having a yard sale: before the sale

22 April 2009

So, you're ready to have a yard sale? Yay! It will feel so good to de-clutter and purge of the things you aren't using or don't love.
* The ultimate form of recycling *
pic source
This is an appropriate post for Earth Day as well, since I believe yard sales are the ultimate form of recycling. Instead of adding to a landfill, you are passing it on to someone else to use. When you go to yard sales, you find items to re-purpose instead of buying new. You are also supporting the American economy, because of your money goes into the pockets of your fellow citizens. Now that we have warm fuzzies about yard sales, here we go.

* Decide who, when, where *

* Do you have enough to have your own sale? This can be easier in some ways because you don't even really have to price things, because you know what you want for items. You can put up general signs like "all clothes 50 cents unless otherwise marked" and not have to worry about the hassle of putting a price tag on everything. We did this right before we moved and it was the easiest sale I've ever had, mostly because I think putting price tags on everything is the most time-consuming part. We just set it out there, and went to town.

*If you have it with others, it can be a lot of fun and you can advertise as a multi family yard sale. It's nice that you can divide and conquer so it's not all on you.
Pick a couple of dates that work for everyone and then plan on the first date that has good weather to hold it.

*Decide on a house that has good access, and plenty of room in the yard, driveway, or garage. It is usually best if you bring everything over before the morning of the sale so you can see what you have and if you need more.

*What days will you have it and for how long? Make sure you will always have at least 2 people there to help out. Try to have it for 2 days if you can to get rid of the most stuff. We usually go Friday and Saturday from 8 to around 1 p.m.

* Start going through all of your stuff *

* I like to know when we're having one at least a month in advance so I can start looking at things with new eyes to decide if I really want to keep or take the opportunity to get rid of it and earn a little money. Go through every part of the house if you can: cabinets, closets, the garage, bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, bookshelves.

* If you've been wanting to get rid of/replace something, take the opportunity now. I've found if it's there, it's easy to stay there. If you get rid of it, it forces you to take action.

*Take a couple rooms a week and go through and purge. It will feel so good! Assure your husband the huge piles amassing in the garage/shed/attic/closet will be gone soon.

*price everything and put your initials on the tag if you have more than one family participating. Use pre-made garage sale labels, regular labels, masking tape, painters tape, etc. You also tend to get more money when you individually price items.

* Start rounding up tables, laundry baskets, tarps, etc. to display items on *
The more, the better. Round up as many tables as you can. Your items that are displayed and organized will sell more quickly.

You can divide clothes into laundry baskets by size and gender:

You can fold and put things on tarps:

Rig up a rope or pole to hang clothing on.

Group things together such as: kitchen, household items, electronics, toys/games, yard/tools, clothing (separated by size and gender)

Here is a great article on setting up your garage sale.

Make a list and check it twice:
Some tasks to assign to yourself, or divide and conquer with your friends:

*make signs and hang the morning of. Make them bright, colorful, and make enough to put at key intersections near your house and to lead them in from them.

*put the ad in the newspaper and/or Craigslist (everyone can split the cost) Be specific with what you have and let them know what great stuff it is :)

*someone bring chocolate, snacks, and/or goodies ~ you will be blessing them later

*get change at the bank before the sale~this is what I usually get:
10 five dollar bills
20 one dollar bills
$5 in quarters
$1 worth of nickels

*Everyone bring extra grocery sacks

*you will want to have a money box, or even better, a fanny pack to wear. You may look like a nerd for the morning, but your money will be right with you and be safe. If you do have a money box, don't leave it unattended for a second.

*bring a notebook for recording sales if you have more than one family. Make a column for each family.

*The night before...*
Set it all up and shop each others stuff. You can also invite friends and neighbors to have a "preview sale." Then, you can be ready to drag it all out in the morning and be set to go.

Works for me...


  1. Great info! We are getting ready for a yard sale too and I hate to say it but I LOVE doing them as much as I love going!

  2. good tips...i'm thinking about one and a month seems like a good idea to start gathering my goods!

  3. We are getting ready for ours at the end of May. It helps me to clean out things that I otherwise pack away! We always do it with my in-laws since they have stuff too and a better location.

  4. Great tips. I have got to get my booty in gear. My sale is coming up in a few weeks and I have got sOOOOOOOOOOO much stuff to go through. Thank you Yard SAle Guru, thank you!


    p.s. Your bread pics are absolutely mouth watering. Kudos to you. And yes, I would have posted that lovely pic twice as well. I am a loser when it comes to making bread, so I may just have to try my hand at this one. BTW, Utah State is my Dad's alma mater too...go Aggies!!!

  5. Great advice from the QUEEN of yard sales herself! I think I am going to have my neighbors read this before we have our sale.

  6. Terrific information I love the way you share all the needed information thanks

  7. I crown you the garage sale queen! Thanks for the great advice.

  8. I've been contemplating a garage sale . . . do you think your posting is a sign?! LOL!

  9. Thanks for the post - I'm printing it out now as a checklist for the sale I'm having in June.

  10. This post brings back so many memories of the many yard sales we did back in the good old days! :) I miss those!
    I've actually been debating doing a yard sale and keep thinking it would be so much easier if you were here to spearhead it since this was always your specialty! I guess I'll have to put on my big girl pants and do it myself! But it just won't be the same! LOL!

  11. Thanks for all the info...I was waiting for your breakdown of the rules and regulations on a successfull garage sale. Perfectly put! I have a very large box of stuff that I'd love to throw out...but now I think I'll make some spending money for more garage saleing! Miss doing it with the Queen...it's just not the same! Love Susan

  12. We're having a neighborhood sale next month, and I've got tons of stuff I could put out, but dread the work. It's always such a lot of work! I usually make enough money to feel that it's worth it, though.

  13. Thanks for the yard saling tips. I am planning one for the first weekend in May. I am trying to clean out this next week when I get back from vacation. Love the idea of putting clothes in baskets. There is never enough table space.

    Also, I will have to try the recipe in the previous post. I never have much luck with yeast bread, but you make this sound doable! Thanks!


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