How to Have a Yard Sale

by Zac Kandell | Updated: Dec 26, 2019

If you want to get rid of a lot of things, a yard sale is a good place to start. You get people to give you money for a lot of stuff you were probably going to throw away anyway, so it’s a great exchange. Just make sure that you follow these steps for how to have a yard sale to make sure that it goes successfully.

Make sure you have enough stuff to sell

You don’t want your yard sale to start off looking like it’s near the end of the sale and everything’s gone. If you don’t have enough stuff to sell, either no one is going to come and look or you’re not going to make enough money to have made it worth your time. Go through everything that you’re looking to get rid of and make sure there’s enough stuff that it’s going to be interesting.

Team up with someone else

If you don’t have enough stuff, someone else might be able to help. Check with your neighbors to see if they have things that they want to sell. If you’re lucky enough to find someone, you might have enough to do the sale after all. Even if you’re not lacking in stuff, teaming up with someone means you can split a lot of the work that you have to do setting up and managing the sale. Make sure you agree on how to split the money that comes in, or else you may run into some serious problems down the road.

Find a good time and location

You want to sell things when people are going to be coming by. For the most part, that means the weekends, from late morning to early evening. You might be able to get a start on Friday, especially in the evening. If you can time the sale to an event that will have more people coming through your neighborhood, even better. Whatever time would have the most people available is when you’ll want to shoot for.

Check if you need a permit in your area

This can be a really easy step to miss, so check to be sure. The last thing you want is to have your sale shut down because you missed a simple, bureaucratic step like this, so check to be sure if you need a permit in your city or county before having a yard sale.

Sure, some people are going to stumble over your yard sale, but you shouldn’t rely on that to drive people there. Mostly, you’ll want signs, to be seen by people in the area. Make it clear that it’s a garage sale, put the address and an arrow in the right direction and the dates and times. You also want to be sure that the sign is somewhere you can legally put it - along with the permit, check to be sure if you need permission to put these signs on public property and ask homeowners if you can put a sign outside of their house. You’ll also want to put something out on Craigslist, any local Facebook/other social media groups, and possibly even in the local newspaper, to get as many people aware of your sale as possible.

Organize and price things

This can be the hardest step. Organizing things is simple enough, where similar items go with each other, but pricing is a really difficult step. This forces you to think about how much you value the items and how much they’re really worth. If you can’t bear to put a price on it, then you should probably not try to sell it. If it’s particularly valuable, it might be best to sell it online. For the rest, do a bit of research into what things are worth and sell it for that, not how much you think it’s worth. You also want to leave yourself open to changing things later. If a lot of people look at an item but don’t buy it, it might mean that the price you’ve marked it with is too high. In that case, it may be a good idea to lower the price a bit. It’s better to sell it for a little less than not to sell and have to figure out what to try and do with it.

Make sure you can take money

This is an obvious one, but if you can’t take money, there’s no point in doing the sale. Go to a bank and take out a decent amount of cash, especially in smaller bills and coins. You should also invest in a Square reader or similar terminal to take credit cards. They’re cheap and easy to set up, allowing you to take money from anyone with a card, not just those who brought along cash. You also want to make sure to guard these things; make sure someone trustworthy is watching the money at all times.

Get people to help with the yard sale

If you teamed up with a neighbor, you already have at least one person to help with things. Any friends or family members you can get to help will be a great advantage. It’s hard to do everything on your own, so find help where you can get it. Also make sure to compensate them for their time. It can be money, it could be food, it could be owing them a favor later, but whatever it is, make sure they don’t feel like they helped you and get nothing in return.

Talk to potential customers during the sale

People have questions, and you probably have answers. You’ll want to walk around the sale from time to time, answering questions about what things are, what they do and the significance to them. This helps keep people more informed about things and likely to buy them. Giving some personal attention will make them more attached to the items they’re looking at, which is exactly what you want to get people to buy them.

The little things

  • Have a mirror near clothes/accessories: People want to know what they look like wearing something before buying it. Having a mirror there will let them at least hold the clothes up to themselves to get an idea of what it looks like, rather than buying blindly.
  • Wear comfortable clothes: You’re going to be outside pretty much all day and walking around talking to customers for most of it. Make sure you’re wearing the right clothes for the weather and for walking around.
  • Unsold items can be donated for a tax deduction: If the items left over aren’t worth doing another sale for or selling online, you can still get something out of them. Donate them to a nearby Goodwill or other charity and you can get a tax deduction for the value of the items that you donated.
  • Know what people want most: Clothes tend to be really popular, so make sure those are very visible and well priced. Electronics, especially vintage ones, and old toys can be pretty popular with more nostalgic customers. Maybe there’s something in your neighborhood that an unusually large number of people are interested in. Whatever it is, know what people really want and make sure to place those items very prominently.

Having a yard sale can be difficult, but the money you make from a well-done one can make it all worth it. Now that you know how to have a yard sale, go forward and get rid of your unwanted clutter while getting some money back for it.

Categories: Renters

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