Today is the last post in our “How to shop yard sales series.” Here is what we have covered so far:
- Why I shop yard sales
- Where to find yard sales
- What to look for at yard sales
- What YOU should bring to a yard sale
- Tips from some yard sale shopping pros
So I wanted to wrap up our yard sales series with one last post on how to have your OWN yard sale. I had a yard sale a few weeks ago and it was one of the best yard sales I have had. Even though it was overcast all weekend, Friday was tremendously busy – tons of customers!! And within the last hour on Saturday I sold off many larger items and many items in bulk leaving me with very little left unsold. There were 3 families that sold stuff at my sale and altogether we made almost $500 – on junk!
Here are some tips for hosting your own yard sale:
1. Clean out your clutter.
Throughout the year, collect things you want to get rid of somewhere – in boxes in the garage, in a box in a closet, wherever you have space. When you have a good bit stacked up, then it is time to schedule a yard sale. I love having mine in the spring before it gets too hot here in GA or in early fall. Once you have a weekend picked out for the yard sale, go through your house again grabbing anything else you want to add to the sale. I also think you should devote 2-3 days for your sale. Know your area – in some areas Thursdays can be a great day for a sale. I did my sale on Friday and Saturday and Friday was definitely my busiest day!
2. Get ready for the sale 1-2 weeks ahead of time
Tables. Do you have tables or something you can use for tables? You can use lots of things for tables! If you have some scrap pieces of wood put them on top of boxes or crates or tv stands to make them into a table. You can also lay out blankets to make a spot for clothes to be laid out. Use boxes or tubs to house small items like books or stuffed animals.
Get cash for change. Make sure you have plenty of $1 bills, quarters and even $5’s and $10’s. Many people will pay with a $20 bill for $3 worth of stuff and you will need to give them change. You will also need something to keep your money during the sale. You can use a pencil box or some type of box. Honestly I like to use an apron! If you can find an old waitresses apron that works great. Even though I usually have 2-3 people’s stuff at my sale, sometimes I am the only person actually working the sale so I have to be up and around and can’t guard my cash box. So I keep all of my money in an apron – divided up in different pockets. If I get a lot of larger bills or tons of $1’s I will take the excess out and keep it safe in the house.
Check the forecast.
3. Collect/make signs. You can buy premade signs from the dollar store or make your own signs on poster board. I like to use a heavier weight sign on metal stakes. I just write “Yard Sale” with an arrow so the same signs can be used again and again.
3. Price your items a day or two before the sale.
Now can I just admit, I am not Money Saving Mom and I don’t usually price my items. I know, I know, I should and I tried to do more of that this sale but everything was not priced. I think it can go both ways – some people shopping want to know the price right away. Some don’t mind asking and having the chance to barter. I usually do sort of half and half – larger items I label with prices and I make some tables 25¢ tables or clothes a set price. Then the rest I let people ask for the price or if I see them looking at something I will offer a price.
4. Price things to sell!
You want to get rid of your junk so don’t over price it! Think of what you would be willing to pay at a yard sale and price it accordingly. My sister sold a bunch of baby clothes at my sale – 50¢ a piece and $1.00 for sets, jackets. She sold EVERY piece!
5. Advertise and put out signs the day before or morning of the sale.
You can advertise your sale in the newspaper for free in many places. Craigslist is also a great place. And there are many facebook yard sale groups you can post in as well. I put out my signs the night before (so Thursday night for a Friday sale). Make sure to put signs on busy intersections near your home and even signs along the road to keep directing people to your home. And don’t forget a sign at the end of your driveway too! You can even add some cheap helium filled balloons if you wish.
I had lots of little things to get rid of at this sale so I decided to make a few tables filled with items for one set price – a 25¢ table, a 50¢ table, and a $1 table. People loved those tables!
6. Don’t forget to sell lemonade or cookies!
If you have kids this a great way they can participate and make some spending money. You can sell bottled water, canned drinks, and snacks such as donuts in the morning and cookies in the afternoon. You can get a 12 pack of drinks for $3.00 or less (25¢ each) and sell them for 50¢ – 75¢ each. On a hot summer day I usually sell lots of drinks!
7. Be willing to make deals/lower prices on the last day or last few hours of the sale.
You can even advertise on the second day – “prices slashed” or something like that. Your goal is to get rid of your stuff so either lower the prices and put some cash in your pocket or you are going to have to haul it off for just a tax write-off.
Be willing to make deals for a lot of stuff. At my sale, I had a lady ask on Friday when I would close up on Saturday. She bought about $15 worth of baby clothes that day and then came back on Saturday at the end of my sale to buy most of what I had left for a discounted price. What I had left I had packed up in a box when someone else stopped and bought the entire box for $20. And my sister had cash in her pocket and no stuff left!
8. Donate what doesn’t sell.
At the end of your sale, box up whatever hasn’t sold and donate it to Goodwill or to another charitable organization. Make sure to make a detailed list – 2 pants, 2 vases, 1 pair of shoes, etc. so that you can tally the amounts for your taxes.
Enjoy having your clutter gone and some cash in your pocket! I like to have a goal or project in mind with what I want to do with my yard sale earnings – it helps when you are tired and sweaty and still have another day to go knowing you are working towards something you want. We might splurge and go out to dinner with a little of it and then the rest goes into savings or to purchase something for our home. I bought faux wood blinds for my whole downstairs with the profits from some of my first yard sales. We saved the profits from another yard sale and used it for spending money and vacation money one year. My profits from this sale are going into some home improvement projects you will see here soon.
I have enjoyed sharing this series and I hope you have been inspired to shop yard sales and bring in some thrifty treasures in your home! I really enjoy looking around my home and seeing items that I purchased for pennies at yard sales. And I enjoy the weekly treasure hunt too.
What are your best tips for hosting a yard sale? And what do you do with your profits?