How to Have a Successful Yard Sale and Make Extra Money on Old Items

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Want to know how to have a successful yard sale? Have you had a yard sale before? Have you had more than one? Even if you have, you can probably still learn a lot more from a professional.

Running a yard sale is a great way to make extra money on old items that are just lying around your home. Many people underestimate the profitability of having their very own yard sale, but when it’s done right, you can make a lot in a short period of time. But in order to do it right, you need to be strategic in how you set up your yard sale.

With my experience in yard sale, I’d love to share with you some ideas on how you can be successful at having a yard sale on your own property.

Without much ado, let’s get to it.

Quick Reviews

What are the steps involved in having a successful yard sale?

  • Have a Goal in Mind
  • Analyze your Competitors
  • Choose a Date
  • Consider a Complementary or Competing Event
  • Place an online ad
  • Check for Permits
  • Keep Things Clean
  • Organize and Set Up Your Sale
  • Use Signs to Guide People
  • Offer Reasonable Price
  • Be Willing to Bargain
  • Offer Plenty Stuff to Sell
  • Make Room for Browsing Space
  • Only Accept Cash Payments
  • Be Security Conscious
  • Dealing with Leftovers

SEE: How to Make Money Reselling

How to Have a Successful Yard Sale

This section contains a detailed step-by-step guide on how to have a successful yard sale. Ensure you read through each step, they are all equally important.

1. Have a Goal in Mind

The very first thing that should be considered is why you’re hosting a yard sale in the first place. You must determine whether you are organizing a yard sale to make money or declutter your home.

Always keep in mind that the stuff you’re selling will be transferred to a different family to start living on. Recognizing why you’re having a garage sale will help you stay inspired and motivated.

2. Analyze Your Competitors

Before you organize your yard sale, go to a few others in the area to get a sense of what works, whatever doesn’t, as well as how to price your stuff.

Browse through your community’s discussion boards or newsletters, as well as online apps like Nextdoor, to take note of the phrases and descriptions that sparked your interest and enticed you to attend a sale.

3. Choose a Date

The next step in preparing for a profitable yard sale is to choose the correct day and time. It all hinges on where you reside, though.

The ideal days to hold a garage sale are Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, in that order. This is because not everyone works on Fridays, especially during the summer.

For several people, Sunday is “leisure time” at home. The best time is in the morning. Many savvy yard sale shoppers are early risers who get out before the masses to find the finest bargains.

In the summer, early sales are preferable to afternoon sales. If it’s daylight by then, don’t be afraid to start your sale at 7 a.m. on Saturday.

The ideal time is during the first week of the month. As clients settle the previous month’s invoices, many contractors, small-business entrepreneurs, and solopreneurs earn a significant amount of money within the first week of the month. As a result, your customers may still have some money.

Yard sale season extends from early spring to early summer in various parts of the country. Fall is a great second option for vendors who want to reach out to early holiday shoppers. When planning your sale, avoid scheduling it when the weather is likely to be hot.

SEE: How to Make Money Over the Summer

4. Consider a Complementary or Competing Event

Also, think about what else is going on around the time you plan to hold your yard sale. You wouldn’t want to be competing with significant events like your neighborhood’s high school graduation ceremony.

Rather, schedule your sale to coincide with complementary activities, such as a large-scale cultural carnival in your neighborhood.

5. Place an Online Ad

You may post your yard sale for free on credible websites that specialize in local classified ads. Nextdoor, Craigslist, Yard Sale Search, and Garage Sale Finder are the most useful and popular.

These websites provide you greater latitude to advertise your event and list specific things for sale because they have fewer word limits.

They’re better left until the last minute, though, since these sites usually publish sales as they’re posted. You can post your initial ad two or three days ahead of your sale or on the first day of a multiday promotion.

Write your advert in a word processing application and copy and paste it to each listed online platform to save time and avoid errors.

SEE: Beginner’s Guide on Selling Online

6. Check for Permits

Permits are often required for publicly announced sales on privately owned property in many locations. Browse your city or state government’s site to see if you need one before getting too far into the planning cycle.

