Sale Away

Host A Yardsale This Summer To Declutter Your Home While Cashing In! 

The prospect of spending a Saturday or Sunday cleaning out clutter isn’t the most tempting of weekend activity options. But if you’re like many of us, the prospect of earning some money for cleaning out clutter creates a much more motivating selling point. Yard sales, garage sales, rummage sales, tag sales — however you label them — they are a  great way to make some quick cash while cleaning out your space.

While I am only in the “thinking about it” stage of planning a yard sale, I decided to do a little homework on the subject. Here’s some advice from both homemaking experts and those who learned the hard way!

Do Some Planning

A few weeks in advance of your approximate date, you should be planning that way you have plenty of time to collect salable items that you can categorize and organize by tables. 

Location Is Everything

If you don’t live on a well-traveled street, or your place has no parking, enlist the help of a friend or family member who does and make it worth their while. Also be sure to check out whether your town or city requires a permit to hold a yard sale — no fun to have the authorities close up shop before you cash in. And be courteous please by alerting the neighbors of your plans so they won’t be surprised by the sudden influx of vehicles. Who knows, they may want in on it and bring in some extra business. 

Set The Date Strategically

Sunday is the most recommended day as Saturdays are usually already planned out with activities or house chores. But, you could choose to double down if you’re up for it and try a Friday-Saturday sale. Perhaps extending the event over a long weekend when people have more time to spare may also be a good option if you’ve got the stamina. 

Divine Timing

Choose the hours that work best for you and your family but bear in mind that many yard-salers are notorious early birds. That being said, be prepared to possibly have cars start lining up before you open up. Set a game plan because once the first shopper gets started others will follow. 

Signage Specifics

Be sure to list the location, the date and time of the sale. Your signs will attract more customers if you post a few of the hot ticket items to be sold. Place your signs in areas that get a lot of viewing and also consider posting online such as Craig’s List or an ad in the local paper. 

Gather Your Supplies

Don’t be scrounging around for petty cash or bags the day of the sale. Make sure you have everything you need in advance.

You Will Need

Sharpies, stickers, poster board, cash box with plenty of small bills and change, tables, clothing racks and bins, baskets and boxes for smaller items. Also, have plastic or paper bags saved from the grocery store and keep an extension cord handy so buyers can test electrical equipment (I would never have thought of that one!)


The “50-30-10 formula” seems reasonable and would make sense to most shoppers. According to the rule, any new or unopened items would be priced at 50 percent off the full retail price. Gently used items are priced at 30 percent of the going rate and all other used items go for 10 percent of retail prices. For smaller items like books or DVDs, you might try a BOGO or other package deal to help move things along.

A Little Cleaning And Organizing Goes A Long Way

You’re selling secondhand as it is, so ask yourself: would you bother buying used items that are also dirty, dusty or stained? Take the time to clean and dust  the items you’re selling, fold clothing and sort like with like so shoppers can easily find what they’re hunting for. 

Set Up A Strategic Display

Place your quality, big ticket items fronting the road to attract passersby to stop and check out your shop. 

Appeal To Families

Set up a kids’ section of toys, games and books you don’t mind little ones rifling through and think about also putting on a complimentary lemonade stand/baked goods stand. Thoughtful touches like this encourage families to browse a little longer. Some family-friendly music will also liven things up and make for a fun feel. 

Upgrade Your Sale For An Upscale Feel

Create a jewelry display board or box up pairs of earrings and necklaces as sets. Use ribbon or twine to wrap sets of baby clothes or linens. Use clothing racks to display clothing and categorize items according to gender, seasonal-wear and the like.  As they say, presentation is everything. 

Freebies And Blow Out Sales

Everyone loves free. That being said, consider placing a box of freebies that you’re not looking to profit from. Even if customers don’t buy anything, they’ll love walking away with something for nothing and will likely return next time you host a yard sale. Either way, it’s win-win. Shoppers feel like they walked away with a great deal and you’ll have fewer items to cart away to the Goodwill after your sale. At some point, sales will inevitably slow down and it may be time for the final 50 percent off blow out (or final free for all if you’re willing) blow out sale. 

Yard Sale, Rest And Repeat?

Yes, you may find yourself repeating your sale if the first try isn’t as successful as you’d hoped for. But you never know when the local soccer team might suddenly be hosting a tournament drawing traffic — and potential shoppers — to your town. If you’re already semi-prepared you can try luck again even on short notice. 

Hopefully some of these suggestions will help you prepare for your next yard sale whether it’s your first or 50th — happy tagging!