7 tips for successful yard sales

7 tips for successful yard sales

One of the best ways to declutter your life and make some extra spending money at the same time is to hold a yard sale. And there's no better time than fall, when the summer heat waves are over and people are no longer hiding from the sun

While deciding what should be sold and counting final profits are the easy parts of a garage, yard or "ticket" sale, it's the hard work and preparation beforehand that can seem almost overwhelming.

While most yard-sale fans can spot a bad sale without even slowing down the car, the things that make a good sale aren't always easy to pinpoint. We found a trio of local yard-sale veterans who offer seven tips for hosting a successful sale.


First and foremost, says Eagle Point resident Karen Guill, if you're going to the trouble of having a garage or yard sale, give it your best shot and plan in advance.

Yard sales done right require work, and a sale haphazardly thrown together will yield more aggravation than profit.

Guill suggests sorting and cleaning sale items a week or more before a sale and putting like items together. She also suggests having an outlet available so shoppers can test electrical items, as well as scrap paper and bags for wrapping breakables.

Join Forces

Piggybacking onto a citywide or large-scale event can provide a big boost for any sale. If timing isn't right, consider a neighborhood or "multifamily sale."

Martha and Fred Youngblood of Eagle Point help host neighborhood sales twice a year for their golf-course community. The lure of dozens of families offering bargain items makes it worth the drive for hundreds and hundreds of Rogue Valley residents eager to hunt for bargains in the fall.


Put notices on bulletin boards and in local newspapers. Post large, easy-to-read signs three to five days prior to the sale and drive past them to ensure they are legible.

Michelle Gauthier, a Medford resident, encourages those holding sales to check their local municipalities to avoid being cited for an illegal yard sale (some cities require an inexpensive permit) and to avoid posting signs where they're not allowed.

In addition to print advertising, post the entire sale, especially descriptions and photos of large items, on websites like Craigslist.

"Good advertising makes all the difference," says Youngblood.

Set Up a 'Store'

Make the sale appealing to potential shoppers by setting it up almost like a store.

"If you don't have a bunch of things in the driveway, people won't stop. They'll just zip right by and not even get out of their car," notes Youngblood.

"Put a balloon at the end of your driveway, something to attract them, and don't put things on the ground or on a tarp. People don't like to have to bend over to pick something up to look at it."

Have several nice items close to the roadway, and avoid items people don't typically buy at yard sales. Clothes are a tough sell, even when hung up and sorted. Seasonal items do best when sold close to the season when they'll be used. For example, offer Christmas items at a fall sale but probably not during a spring sale.

Price items Fairly

While the focus of a sale is to make money, it's also to clear out space. Put prices on everything but be flexible, keeping in mind that people often enjoy haggling.

"Whatever you do, don't say, 'When someone asks me about it, I'll give them a price then,' " says Youngblood. "Sometimes people will pass something by because they don't want to ask how much something is. Put prices on everything."

Have Plenty of Change

Before the sale, get plenty of change and consider a fanny pack for security and convenience.

Youngblood notes, "You always have someone show up to buy something for 50 cents, and all they've got is a twenty."

Don't Keep Sale Items

During and after the sale, remember you probably don't want to haul everything back into your recently cleared-out garage.

On the final day of the sale, offer a half-off special or dollar-a-bag sale. In the final few hours of the sale, start pulling lower-valued items from tables and tossing them into a "free" box. At the end of the sale, find a place to donate unwanted items (see sidebar) and avoid taking them back into your garage.

"Remember that the point of the sale was that you wanted to get rid of everything and not take it back inside," says Guill. "So whatever you do, don't take it back inside."

Share This Story