When you have a lot of items to sell — household goods, clothes, toys, tools, things that everyone can use — a garage sale is an affordable and effective way to make a little cash as you clean out. But a successful yard sale involves more than putting out a few tables and some signs…
sort items into logical categories — kitchen, books, kids, clothes, etc.
clean and repair items as you go — it’s worth the time and you can get a higher price
price items and label with a description when applicable
generally, you can sell items for 25-50% what you paid for them if in excellent condition
the price goes down from there for older or more worn items
be sure to have “try-before-you-buy” accessories — extension cords, batteries, bulbs, etc.
call your city or county government to find out the local yard sale regulations
find out if you need a permit to hold a yard sale in your area
find out about “signage” rules — acceptable size, shape, and placement
some cities require signs to be so many feet from the road
some cities prohibit signs anywhere but your yard
call your local newspaper for prices and deadlines — don’t forget “free” and local papers
include the date, time, address, directions, and items of interest
run your newspaper ad at least one day before and the day of your sale
include ads in online listing services like Craigslist
also check out dedicated yardsale sites — free listings only
plan to put out flyers in local stores, laundromats, and churches
send out an e-mail letting all of your local contacts know that you’re having a sale
set the length of your sale — how many days and which hours
weekend sales get the most traffic — multi-day sales can expand your buyer base
decide if you will allow early birds
decide if you will accept checks cash only
decide if you will hold items for people to come back later — pay first, put a deposit, or not
decide if you will let people into your home — for the phone, restroom, etc.
recruit a few helpers to assist with the sale
can invite friends or family to help with sorting and pricing before the sale
need at least 2 people to stay the length of the sale to answer questions, check people out, etc.
good to have some assistance cleaning up after the sale, too
make arrangements for a charity to pick up your leftovers
ask friends, neighbors, and family to join in — or consider a church, school, scout, or other group sale
have each participant mark his or her items differently — different color tags, initials on the tag, etc.
keep track of each person’s sales in a notebook
tracking option 1 — remove the sticker from the item and put on that person’s page
tracking option 2 — write down each person’s sales on their list as you check out customers
more sellers equals more stuff to sell — more attractive to buyers, leads to more traffic
put posters at major intersections and along your road
choose a bright sign (white or yellow) with black lettering — high contrast, easy-to-read
write in large, thick block lettering for better visibility
include your address and arrows — don’t worry about directions
put up a sign at every major turn if it’s not a straight shot to your house
include the days and hours of the sale
put a big sign with balloons on your mailbox to let them know where to stop
put together a “cash box” with plenty of change — at least $20 in coins, $50 in ones, $40 in fives
create a list of “minimum prices” you will accept for each item
explain how low you’re willing to go to any “helpers” so they can negotiate with buyers on your behalf
make sure you have plenty of “checkout” items — bags, tissue or newspaper to wrap fragile items, etc.
put your checkout area near the natural exit from your sale
set up a table and a couple of chairs — you’ll be there a while!
make sure nothing is blocking foot-traffic flow — people should be able to move easily between tables
display like and complementary items together — all cookware in one place, toys in another, etc.
it’s like the departments in a store — think about grocery and discount stores
make sure everything is clearly visible — shoppers shouldn’t have to dig through boxes or piles
use racks, tables, hangers, tree limbs, ladders, porch railing — whatever you have for display
put up flyers in public areas around town
place your newspaper ad
gather your yard sale supplies
price and sort your merchandise
get change at the bank
confirm your yard sale “helpers”
find a charity to pick up your leftovers
put up directional signs around your neighborhood
block off any areas you don’t want shoppers to enter
get a good night’s sleep
start setting up 1-2 hours before the sale is scheduled to start
put one person in charge of the cash box — never leave it unguarded
have fun — let your kids sell snacks and play some peppy music!Click here for reuse options!
PS: Wanna instantly rack up some serious virtual cred? I've made it easy for you to share this content with your social networking friends, e-mail it to your peeps, or republish it in your own blog (thereby showing off how smart you are) with these links.
(iCopyright widget here)
Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.
If you would like to reprint this page, please contact me