How to Have a Yard Sale

June 17, 2019

To clear the clutter in your home and make a little money on the side, hold a yard sale.

Tubs of toys the kids have outgrown, closets of clothes you’ll never wear again, cabinets of cameras you haven’t picked up in 20 years, exercise equipment that’s rusting away, they all qualify for your yard sale.

But it’s no easy task, preparing for a garage sale. You need a plan of attack to unload your stuff and profit from the experience.

Here’s the yard sale game plan:

Check your city's rules on how to have a yard sale.

It’s not a big deal to get a permit. Usually, there’s no charge. Your city just wants to know that you’re not holding one every weekend.

Set the date for a yard sale

Timing is everything, right? Don’t pick a major holiday when everyone is leaving town. Rather, try to piggyback on a high-traffic day when people are sure to be in town like the opening day of Little League season or the kick off to the concerts-in-the-park season, especially if you live on a street or thoroughfare leading to those neighborhood events.

Promote your yard sale

Start, of course, with your own social media circle. There are also dozens of websites where you can advertise your sale for free, sites like Nextdoor, Craigslist, Yard Sale Search, and Yard Hopper.

Post signs around the neighborhood, as well. There are lots of early birds cruising the neighborhood in search of your electric pink and yellow signs directing them to the bargains you have for sale. Wood paint stirrers make great posts for sticking garage sale signs in the ground. You can get the stirrers free from most home improvement stores.

Set up your yard sale

Garage or yard sales are no picnic. Putting on a good one involves a lot of work and prep. Put clothes on racks, display fashion accessories, kitchenware and linens on tables, and keep toys at children’s eye level. Bargain hunters also like to see prices, so try to put price tags on as many items as you can. They will help set expectations for you and the buyer and serve as good starting point for your negotiations (okay, haggling).

Also, have a source of electricity close by if you’re selling old vacuum cleaners, fans and another other appliance.

Secure your home during a yard sale

You’re not hosting an open house; you’re holding a yard sale. Lock the front door, keep the garage door down and entice a couple of friends to work the sale with you so people don’t just walk off with your stuff.

Control your cash and start a cash drawer during a yard sale

Rather than storing cash in a shoebox, keep it in a fanny pack (and you thought people stopped wearing them) or an apron with deep pockets.  Start your cash drawer with about $100 in small bills and a handful of quarters.

Give away stuff that doesnt sell at the yard sale

 Resist the temptation to put back in your garage what doesn’t sell. Make a clean break by putting out a box of freebies or driving your leftovers to the Goodwill or another nonprofit that knows how to turn your discards into treasures. You might even get a write-off.

A yard sale is a great social excerise for connecting you to your community

Bonus: A yard sale is also a great social exercise for connecting you to your community. It will likely draw out your neighbors, catch you up on the neighborhood gossip and allow you to showcase your sales and organizational talents.

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