or school or even in my drive way, the kids could play in the backyard while the parents exchange childrens clothes and such. It would be a win win situation all the way around for everyone involved. If I did it at home I don’t have to drag my daughter anywhere, there is no money exchange, just decent clothes, toys, ect.… Read more »

natalie
natalie
13 years ago

To feed my Garage Sale fix I built http://www.garagesalenation.com, it maps out all the sales in the country. Last weekend I had over 24,000 sales mapped on it.

Peter
Peter
13 years ago

Natalie, great resource! One thing I was thinking of doing with some cuddly toys (and that sort of stuff) that doesn’t sell but is in good condition is to start a community toy library in the local play group. Kids can borrow toys and take them home for a week or two and then exchange then for something else. That way you get rid of toys that just won’t sell and the community benefits too!

Matthew
Matthew
12 years ago

To find or post garage sales by map, try http://www.mapgaragesales.com. The advantage to this one is that it’s free to post.

Leah
Leah
12 years ago

As pointed out, advertising is an obvious necessity. http://www.yardsalequeen.com/yardsalelinks.htm has some good sites. Some of you may have noticed http://www.yardsalead.com coming up in your searches. So far I have to say the site seems more professional than others that I have been to. Like the others it does not cost to post, but it gives search options to fine tune what you are looking for.

Kathryn
Kathryn
12 years ago

About your books….
You said you sold 100 dollars worth of books.
How did you price your books?
50 cents? 1 dollar?
Books always throw me. I never know how to price them.

Jenny Jacobs
Jenny Jacobs
12 years ago

I have found the best website ever for garage sales. It is called GarageSaleCow.com
This really is the best website I have ever used.

David
David
11 years ago

When I threw my garage sale I used a few forms to advertise it and garagesalecow is definetly not the best. Garage Sales tracker is much smoother and user friendly and got more exposure than it’s competitors. I suggest anybdoy wanting to throw a sale that really wants to get the word out to use. Garage Sales Tracker

adam
adam
11 years ago

i go to sales all the time here in fl. i thought the other site you talked about was ok but i like that cow. both are good but i will post my sale on http://garagesalecow.com

Pamela Bernier
Pamela Bernier
11 years ago

I consider myself the biggest yard sale junkie in the world! I furnished my entire home is finds from the sales. My full time job aside from yard sailing is working in the production room of a TV station here in Santa Monica. I (We) love garagesalecow.com and find it very useful. After learning the several hundred additions planned for the new release this summer our producers became very excited. They will be on our morning show in a few weeks with the cow.

Jeri Sue
Jeri Sue
11 years ago

Well I am having a garage sale this Saturday. I typed up sheets for the items that were new or very gently used. Also when having a harage sale were you will have electronics and DVD’s Or CD’s, set up a table next to your ‘pay table’. This way you are free of con’s trying to steal anything with great value. Also I have a warning for all of you. When I had a garage a couple of years ago, there were two clean cut men. One lured me over to another table to ‘ask a question’ while the other… Read more »

R. Wayne Diehl
R. Wayne Diehl
11 years ago

I’ve had lots of good experiences with yard sales over the years. I’ve noticed that a “carnival” attitude has helped. This time I had downloaded circus music, had “used car lot flag strings” and I played the “barker” who made it a side show. As time goes on, I see what isn’t moving and so I barter with people who are buying something. I either give them something for free for buying the item, or, I discount the price if they take something else at half price. Less to put back of the shelves after the sale is over. I… Read more »

Shelby
Shelby
11 years ago

I was thinking of having a garage sale and saling everything for $1 ea. Do you think this will work. I don’t want to negotiate, in my opinion $1 for each item is a steal. In need of feedback

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

someone asked about getting rid of the stuff after… My plans were to not bring anything back in the house, and what I did last time worked great. about 12:00 Saturday I put an add on freecycle (you do have to sign up to post). it said something like. Garage sale leftovers, must call me xxx.xxx.xxxx must bring truck or van to take all. will be ready around 2:30. I had several people reply to the email (I guess they can’t read). The first guy said he’d have to borrow a truck, but wanted it. I told the other 3… Read more »

Jim
Jim
10 years ago

I’ve found Yard Sale Search.com to be the most comprehensive source of listings – and it has the best data. The thing that irks me about craigslist and all the sites that just replicate those listings (gsalr, garagesalestracker, etc.) are the bad data. Bad dates, bad addresses, it just seems like a free for all.

I’ll end my rant. 😉

Snag A Bargain
Snag A Bargain
9 years ago

This is awesome. I am planning to do my first yard sale this spring and these tips will be very helpful. I am still trying to figure out how to do it. I have a long, single car driveway so I think I will need to do it at the end of the driveway near the road.

SB(One Cent At A Time)
SB(One Cent At A Time)
9 years ago

I recently posted on my blog, how you can make use of garage sale to impart valuable lessons on your kids. A garage sale offer so much to them in terms of teachings about money matters. If interested do read my post here

http://onecentatatime.com/let-children-learn-money-from-garage-sale/

duhonmommie
duhonmommie
9 years ago

My husband was just offered a job today, out of state. It will require that we live in an extended stay hotel for about a month. We would like to have a moving sale, selling large furniture, etc. before we move to cut down on moving/storage costs. We have to be in the new location by Sept. 1. Any suggestions for getting this done quickly and for selling furniture well? My biggest question is how to price the items? I’d like to sell some of my clothes too, but from what I’ve read, that may be a bad idea. Is… Read more »

Lisa
Lisa
8 years ago

I am planning a garage sale to have in a couple months. We do not have a paved driveway, just rocks. We also have a parking area in the back of the house, which is also rocks. You get to it by an entrance off of the road and ours is the first back area on the entrance. Would it be better to hold the sale back there or in front? Either way, people would either have to park by the curb or in the businesses on either side..which are both very short distance from each area. Thank you for… Read more »

SSS
SSS
8 years ago

Good tips! I know this is an older post but I wanted to comment to the people having Garage Sales: Please stop using Ebay to price stuff! Just because someone sold a My Little Pony on Ebay for 40.00 once doesn’t mean it is worth that at your YARD SALE. Come on people. I do buy at garage sales to sell on Ebay, and you know what? That is good business. If you want Ebay prices then pay and take the time to create an Ebay store, but don’t get mad about “pickers” and overprice all your stuff. My advice… Read more »

Chris
Chris
8 years ago

As the source for this article – I gotta definitely agree with #47 No one likes seeing printouts of what similar things sold for on ebay.

#45 – I would pick the area where it would be seen by people driving by. If your yardsale is hidden in the backyard – that could turn some people off or they may not bother to stop.

Katy Perry
Katy Perry
7 years ago

I had a garage sell and I only made 5 dollars!!! Because we had 2 neighbors having a yard sell as well!

Luisa
Luisa
7 years ago

Interesting. I’m curious to see the success rate of sales at a garage/yard sale due to yard signs. 🙂

MilitaryOnlineSales.com
MilitaryOnlineSales.com
7 years ago

If PCS’ing or selling close to a military base or on base you can always try MilitaryOlineSales.com
It’s free to list and unlike bookoo you wont have to break your bank account to post a picture classified!

Calgary Garage Builder
Calgary Garage Builder
7 years ago

Thanks for providing useful tips. Though post is older, I really like your tips.

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