If so, you’ll almost probably be able to apply online. Although most cities do not charge application costs, don’t be led into believing that the authorities will walk the other direction if you hold an unlawful yard sale.

If you’re caught operating an unlicensed sale, you might have to pay some fines. Check with your Home Owners Association (HOA) board regarding yard sale laws and regulations if you live in an HOA neighborhood.

Several HOAs don’t permit yard sales at all or have severe rules about when they can happen, how long they can last, where they can be held, and other factors.

7. Keep Things Clean

Customers will understandably not expect products to be in brand-new condition, however, they ought to be clean and appealing. Take some time organizing what you’re selling once you’ve selected them.

Shoppers go to yard sales looking for deals, but that doesn’t mean they are looking to buy someone else’s unclean items and glassware. The presence of a thick covering of dust on something is a major turnoff.

Make sure your items are clean before pulling them out to place on your tables. Nothing is more annoying than holding a plate with oily food or a dusty digital art piece.

Before putting objects on display, spend some time dusting them off and washing them. This simple step could mean the distinction between a sale and a loss.

The more appealing your things are, the more likely they are to be purchased. Put nothing on the market that you wouldn’t want to buy yourself.

SEE: Best Ways to Make Money As a Digital Artist

8. Organize and Set Up Your Sale

It’s now time to put your things on exhibition. The day before your yard sale, set up your hangers and tables.

You just won’t have enough time the morning of the event to do a nice job, especially if you want to get an early start.

If there isn’t enough table space for everything, store the rest in boxes or laundry baskets with similar things.

Plan to get up very early on the morning of your sale to place items out in your garage, with excess in your laundry area or in-home staging space.

Draw a layout of your yard on the day before the sale so you understand where each item is throughout the presale rush.

9. Use Signs to Guide People

Within a kilometer of your home, use heavy-duty adhesive to hang easy-to-read, weather-resistant signs, or leverage existing fasteners on wood poles where permitted.

Use bold markers to write the times, days, and address for easy-to-read posters that may be used for the next sale.

So that people know it’s for the same yard sale, all of your signs must look the same and be viewable from a distance, even if you handwrite it.

Mount the signs prominently on both ends of your street, as well as at surrounding busy junctions, where drivers will be able to see them. Make sure they’re readable.

Some towns have rules about how and where you can put up signs, so find out what they are before you get started.

You could also utilize sidewalk markers the day before your sale to design arrows directing to your apartment with words like “Sale” and “This Way” on them.

10. Offer Reasonable Price

It’s difficult to know how much to charge for items during a yard sale. You’ll lose buyers if you price products too expensive. If you price them too cheap, you eliminate the possibility of making more money.

While there is no hard and fast rule for pricing, consider how much you would be ready to spend for the same product in its present state.

If you’re unclear about the price, look up the current market worth online and then price it at roughly a quarter or third of that.

And, while we’re on the subject of pricing, make sure that prices are marked on all items. Customers will avoid inquiring about pricing and rather move away.

If you don’t have time to price each item individually, make huge, clear signs with pricing for each category of item, such as “All Plates, $2.00,” “All Shoes, $3.00,” and so on.

11. Be Willing to Bargain

People that shop at yard sales are looking for a good deal, and they may try to persuade you to lower your prices. Be willing to negotiate, but have a price in mind that you’d like to avoid exceeding, particularly for larger products.

Don’t feel obligated to take any price, but it may make the variation in selling and not selling an item in some circumstances.

When it’s late Saturday afternoon and it appears like you won’t sell many of the products you have left, it’s a good time to explore accepting bargains.

Cross out the pricing, post a sign that says “50% off,” and let passers-by know you’re open to offers.

If you intend to donate your stuff after the sale, this is an excellent opportunity to generate some extra cash before getting away with what’s left.

12. Offer Plenty Stuff to Sell

A minimal yard sale doesn’t have much of a presence on the street. Give bounty hunters plenty of reasons to pause.  When it comes to selling products, almost everything goes.

