Saturday, March 21, 2009

Yard Sale Tips for Sellers

I am an avid "saler" (yard sale shopper) - much like those who enjoy Nascar races or Friday night football games, it is just an enjoyable hobby that allows my husband and I time to laugh together on the weekends. Treasure hunting for vintage is a blast - we get excited when we find a lid that matches Mom's dish that we've been saving for years or an old tool that reminds us of Grandpa. Because we treasure hunt frequently, we see a wide range of sale styles - from folks who are well organized that make you feel like you've walked into a shop, to those who decided that very morning to throw open the door and toss some things onto the driveway.
To maximize your sale, here are a few tips that could help:
1) If you have a large amount to sell, say you're emptying Grandma's house, you need to think in terms of an estate sale since prices are typically higher than at a yard sale. If you feel comfortable doing the pricing yourself, that's great, but most folks would need a professional to help with the pricing and logistics. If you don't know pricing, you could sell yourself short or price too high and not sell anything. Beware the company that has three day sales - the first day is typically too expensive and some folks won't take the time to visit again on the other days (we've all become too busy with life to waste time!).

2) So, you've decided a yard sale is best - so rule #1 is to plan ahead.

3) Post signs a week in advance so neighbors and local traffic will know of your sale. Use bright neon posters and WRITE BIG with 6" letters. Remember that drivers need to be able to read your sign while driving by so the letters should be bold, dark and big. Don't be too wordy - just the basics - it could be as simple as "Yard Sale Sat. 8 - 2" with a bold arrow pointing the way or a street name. Then be sure to post additional signs pointing the way from that first sign until you get to your house - especially if you live in a subdivision with multiple roads. If you live far from the main road, put the number of miles on the sign that the shopper would have to drive in order to reach your house.

4) Price and label all of your items in advance. Most shoppers don't want to track down the owner of the house to ask prices and if the sale gets busy, you may sell something for far less than you intended.

5) Open early. If your sign states the sale begins at 8:00, rest assured that there will be early birds waiting outside at 7:00. Plan on opening an hour prior to your advertised time for several reasons: A) the early birds are the most serious shoppers and will most likely spend the most money per person in your sale so you don't want them to leave without shopping, and B) you don't want a crowd gathering outside your house waiting for the sale as it could cause some unanticiapated problems (do you really want 30 people rushing into your garage at once??).

6) Be willing to haggle. Now occasionally you get a shopper who wants to offer $.10 for that $.25 item (sheesh) but offering $20 for a $25 item is not uncommon. You can always wait to take offers later in the day but keep in mind that once you pass 10:00, you're crowd will thin out drastically.

7) Have fun deciding how to spend that extra cash!!


  1. Great tips! I love having and shopping garage sales and I agree, be sure to give yourself enough time for preparation and planning if you have a lot of items or for a group sale. I usually need at least 4 weeks to get ready:)

    And don't for get to advertise in your local paper, around town and even on craigslist.

    Visit for more tips.

  2. You've got some great ideas too, Tashia! Remembering change is a BIG one - folks will show up at your sale with $20 bills and no change.