How to have a hugely successful yard sale

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We all have yard sales for two main reasons – to get rid of stuff we don’t want anymore and to make money.  (Let’s be real – if you didn’t care about the money at all you’d just donate everything).

Last weekend I had my own freakishly huge yard sale.  I got rid of so much clutter that was weighing me down and even better – I made $900.  (I know you aren’t supposed to talk money but I’m keeping it real here.  You gotta know you really can make some moolah at a yard sale).  In short, it was a huge success.

So I thought I would take some time to share my tips for how all of you can also have a fantastically successful yard sale.

how to have the greatest yard sale ever

There are 3 major components to a successful yard sale:

  1. You need stuff for people to buy.
  2. You need to get people there.
  3. You need those people to buy all the stuff.

Sounds simple right?  Not always.  I have been to hundreds of yard sales without enough stuff, enough people, or enough people buying stuff.  (Yeah, I go to way too many yard sales – what can I say).

So here are some simple tips to achieve the magical yard sale trifecta.

Stuff people want to buy

yard sale

(This was the first chance I had to take a pic – more than half of our merchandise was already gone.)
  • This part is pretty simple.  If you didn’t have stuff to get rid of, you wouldn’t be having a yard sale.  Get all of your stuff together.
  • At this point you might want to take stock and make sure you have enough for a yard sale.  Yard sales are a lot of work and if you have two piddly little boxes, it is not going to be worth your while.  (Plus people won’t even pull over if you don’t have a pretty good spread).  If you don’t have a ton of stuff but still want to have a sale, consider teaming up with some friends or family members.
  • Organize your stuff – kitchen stuff together, kids toys together, etc.  Even though people expect to sort through stuff at a yard sale, if everything is a big jumble, they will get overwhelmed and leave.
  • Put big stuff near the road where it will catch the eye of all those people doing a quick drive-by.

Get people there

greatest yard sale

  • You may be lucky enough to have the perfect yard sale spot – on a main road or right in the middle of the huge neighborhood sale.  I was not.  My house is located in the far reaches of a quiet neighborhood that isn’t really near anything else.  So getting people there was my biggest worry.  I knew I had to do some great marketing.  (For this part, I got some really great tips from Vintage Revivals 5 tips for a Killer Yard Sale.)
  • Advertise – and make your ads catchy! I placed ads on Craigslist starting 4 days before the sale.  I placed a new ad everyday until the sale actually began.  I knew I had to get people’s attention and convince them it was worth their time to drive all the way out to us.  Here are a couple of my ads:

Freakishly huge yard sale August 3rd and 4th Gigantic yard sale this Friday and Saturday August 3rd and 4th! 8 o’clock sharp.   I am done with my former hoarding ways and am sharing my amazing finds with all of you. I almost can’t believe I am selling so much good stuff! Not only that – I have joined forces with another family so now there will be even more great stuff to buy.  You do not want to miss this sale — there will be so many amazing treasures to find. Pretty much anything you could want. Plus lots and lots of cool vintage and antique stuff. And everything will be priced cheap — after all, it is a yard sale. (There will be plenty of free stuff too.)

Crazy good yard sale starts today Today is the day! Aren’t you excited!  The fantastically huge hoard-clearing yard sale starts today. Grand opening is at 8 am.  There is so much stuff it seems silly to even try to list it but there will be a whole lot of great stuff at great prices. See you there.

  • Have plenty of signs – and make them catchy too! Where I live, most people find yard sales through Craigslist or just by following yard sale signs they happen to see.  So I wanted my signs to be attention-grabbing as well.  And it worked!  There were so many people there – I was thrilled!  And tons of people talked about how they came because of the ads or signs.

yard sale signs

Get people to buy stuff

  • This part isn’t too hard as long as you have plenty of good stuff and you managed to lure in plenty of potential buyers.  But there are definitely some helpful things you can do.
  • Keep your prices reasonable – no matter how great you think your stuff is, remember it is a yard sale.  You are selling your used things from your front yard to complete strangers.  And you are trying to get it all sold within 1 –2 days.  This isn’t the time to expect top dollar.  Also, be willing to bargain a little.  I’d rather sell something for a dollar less than still have it sitting around when the sale is over.
  • Be nice to people.  Yes, this is what you should be doing everyday.  But seriously, if you are friendly and make people feel welcome, they will be more inclined to buy something from you.  It is just human nature.    .

