How to make More Money at your Yard Sale

Make more Money at your Yard Sale

Need to earn some extra cash? 

Have you tried having a yard sale yet? 

Not only is a yard sale an excellent way to earn cash, there are other bonuses.  Your house, garage, basement, attic and more get cleaner and more organized.  You also gain valuable storage space in your home. 

If you have your sale with neighbors or family members, you can have fun while earning money.  Read more, for tips on organizing your yard sale. 

My usual plan is to have a sale every two to three years, particularly when I have some larger items, like furniture to get rid of.  Having a sale every year can be a lot work, so I like to space them out a bit.  Late spring and early fall are the best times for outdoor sales.  The weather is warm enough for you and buyers to be outside, and you can avoid hot summer weather and vacation season. 

Planning Ahead

Selecting Items to Sell  Keep an inventory of all the larger items worth the most cash.  Keep items for sale in a basement, garage or bin so you can keep adding items when you find them.  When you have enough bigger items to have a yard sale, start looking ahead to choose a good date.

Choosing A Date  Aside from avoiding holiday weekends, you may also want to avoid graduation, confirmation or major sporting event weekends.  Some people choose to do both weekend days for a yard sale.  For me, it is so much work getting everything out of the house and set up, there is no way I want to do it twice!  I choose a Saturday with the rain date planned for Sunday if needed.   So far, I never had to use my rain date!

Advertising Your Sale  You can place free ads, use Craigslist, and community listings. Put up signs in your area a few days before sale day.  On the day of the sale add lawn signs at the end(s) of your street.

When you place ads, include a list of larger items that people will be most interested in.  The more info you include in your ad, the more people are likely to show up.  I don’t usually put my house address, just the name of the street.  Some overzealous buyers can attempt to contact you ahead of time to quiz you on which items you have for sale.  For this reason, I learned to only put the name of my street.   For more detailed info on Yard Sale Pricing and Negotiating Click Here!

 Pricing items for a yard sale

Enlist Some Help

Plan with neighbors & friends   More traffic is drawn to multi-family sales, because there are more items to see.  You and your neighbors can all stay in your own driveways or combine at one or multiple houses.  You can also invite family members to bring over items they may have if they don’t have enough for their own sale.  This has worked well for my family; we take turns hosting the sale.  The more items on display, the more traffic will stop to browse rather than just passing by.

Involve the kids  My kids have always helped at our yard sales.   Now, they are old enough to be motivated to clean out their rooms of old clothes, shoes, toys and more.  My kids are very motivated to sell some old items if they can earn some cash.  I’m quite thrilled that they clean out their closets and drawers with renewed interest!  Just be sure to check what your kids are selling and help with the pricing.  You don’t want an expensive item given away at much less than a fair resale price.

Make a Staging Area  The week before the sale or even earlier, I begin sorting and pricing all the items we have to sell.  I start in the basement a week or two ahead of time, gathering and tagging anything that will be going out for the sale.  My ping pong table and the surrounding floor get covered with items that I am sorting and pricing for sale.

For larger items, I write our index cards to be taped on in the morning.  Medium sized items get stickers or tags.  Smaller items get gathered into baskets with a $1.00 tag on the top.

Sale Day Details

Have Attractive Displays  Yard sale buyers appreciate the time you take to make everything look nice and easy to see.  They are more likely to look at items that are displayed attractively on a table instead of dumped in a box on the ground.  When possible use racks to hang clothing or rig up some sort of clothesline for display.

Supplies  You will need display tables, table cloths, index cards, tape, markers, price stickers, and a cash box or cash apron as I like to use.  It helps to have an extension cord available so that people can plug electronic items in to be sure they work.  One very hot day, we even sold bottled water.  The customers with children were happy because it kept their kids quieter.

Cash Box   Rather than having a cash box sitting on a table, I prefer to wear a cash apron with a large pocket in the front.  I find this to be safer and much more convenient so I can move around the yard.  I stock up on singles, fives and some quarters so that I start the day with a bank.  When I get a lot of larger bills as the day progresses, I keep them in a separate pocket so they are not mixed in with the smaller bills.  When I get a the opportunity, I put larger bills in the house.

Plan Food It is easy to forget to eat!  I get so busy making sales, negotiating prices and meeting new people that I completely forget to eat.  It is helpful if you setup a lunch delivery ahead of time.  In our case, my husband does a doughnut or bagel run in the morning and then a sandwich or pizza run in the afternoon.  On the really good sale days, you will barely get a bathroom break or a chance to sit!

Related Posts:

How to sell on Craigslist – tips & tricks

Save $1200 per Year  – simple ways to save money

6 Ways to Earn Extra Cash – how to add income

Generating Revenue – adding multiple income streams

Making the Most Money

Pricing  When pricing items, I often include the original price, along with my asking price.  I always list my price as more than I want so that there is room to negotiate.  Mark down prices as the day goes on, so you are not left with too many unsold items at the end.  I have a detailed post on pricing and negotiating Here.

Baskets and Boxes with Dollar Items  Rather than pricing every little item, I use a large basket with a $1.00 tag on top and keep moving items into the basket as the day progresses.

Free Items  A box of free items as people enter the sale always attracts attention.  I have some kid’s toys that I just want to get rid of and I’m happy to give them away.  Kids walking in with their parents are very happy to see the free box of toys.

Unexpected Items  While attending other yard sales, I have seen some items that I would not think to sell but they are quite popular.  I never thought to sell, partly used perfume bottles, but I sold five of them at our last sale.  Kitchen items that I have too many of like utensils, and extra pots and pans are popular.  Whenever I upgrade a electronic or household item, like an iron, mixer or blow dryer I save the old one for the next sale.

End of Day Specials  Take full advantage at the end of the day for special sales!  The more you sell, the less you will need to bring back in the house.  As people enter my yard at the end of the day, I start bargaining.  I announce that it is bargain time and to make an offer, because it probably won’t be refused.  People love paying less and I often make a nice bit of money at the end of the day.  While I am condensing and cleaning up, I also add items to the free box.  When a customer buys several items, I often throw in some freebies.

What yard sale tricks have worked for you?  Please let our readers know!

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  1. I never realized how important it is to set up attractive displays, even at a yard sale! I usually just throw the stuff haphazardly in the front yard and now I know why I always have so much left over! I also found all of your info on pricing extremely helpful! Thanks

    1. I notice that as I drive by a yard sale, if I can’t see some good items from the car, I may not stop at all. If the items are easy to see and they have several tables set up, I am much more likely to stop in to browse.

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