10 Tips for a Money-Making, Hassle-Free Yard Sale

When it comes to yard sales, it's easy to make a wrong turn: setting prices too high, forgetting to advertise, or shadowing buyers are all simple mistakes sellers make. But a well-planned yard sale will leave your wallet fatter and your home decluttered. Proper planning, skillful organization, and a sense of humor will save the day—and your sanity. Here are 10 tips to ensure success.

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  1. Start Early


    Even if your next yard sale is months away, start sorting through your belongings now. Put each item in one of four storage containers: Keep, Toss, Yard Sale, and Undecided. “If you’re not using it in the next year, don’t keep it,” says Dave Valliere, senior product manager for home storage at Yardsalequeen.com


  2. Ad It In


    Advertise online and in your local paper. If you have baby items or antique furniture, say so. People will scan the ads looking for items they need, and if you have what they’re looking for they’ll come to your yard sale. 


  3. Sign Me Up


    Check local ordinances on sign placement. Make your signs easy to read from the road and similar in design so people can follow them. Paint or draw the arrows after you plant the signs to make sure they point in the right direction. 


  4. Price Pointers


    Visit other yard sales and thrift stores to get ideas on pricing. You’re in business for the day to get rid of things you don’t want so price accordingly. You can mark prices with colored stickers, but make sure you don't damage the item in the process.


  5. Timing


    The most popular start time is 8 a.m. Saturday. But there are regional differences. Yard sales begin later in upstate New York and earlier in the South. Check ads in your local paper to determine local custom. If you have lots of stuff, host a two-day sale for Friday and Saturday, Saturday and Sunday, or two Saturdays.


  6. Caging Early Birds


    If you don’t want people at your home the day before, don’t advertise in the paper and don’t add arrows to your signs until sale day. “The moment you put your signs out, your yard is fair game,” Littlefield says. But be realistic: For a hassle-free sale, be ready 30 minutes in advance of your advertised start time. 


  7. Lure Them In


    Put the good stuff, the big stuff in easy view. If someone is just driving by, tabletops filled with knickknacks won't catch the eye but large furniture, lawn mowers, or electronics will.


  8. Don’t Sell It If It Isn’t Yours


    Don’t sell your toddler’s toys, your husband’s baseball card collection, or Grandma’s heirloom dishes if the owner isn’t ready to let them go. If an item is not for sale, cover it up or add a sign that says “Not for Sale.”


  9. Mind Your Money


    A forgotten cash box is an easy target for thieves. Use a fanny pack, apron, or pocket to keep money with you at all times. You can also buy a special counterfeit detector pen at an office supply store. Make a mark on the bill—if it turns a different color, it’s counterfeit. Don’t take checks or large bills.


  10. Space Is Important


    Give people room to browse. If they feel pressured or watched, they’ll leave. Greet them, and then chat with a friend or sip some coffee. 


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