I know some people pack up their yard sale stuff at the end of their sale and stick it back in their garage until their next sale.  That isn’t for me though.  I love making extra money at a yard sale but I love getting rid of clutter even more and I certainly don’t want it making its way back into my house!  Yes, you can pack everything up and take it to the Goodwill, but after a long exhausting yard sale day, that is the last thing I want to do.

If you feel the same way, I have 2 suggestions for getting rid of yard sale leftovers quickly.

Getting rid of yard sale leftovers

  1. Ask around and find out if anyone you know is collecting donations for a fundraiser yard sale.  Once you find someone, let them know what time the sale will be over so they can come pick everything up.  I contacted some people at our church about getting the leftovers for an adoption fundraiser.  Unfortunately, they weren’t able to come pick things up until later so I kept the best pieces for them in the garage and went to suggestion 2 for everything else.
  2. Put everything left over that you definitely don’t want next to the road and post it on Craigslist for free.  It is amazing what people will do for free stuff.  Stuff that no one would pay $1 for is suddenly so much more appealing when it is free.  After posting our free leftovers on Craigslist, everything was gone within 2 hours.

So what do you think – any great tips to add?  Have you ever seen a really great yard sale ad or sign?

Also, be sure to check out my series – How to shop yard sales like a pro.

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  1. says

    This post is so amazing. I want to print it out and give it to every crappy-yard-sale host I run in to. You hit on my three yard sale pet peeves – signs, quantity and price.
    Instead I will tweet it!

  2. says

    Great post! I always put out a call to my friends on Facebook to have them join me to sell. Each time I’ve have 4 or 5 friends join me. It makes the sale so much more fun and the items are much more diverse. At the end of the sale I put everything out for free and whatever is left over after that gets picked up by the donation ceter the next day.

  3. says

    what a timely post as we’re having a huge inside yard sale this saturday at my mom’s house…it’s for sale and empty so we’ve been lugging stuff over for weeks and i’m still purging and decluttering. i think i’m going to steal some of your ideas and also post on craig’s list.

    i’m hoping to make lots of $$ so I can finish up a guest bedroom re-do…thanks for the ideas!

  4. says

    Love your tips Carrie, many we do, but I’ve learned more great things! I popped over to the other post, and oh my gosh I want those door knobs! I’ve been searching for years and have never come across any! I’ll have to look harder I guess.

  5. says

    I enjoyed meeting you at your yard sale. Your prices were so cheap, or should I say economical, that I’m amazed you made that much money. I’m really glad for you. Thank you again for the baby swing. My grandson loved sitting in it, and my granddaughter loved trying to wind it!

  6. says

    Great tips…I just LOVE to go to garage sales and HATE to have them. :)

    I’m over from Audrey’s at Timeless Treasures…she is showing her beautiful blue sign she won from you….so glad I came over. I am now following and hope you’ll come by to see me when you have time.
    xo bj

  7. says

    Wonderful tips for a successful yard sale. Bargains to be found. I just came from Audrey’s blog. Great sign from your giveaway….I am your newest follower. I do hope you pop in to say hello and follow along.

  8. says

    Enjoyed your post and so glad to have found your blog. I’ve discovered a few other good ways to pass along yard sale leftovers. There’s ARC and the Vietnam Veterans of America who both come to your home and pick up your items.

  9. Emily says

    this was a very informative post. my parents are having a yard sale and haven’t had one in years. these tips will definitely help! thank you so much!

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