Yard Sales: How To Make It Worth Your Time

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The thrill of the chase, the cups of early morning coffee, the haggling…there is nothing quite like hosting or visiting a local yard sale. Not only is this a favorite pastime of my own, but it’s also a great way to get some quick cash and free up some living space.

I used to want to have a yard sale every day when I was a little kid, before I understood the basic rule of the weekend. I would run through the house looking for knick knacks and anything my grandmother would let me put a price tag on. I would pull out these old, rickety tables from a shed in the backyard all by myself and put some sheets over them to look like a table cloth. I would get about $20 in change from my grandpa and sit out at those tables all day – probably only selling anything because I was a 12 year old girl that visitors took pity on.

But I had so much fun and still love to host yard sales! Every time I ask my husband about having one though, I can see him groan a little inside. It is a lot of work, and as we have grown older it has become even more important for us to make it worth the Saturday mornings we give up.

To help make it a little easier on ourselves we’ve developed some great strategies to maximize our time and try to make a little more money – and I am sharing this today! Be sure to check out the end of the post to download some free printables to use at your next sale.

1.) Marketing

Marketing your yard sale is just as important as marketing a business – because that is what you are (even if just for a few hours!). Your signs and advertising are pretty much the only way someone will know about your sale, besides happening to drive by your house on the day of. There are some customers that just go cruising around on a Saturday, but many serious buyers stake out local sales and try to make a specific plan of where they are going – don’t forget they are out to save too! Plan your advertisement at least a week ahead of time. Begin placing your ads on free yard sale sites (such as GarageSaleFinder) a week in advance. There are many ways to advertise online including Facebook posts, Instagram, Twitter, and several other free yard sale sites.

Along with basic advertising, make sure your local signs are out on the streets by at least the Wednesday before the sale. Clear, bold signs are the most effective. Don’t worry about putting anything other than a date and address on your sign. Think about how fast a car will be going past your sign and the average time it will take to read it. A great test is to drive by your signs after they are placed and try to follow them as if you are a customer. How easy was it to find your home? Was it hard to read?

2.) Clean Your Items

Not only does it help to be clean yourself, but the less work your customer has to put in to an item, the easier it is to sell. Have some clothes you are selling? Make sure you wash them before hand – no one wants musty clothes in their house, and you can probably get rid of any stains that might deter a buyer. Stuffed animals are much more appealing to a parent with a laundry detergent scent vs. pet smell. Dusting can go a long way, and make your items look a little newer which usually means better condition and worth an extra dollar!

3.) Presentation

Neatly laid out items are easier to sift through and easier to see! It would be such a shame to have a great item passed over just because it was under a piece of fabric or at the bottom of a pile. Keeping everything on a table also helps to keep moisture off of your items and keeps your customer from having some serious discomfort from bending down to look at all of your goods. “No pain no gain” is not a great motto during a yard sale!

4.) Cheer

It can be a hard thing to do when you are hosting a yard sale, but remaining cheerful and pleasant can be even more important than the items you have. Not only are you selling that old set of plates, but you are also selling yourself! If you are rude and demanding, no one will want to do any business with you to begin with. This is also true regarding your sales practices – greed gets you no where. No one cares how much you paid for an item originally, or that it was your favorite pair of jeans. If it’s not a reasonable price for the condition and type of item or you are not willing to negotiate appropriately, you might as well close up shop for the day. This is not to say that you shouldn’t value your items, but consider that most shoppers are out to get a deal, not blow the bank.

5.) The Little Things

After all is said and done you may sell your items, but was it worth it if it was not enjoyable? Even if I made $500, if I was miserable the whole time I would probably not do it again anytime soon. It’s going to be the little things that make your sale the best on the block, and worth being a part of.

Music – Let’s not get too carried away and rock out to some of your middle school punk bands, but some feel-good music will go a long way to keep your customers lingering and keep you from feeling like the day is dragging.

Refreshments – Be careful not to spend your earnings on this, but some plastic cups and water will keep you & your customers from feeling the heat once the sun comes out.

Cut Your Grass – Itchy toes are no fun, plus your sale will look much more appealing to passerby if your yard is kept in good shape.

Plastic Bags/ Boxes – Ever walk in to a store and not get a buggy on purpose so that you won’t buy everything in sight…and then end up walking around dropping all the stuff you want? Hopefully your customers will pick up so much that they need some extra arms to help carry it all – and that’s where you can help! Having some of those plastic grocery bags helps your customers out and helps reuse those bags (anyone else have about 100 at a time or is that just us?).

Have A Friend Over – It never fails that you will need to take a bathroom break as soon as someone pulls up to your yard sale. Not only does having a helping hand ensure that you won’t miss out on a potential sale (or theft!) but it also gives you some great bonding time and the opportunity to have a break. They can also help you haul all the left overs to your local thrift store.


Now that you have some extra tips to help you with next yard sale, I wish you all the best and plenty of money making! Please feel free to use the following signs (also included on my freebies page) to help you draw some attention to your sale – enjoy!




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