Tips for a Successful Yard Sale

Over the past few weeks my husband and I have been gathering everything we no longer needed and started planning our yard sale. Knowing I had to have a good amount of items to bring a good turn out, motivated me to only keep what’s necessary (although there’s still more decluttering that could be done).

We set up shop last Saturday and had a fantastic turn out! I was truly surprised at how well we did. I’ve had my fair share of garage sales with my big family while growing up but I did a few things differently which I believe helped tremendously.

It all boiled down to location, the right type of advertisement/signage, the placement of the items, pricing, and catering to our customers.

Location: Where you choose to have your yard sale can have a huge impact on the amount of foot traffic you get. We live down town, on a popular road, and our house is visible to surrounding streets. This made it easier for others to find us and bring in more passerbys. If your home or location isn’t easily accessible and visible to “heavy” traffic, perhaps you could invite a family member or friend who’s home is, and have them join in on the yard sale (the more stuff the better anyways).

Advertisement/signage: I grew up with the tradition of getting a newspaper and circling all the garage sales listed that we wanted to go to. After finding out how much you pay just to advertise I passed on putting in an ad. We initially put out a few signs on busy surrounding streets, which helped a bit but an hour in I decided to take it a step further. I grabbed 3 container lids, taped white cardstock to them, listed our major items “XBOX one/comp games” “name brand clothing & accessories” and “cold beverages homemade cookies” (I’ll elaborate on that a little later), then leaned them up against a tree, mailbox and light pole in front of our house for those driving by to see. I was shocked at the amount of people the signs brought in compared to before. This will be something that I will for sure do in the future!

Placement of items: I’ve worked in retail where I was in charge of displays and merchandise placement in a boutique so I was very familiar with how I’d need to set everything up. Having sections was a must. All the kitchen in one area, clothes and accessories in another, dvds and electronics, then home decor, etc. This helps costumers feel more at ease and allows them to browse table to table instead of constantly looking around at everything, especially if they have something specific in mind. I strategically chose certain items to put next to where we were sitting, for customers to look at while we total and bag the things they purchased. I did jewelry on our table and dvds on a connecting table. We had tons of dvds and most people don’t have time to go through them all but placing them right next to us gave them the opportunity to spend some time looking through them while they waited for us to finish. It worked out perfectly! Ended up selling all the jewelry except one necklace, and more than half of the 50+ DVDs.

Pricing: Everybody hates going to a garage sale and finding something they really want only to find out they’re charging way too much for it. My main goal was to get rid of stuff and make money in the process, not the other way around. I kept everything as .25 .50 1.00 and so on to avoid needing extra coins. I also priced everything with what I would be willing to pay if I saw it at a garage sale, and nothing more. Things were flying off the shelf. People were buying several items instead one of two things, because my prices didn’t hurt their wallet.

Catering to customers: And I truly mean catering. My husband had the idea of me making some homemade cookies, which are to die for, and buy some water to sell as well. I’ve never done this and I’ve never been to a garage sale that’s done this so I was a little skeptical. I made oatmeal raisin and sugar cookies that we sold 2 for .25 with water .25 a bottle. We used a cooler for the water.. because everyone loves cold water. I individually wrapped the cookies in plastic wrap and displayed them on platters. People actually bought them. Especially older women and those with children. There were some who only bought cookies and nothing else. My husband thinks it will be an even bigger hit when our daughter gets a little older and she can man the cookie station. I couldn’t agree more. This was easy money. We only paid for the waters since we already had all the ingredients for the cookies and made the money back pretty quickly with leftover cookies for us, YUM!

We ended up selling about 85-90% of what we put in the yard sale for the 5 hours we had it up and that’s a win in my book! My mom, who’s put together probably over a hundred yard sales, was really impressed with our turn out, labeling it one of the most successful yard sales she’s seen.

Putting a little TLC into planning and setting up your yard sale can go a long ways!


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