How to Host a Terrific Yard Sale

How to Host a Terrific Yard Sale

Hosting a yard sale is a fun and productive way to de-clutter before a move. Bruce Littlefield, author of Garage Sale America, shares his tips on how to make your yard sale shine.

Be proactive. When you find something in your house that you no longer need or want, put it in a box right away. Knowing you’re ready to get rid of it feels absolutely terrific. Once you’ve accumulated several boxes, set a date.

Partner with your neighbors. The more the merrier when it comes to garage sales. True garage sale lovers want to visit multi-family sales first.

Advertise! In addition to sites like Craigslist and Facebook, post about your sale on, a huge clearinghouse for bargain-hunters.

Use smart signage. Use attention-getting words that precisely highlight what you’re selling, whether it’s kid’s clothes or mid-century furniture. Then, hang it from a telephone pole and draw a big black arrow pointing in the right direction.

Sweat the small stuff. Before the sale, load up on plastic grocery bags for easy packaging, $100 in small bills for making change and blue painters’ tape and a Sharpie for labeling prices. Traditional price stickers might mess up items, especially vintage ones.

Get creative. Think about your sale like you’re running a store. Flex your creative muscles with fun displays. Group like things together and consider having your kids set up a lemonade stand nearby to keep people interested. Bonus: They’ll learn the pleasures of retail!

Price properly. A dime for every dollar of original value is a good pricing strategy. If you’re dealing with vintage or heirlooms, consult an auctioneer or an appraiser first, since you might be able to consign them instead. If you’re unsure about a price, compare similar items on eBay and charge accordingly. Stash miscellaneous items at a “dollar table” and replenish it frequently. It will add up!

Start early. Open up as soon as you can crack your eyes open. Rope off the area in advance, which will create a frenzy if there’s a crowd. Savvy shoppers will begin gathering well before you open up shop.

Have fun! Have a sense of humor! Enjoy the day. If someone goes to a yard sale and the person is grouchy or yelling at their kids. it makes potential customers want to run away. At one of Littlefield’s favorite yard sales, the owner was wearing a feather boa and serving iced tea.

Bargain a bit. Chances are, buyers will want to haggle. Set a time at which you’ll begin discounting items. If an early bird wants to negotiate, suggest he or she return at 2 p.m. for 50 percent off. These people will circle back to you then, or decide to pay full price now, knowing that someone else will get it later.

Donate the rest. Even the savviest sellers will have excess merchandise. Decide in advance where you’ll put the leftovers, and arrange for same-day pickup so you don’t have to lug your clutter back inside. Littlefield recommends posting items on popular donation site Freecycle.

Happy selling!