The term ‘yard sale’ and ‘garage sale’ can be, and often are, used interchangeably. But, regardless of how you define your sale, they both require the same elements to be successful. Let’s be real here. Hosting a garage sale is A LOT of work! There is so much to consider from advertising your sale to pricing your items.
So, how can you make your sale successful? Start by using these 12 yard sale tips and tricks below, along with my tips on pricing items using this FREE printable (get yours below!) for an organized, profitable, successful yard sale.
I know these tips work because I’ve been holding successful garage/yard sales since 2002. In fact, I held a successful yard sale just last year and I plan to do another one this year. Although, technically, the one last year was a ‘garage’ sale because most of the tables were set up in the garage (it was supposed to rain…which it did).
Typically, unless I’m holding a charity sale, I’ll stockpile my items for a few years so that I have a wide variety of items to offer. I change my style and decor frequently and as a result, there comes a time when ultimately I need to purge. Last year….it was time. My husband wanted his basement back.
When I did charity yard sales in the past, I would request donations and let me tell you, the amount of items donated was UN-REAL! In the first two years, I was a hardcore yard sale holder. I’d host the sale every weekend for an entire month! Yes, I was crazy…and younger. But, it was for a good cause so I didn’t mind. Now, I hold garage sales for myself, maybe every few years or so. But, they still require the same amount of time, effort and dedication to be successful.
Below are my 12 mom-tested tips, in no particular order.
How to Throw a Successful Garage Sale in One Week
01. Display with care
Don’t just throw any item on any table. Presentation and organization are the key to great sales. If you haphazardly display your items, shoppers will view them as junk (and we know that our stuff is not junk, right!). Organize your tables by theme or object. For example, all holiday items should be on one table or in the same area; all household items on one table; all jewelry on one table….you get the idea.
02. Timing is everything
I’ve held sales on just the weekends; from Friday to Sunday; as well as, Thursday to Saturday. My results: both Saturday and Sundays were the most lucrative days. Be prepared to open no later than 9am and to stay open until between 3pm-4pm.
03. Spread the word
You can still have a successful yard sale or garage sale even with one weeks’ notice. It’s all about where and how you spread the word. Put big, easy to read signs up at major intersections in your area a week in advance; tell all your friends; take advantage of free listing services like Facebook, Craigslist and more. You can even post flyers at your work or in coffee shops and local boutiques (just be sure to ask for permission first).
04. Position your higher ticket items nearer the street
One of the best techniques I’ve used over the years was making sure all my big ticket items were right up front in the driveway, closer to the road. These always catch the eye of those ‘drive-by’ shoppers and offer a promise of not just a junk or knickknack sale.
05. Don’t discount the power of linens
You might be thinking ‘who wants to buy used sheets or towels’? But, you’d be surprised. Of course, you should only offer gently used linens and always wash everything before putting out. Just be sure to pair matching items and stack them nicely on a table. You could even get creative and hang your linens from a clothesline.
06. Don’t price every. little. thing.
It’s a huge time waster. If you have similar items or value of items, put them into bins or boxes and put a tag on each box that indicates the pricing clearly. For example, ‘$1 each’.
Looking for this printable without color? Check out our minimalistic printable!
07. Jewelry sells itself, but, keep it close to you
As a handmade jewelry designer, I’ve done both jewelry shows and sold accessories at my garage sales. Each venue brings a unique customer -and expectations. At my jewelry shows, shoppers were there exclusively for the handmade crafts and expected they will pay a higher price for a quality item. But, at garage and yard sales, the shoppers are looking for a deal. Which means, don’t expect to sell high ticket jewelry at a yard sale -unless of course, you are holding an antique sale.
Keep your jewelry items on a table closer to the cash out area to prevent theft (yes, it happens at yard sales too!). Make sure to untangle necklaces, don’t put out mismatched earrings, etc., and display your pieces nicely.
08. Don’t forget to up-sell
When someone buys an item you know will pair perfectly with another item -offer it up! For example, if you are selling jewelry displays and someone buys a necklace, offer them a visual display of using the two items together. You’d be surprised how many people will buy that additional item because you took the extra time with them and offered them a usable idea.
09. Get to know your shoppers
One of the best parts of holding a sale is the variety of people you will get to meet. For example, at my latest sale I commented to a young girl about her hair and we started a conversation. I learned she had a black and white styled bedroom (which I love that idea!) and so I showed her a black and white jewelry display that I had and….her grandmother bought it for her!
10. Don’t forget your bank
At least one day in advance, don’t forget to go to the bank to get at least $40 in bills and coins. You will need to make change for your customers and it’s best to be prepared with a variety of dollar denominations, as well as, coins. Unless you are selling some items for $.01, it’s probably best to say you don’t need pennies in your bank.
11. Enlist help
You definitely don’t want to try to manage a sale by yourself. At some point you will have to use the restroom, eat lunch, or help will be needed to load an item into the customers car. Be sure to get a least one friend (or two!) to help you and you could even sweeten the deal with offering a percentage of sales to them for their assistance.
12. Don’t put everything out the first day
You’d be surprised the number of people who come back to your sale the next day. They might of had that one item on their mind and are hoping it’s still there. If you put everything out on day 1, they’ve already seen it. They’ll just come in and buy the item(s) they wanted (if it’s still available) and then leave. But, if you put newer things out on day 2, they will notice and look around again. I’ve done this and sold even more to that same person on day 2 because they’ve picked up the newer stuff too!
Yard Sale Pricing Guide Printable
Get your FREE printable using the link below. This printable can even be sized to fit your planner or even a clipboard to keep you organized!
- If you have the helpers and want to add to your profit -offer food and drinks. A small hots, hamburgs and lemonade stand is always appreciated by both visitors and customers who have been shopping all day looking for that great deal.
- Always have a backup plan for the unpredictable weather Mother Nature bestows upon us.
Above all -have FUN! Garage and yard sales can be tons of fun.
If you use these successful tips, please come back and comment on your success. I’d love to hear from you!
If you still wish to get rid of some things, please consider donating to a local charity in your area. Here are some charitable donation suggestions:
- stuffed animals and blankets could be used by animal rescue groups for the incoming animals to cuddle or play with;
- old books can go to libraries;
- gently used women’s work clothes can go to groups/shelters for under-served women for their back-to-work programs;
- all types of clothing can be donated to local homeless shelters
Have any other donation suggestions? Drop a comment, I’d love to hear them!
If you held a garage sale or yard sale and used this printable don’t forget to share by tagging me on Instagram and using #btdinspired, I’d love to see your work (and I just might repost your photo)!
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