Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Yard Sale: Tips to Have the Best Yard Sale Ever! - Part 1 of 3

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Who wants a successful yard sale? I do, I do.

Whether success means getting rid of lots of stuff or making moucho money you will have what it takes by the time you finish reading these three posts.

I have years of experience and a great number of yard sales under my belt. I started helping my Mom thirty years ago and she has had at least one yard sale every year ever since.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of it all, keep in mind that you have to have lots and lots of stuff to sell. The more you have, the higher chance you’ll get crowds of people stopping by to purchase from you.

Yard Sale Tips

That being said, let’s get to it.  

The main points for part one of this mini-series will cover:
  • Gathering Your Merchandise
  • Enlist Others
  • Pick a Date
  • Early Birds
  • Pick a Place
  • Check on Permits
  • Advertising

The second part of this mini-series will cover:

    And the last part will include a couple of printables.

      Yard Sale Preparation

      So where are you going to get all that stuff to sell? Look. Your merchandise is all around you.

      Gathering Your Merchandise

      1. Things come and go in my home all the time. When they go, they end up in the giveaway box. It’s just an ordinary cardboard box that I keep around. Whenever I come across something I don’t want anymore, I toss it into the box.
      2. Purging. Grab anther box and systematically go through every room in your home.
        • Toss in anything you don’t want or haven’t used in six months or more.
        • Look in your closets, attic, basement, garages and crawl spaces.
        • Run over to your neighbors and do the same there. Just kidding.
      3. Remember, just because you don’t want it or you think it is worthless doesn’t mean everyone will feel the same. Your trash is someone’s treasure.
      4. Don’t forget the bottom of the kid’s toy box. I find all kinds of interesting things there.
      5. What about old power bars, cell phone chargers, USB cables, computer cords … I have a drawer full of these types of items.
      6. Get rid of all those clothes the kids have outgrown.
      7. What about your clothes? Too small or too big – get rid of it. If you gain or lose weight you’ll probably want new clothes anyway. You know you'll want to treat yourself.  :)
      8. Let your friends and family know that you will be having a yard sale. They may want to just get rid of a few things too. My Mom always has people dropping off stuff for her spring yard sale.

      Enlist Others

      You will want help for several reasons:
      • Having a multi-family or block yard sale will really grab people’s attention and the bargain hunters will show up like crazy. 
      • When you have friends, family or neighbors involved, the work gets divided up amongst everyone instead of it all being on your shoulders.
      • You will want a yard sale buddy so you can take washroom breaks and grab a bite to eat. Your buddy will also come in handy when your yard sale is swamped with customers all trying to buy from you.

      Pick a Date

      • Saturday is the best money making day and Sunday is the next best.
      • If you do pick Saturday you can always extend your sale over to Sunday. Or Sunday can be your rain date.
      •   Yard sales held in the late spring or early fall will draw in more customers than those on the hot summer days.
      •  Try to avoid holding your yard sale at the same time as big events because your sale probably won’t be their first choice.
      • We open our yard sales between 7 and 9 am and close around 3 pm or 4 pm.
      • The number of potential customers drops by 1:00 or 2:00 pm but we get a new surge around 3.
      •  Don't let a little rain ruin your yard sale. You could move everything into your garage, shed, gazebo or you can set a rain date. 

      Yard Sale Early Birds

      No matter what time you decide to open your yard sale there will people who will show up anywhere between one to one-and-a-half hours before your advertised start time.

      Yes those crazy early birds will swoop down on you quickly looking for a bargain. Chances are they are pickers looking for items to resell.

      My advice is to make them wait until you’re supposed to open or charge them considerably more for the inconvenience.

      Pick a Place

      Where is this yard sale going to be? We’ve debated it a few times but we always end up at my Mom’s.

      She lives across from the Beer Store and let’s face it, the store gets pretty busy once the warm weather gets here.

      Plus people are always asking her when she is having her yard sale. They anticipate it and look forward to it every year.

      Now it’s your turn to decide.

      ·        Should it be at your home?
      o   Will it be easy for your customers to see your sale from the road?
      o   Is there enough places to park?
      o   Is there enough room to spread out your merchandise?

      ·        Large common areas are also good for multi-family sales. Just check with your neighborhood association for details on obtaining permission to use it.

      ·        You may want to rent a booth and be a part of a larger group of sellers such as your Church bazaar.                                                                                                                                                 Where ever you decide to have your yard sale please keep the safety of your customers in mind. Make sure it is a safe place.

      Check for Permits

      You may be required to have a permit to have your yard sale. Make sure to check because you don’t want to get fined and have your yard sale shut down.

      To save time you may want to search online for answers. You may even figure how to apply for a permit there.

      Advertise, Advertise, Advertise. 
      You don’t want your yard sale to be the best kept secret of the century.