Include stuff like extra paint cans, craft equipment, books & magazines, spare vehicle parts, appliances, and sports gear. In addition, you can add apparel and household products you’ve gotten weary of.

You seldom know what someone else is looking for and will be delighted to discover. Keep in mind that one person’s garbage is another’s treasure.

13. Make Room for Browsing Space

Like retail spaces, a yard sale requires a good flow. Ascertain that there are one or two obvious paths for individuals to follow and that they will not become trapped in any spot when others are looking.

There must be adequate space for people to move by one another and a way for everyone to gaze at the same product without obstructing one another.

To make shopping more convenient, group things together in a concise way. In one location, you’ll find shoes, apparel, and accessories.

In another, you’ll find DIY items, and so on. Yard sale goers enjoy the excitement of the hunt, but you may make it easy for them by arranging comparable items together in logical groups.

14. Only Accept Cash Payments

This may appear to be self-evident, but it’s all too simple to overlook. Many people will offer to pay you via a check or pay you online but decline it.

You don’t want to be conned, even if the majority of individuals are genuine. The best and only option is to have cash in hand.

Allow individuals to withdraw money from the ATM even if they have to go to the bank. This is for your safety.

15. Be Security Conscious

The majority of shoppers are well-intentioned individuals seeking a good price.

However, you are still allowing outsiders to shop on your front lawn. Keeping your home’s doors secured throughout the sale is a wise idea.

Allow no one into your home unless they need to use the restroom or get a sip of water. Simply place a pitcher of complimentary water outside and send them to the nearest gas station.

Keep an eye out for all that cash as well. Smaller banknotes should be kept in a money box or on your waist with an apron or waist pack.

16. Dealing with Leftovers

Your yard is nearly empty, what should you do with the unsold sale products?

Make arrangements for a charity donation pick-up at your home in advance. Some charity will work with you to schedule a pick-up time.

Try contacting beforehand and arrange for a pick-up to get your unwanted but still serviceable items into the hands of those who need them.

If you enjoy doing yard sales, consider hosting a charity yard sale in your neighborhood. Collaborate with your neighborhood association, a local house of worship, or a school to assist individuals in recycling their old items while also raising funds for a good cause.

Items to Avoid Selling at a Yard Sale

Anything that has the potential to be stinky or contaminated should be kept out of your yard sale. Things like used bedding, mattresses, undergarments, worn swimwear, and open beauty product containers.

Even unopened cosmetics and grooming items should not be sold since they expire. While it may be interesting to try to sell unwanted equipment at a yard sale, the reality is nobody is interested in your huge old television.

It’s usually preferable to just take any old devices to an electronics recycling center near you. If you have devices that you think would sell, ensure sure they have power cables and that the batteries are not corroded.

Finally, resale of safety equipment such as car seats, cots, and bicycle helmets is not recommended. Savvy customers are aware of this and will avoid purchasing these things.

SEE: How to Make Money With Your Farm


What is the most common yard sale item?

Strive to sell more in-demand things, non-perishable and items that are highly expensive while donating the remainder.

Items of a high monetary value are rarely sold at yard sales. When you think about it, most people aren’t going to a garage sale to spend $1,000.

What should you sell at a garage sale?

At a garage sale, people will not buy broken stuff. If you have an item that is worth a lot of money, such as expensive jewelry, probably sell it online to make additional money.

Garage sales are ideal for selling children’s clothing, toys, furniture, and baby stuff if you have children. Make some money by selling any like-new products you’ve never used.

If you’ve recently purchased new furniture, your old furniture, décor, or antiques will almost certainly sell. It’s usually a good idea to sell anything you don’t need that’s in good condition.


Set your priorities now if you’ve never held a yard sale before, because it’ll be a lot of work. However, how to have a successful yard sale shouldn’t be a difficult nut to crack if you follow the guidelines above.

The prospect of a successful yard sale leaving you with a more organized, less cluttered home and a large sum of money to spend or save should be your primary inspiration.

Since you are planning on how to have a successful yard sale, here is a guide that will show you the best items to sale in a garage sale.

Thanks for reading.