having a yard sale: the day of

23 April 2009

* get up early *
Put your signs up, start pulling everything out and start setting it up about an hour before the sale starts. Try to arrange it attractively, but remember that it's probably all going to get messed up as people go through it anyway. Remember to keep things in sections to make it easier for people to find. the more visible it is, the better it will sell.
If you don't want early birds, you may want to put "early birds pay double" in your ad. :) Remember that they can be your best friends though, because you don't have to lower your price on anything that early in the morning. I welcome people to look around as we're pulling stuff out.

* price negotiation *
photo by Real Simple
I loved watching my friend, Susan this past weekend at our yard sale. She knew exactly what she wanted for her bigger items and stuck to her guns on her prices because she knew she could get that price, or more, on Craigslist. (For your bigger items, like furniture and lawn equipment, I think you can get much more on Craigslist than at your yard sale, just a little tip)
I think about 15 people asked her to go lower on this cd stereo she had that was like brand new, but she said no and eventually got what she wanted on the first day. This is the nice thing about having sales for two days. The first day, you don't have to lower your prices much. You can tell people, "I really think I can get more for it, but if you come back tomorrow (or at the end of the day) and it's still here, I'll sell it to you at that price."

If you mark your prices fairly, you should have no problem with things disappearing quickly. A lot of people will ask you to take less. If people low-ball you, just give them the "No, I think I'll wait" or come back with a counter offer. You can tell if they really want it if they stay in the game. Stick to your guns. It's okay if they walk away without buying~don't take it personally. It helps if your friends chime in, "oh yea, do you know how much those are full price? That's a great deal." or "I have one like that and I love it, etc. etc."
Now, on your second day or the last few hours of the sale, we make crazy deals. We just want it gone so we don't have to box it up and haul it off.

* let the kids get involved *
let them sell donuts in the morning, lemonade, etc, or their own toys so they can earn a little money of their own.

* a few words of warning...*
It's sad that som people are dishonest and actually will steal at yard sales:
*be sure you keep the money with you at all times.
* if people ask to use your bathroom, go in the house with them, wait, and then walk out with them. I've known people to have stuff stolen inside their house this way~again, sad, I know.
*keep jewelry and other small items that you care about close to where the money is.
*don't accept checks and check your bigger bills. If they don't have cash, offer to hold their items for a half hour while they go get cash. Be sure to tell them that if they aren't back, you'll have to put it back out.
*take a pile of bills in to the house every so often, and keep purses, etc. inside.

* have fun *

play some music, eat treats, talk to the people that come to the sale so they stick around and buy as much as possible, tell them what they need to buy :), send someone for take-out with some of your cash for lunch, laugh about funny or crazy experiences, or how tired you are!, count how many times people ask how much you're selling your baby for, it really is a lot of fun...

* after the sale...*
It's best if everyone that brought stuff for the sale comes right when the sale is over to pick up their stuff and help clean up. Add up what everyone is supposed to have, and then count your money to see how close you came. With lots of people handling the money, you're bound to be off, but just divide what you're over or under evenly by everyone that participated. Don't forget to take in account the change that you began with. Have someone designated to take a load to the thrift store, go take down your signs, and enjoy all of your hard earned cash! Go back to your house and enjoy the feeling of having gotten rid of so much~yea!

Since I love y'all so much, I made a handy dandy checklist you can print off to make things a little easier: Melissa's Yard Sale Checklist (in Google Docs) I hope it comes through~this is my first time using it. Let me know...

Have a great Thursday!


  1. This is a great post that I will save in my favorites. I hate yard sales but after reading this it gives me hope.

  2. We have one every summer, this summer I just want to go to a million or so!:-) Thanks for all the tips! When we have another one they will come in handy for sure!

  3. great series...now i'm really excited to host a sale again!

  4. Great advice! I've been "about" to have a garage sale so many times, but chicken out because it's so intimidating. Your google doc is working, btw. : )

  5. Oh - I love yard sales!!! I really need to have another one this year. It's so much work, but worth it in the end. I think it's more fun to have it with someone, don't you? My neighbor and I are going to do one. My kids always like to set up a treat table where they sell donuts and orange juice.

    Good tips!


  6. Thanks so much for your timely yard sale posts. I am having my very first ever yard sale next weekend, and I sure do appreciate all your tips. Luckily I am doing it with a neighbor who has some experience!

  7. hi there, new to your site but just wanted to share. Love your garage sale tips! we just recently had one and didn't intend to make much money, but mostly wanted to rid our house of all the "excess" well we ended up making enough to buy a beautiful new new storm and pay to have it installed! all for getting rid of stuff we normally would have tossed out anyway!

  8. I am having my first garage sale tomorrow. Thanks so much for all of the tips. I'll be using them!


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