      Advertise, advertise, advertise. You don’t want your yard sale to be the best kept secret of the century.
      1.  You can start your campaign by placing an ad in your local newspaper. We have a paper delivered to us free twice a week so if advertised there we know our ad will be delivered to every home in the area. Remember to keep your ad short and sweet. List a few items your selling like furniture, kids’ toys, or collectibles. And don’t forget to include your address with the date and times of your sale.
      2.  Do an e-mail blast. A week or two before your sale let your friends know you are having a yard sale and encourage them to let all of their friends know.
      3.  List it as an event on Facebook. Then remind everyone two days before your sale.
      4.  Take advantage of free online listing sites such as, Craigslist. Yard Sale Search, Garage Sale Hunter, Yard Hopper, Garage Sale Source. You should place your ads a couple days before the sale so they stay on top. Do a Google search with the name of your neighbourhood because you may be lucky to have a community website where you can post your ad.
      5.  Put a sign in front of your house a week before your yard sale. Works especially if you live across from the Beer Store.
      6.  Post flyers on your neighborhood community billboard, at the corner store, the grocery store, laundry mat, coffee shop and library. 
      7.  Create your ad in a word processing program so you can copy and paste it to each listing site and onto your flyers.
      8.  We post yard sale signs on utility poles but you may want to check with your local police station to see if they have been banned in your area.
      ·        Use a bright colored poster board to grab everyone’s attention – fluorescent green, cheerful yellow, bright pink or wild and crazy orange. Whatever color you choose be sure to stick to it so it's easier for your customers to recognize and find you.
      ·        Staple your poster board to cardboard to make it sturdy so it will stay standing up straight.
      ·        Use a big black marker to make your sign. It will contrast nicely with the background color making it noticeable and easy to read.
      ·        Make the lettering large, bold and simple. You want it  to be easily read from far far away. Remember those signs are going to be read by someone whizzing by in traffic
      ·        Don’t forget to include a rain date, start and finish times, and the yard sale location address.
      ·        Post as many signs around the neighborhood as you can with arrows going in the right direction –  hang between ten and twenty signs.
      ·        You need 2 huge posters on the closest busy road near your home – one on each side of the road so both directions of traffic can see it. Fortunately for us, king street is half a block away. If you are thinking that having a yard sale may be an annual event consider putting together an A sign out of scrap wood and just staple your posters to it each year.
      ·      Use balloons on your large signs. You need to grab peoples attention or they could just go right by your signs and never even see them.

      Well thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed your time with me. 

      If you did, please feel free to share the love or opt to follow along on one of the social media platforms. Those friendly little buttons are on the right side bar.

      Remember to stop by again next week to read the second half of Yard Sale Tips.


      I am super excited to share the great news. Kimberly has featured this post at her fantastic party - Traffic Jam Weekend Linky Party. To see the other features please click HERE.

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      1. Thanks, for this post! I've been planning to do a yard sale and this really helps! Stopping by 4Seasons

      2. Great Post Darlene, I love a good yard sale. I have them quite frequently and find that it is true, People will buy anything. I have found that, in my area over the years, that Friday is actually better than Sunday. I was visiting some sales in my Ebay days on Friday morning and found many people at them. So I had my sale on a Friday and Saturday and did way better than the Saturday and Sunday combo. We are only allowed to have a sale two consecutive days once every 6 months. It is also a good way to meet the neighbors. Thank you.

      3. Great Post Darlene, I love a good yard sale. I have them quite frequently and find that it is true, People will buy anything. I have found that, in my area over the years, that Friday is actually better than Sunday. I was visiting some sales in my Ebay days on Friday morning and found many people at them. So I had my sale on a Friday and Saturday and did way better than the Saturday and Sunday combo. We are only allowed to have a sale two consecutive days once every 6 months. It is also a good way to meet the neighbors. Thank you.

      4. Good tips! One thing on the signs....a BIG arrow comes in handy. In our area we are limited and can only put up like 3 or 4 signs or something like that, so people need to check.....also are limited to signs for WHEN the sale is going, not early, etc.....local ordinances should be checked. Thank you for sharing. :)

      5. Definitely going to pin and share this post! Excellent advice, and I love the bit on early birds. I always, always have them, and I"m going to start charging them a little more, too. They always ring more doorbell or knock on the door and wake up my four children. Ugh!! Thank you for sharing!!

      6. Thank you for a great post! Definitely going to share and pin! I really like the bit on early birds because I always get them, and they ring the doorbell waking my four sleeping children. Not good at all!

      7. Great tips! Thanks for sharing :)

      8. I have been planning to do a yard sale for quite a while now, but I just didn't know where to start. Thanks so much for sharing tips to help me get started!

        Thanks so much for sharing on the Weekday Mixer - we love having you! :)

      9. A very detailed and well written post. Thanks for sharing with 4 seasons blog hop. Have a nice day.

      10. We just helped with a moving sale. It is a lot of work.
        Thanks for sharing all of your tips at the HomeAcre Hop!

      11. Comprehensive list. Thanks. Here from Saving 4 Six.

      12. These are great tips. We tried having one during our community yard sale once. Thanks for sharing with #SmallVictoriesSundaylinky. Pinning

      13. I always love to read your tips and tricks post! Thank you for sharing at CAL link party :)

      14. great tips! now to just force myself to get up early and host the sale! That's the hard part! I am thinking with these tips the money I would make will be worth a little less sleep!

      15. These are all such great tips, Darlene. No doubt following these will help to have a successful yard sale.

      16. Great tips! Especially during peak season! Thank you for sharing!

      17. Thanks for sharing this important step by step info on having yard sales!

      18. Great tips! I haven't had a yard sale. I feel overwhelmed thinking about it.