clear the clutter

clear the clutter

Written By

Chelsea Foy

My husband and I consider ourselves yard sale aficionados. Every couple of years, when my family has accumulated too much stuff, we throw a yard sale (and I say “throw,” because to me, it’s almost like a party!). Now, not to toot my own horn, but our yard sales are pretty popular in the neighborhood and have been quite successful. So here, I’m outlining my very best tips for hosting the perfect yard sale, from start to finish.

  1. Choose the date and time wisely. Be aware of the weather, of any competing neighborhood events or holidays, and of the season. We find that our yard sales do bang-up business on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 am to 1 pm. Feel out your own neighborhood for best days and times.
  2. Publicize. About five days ahead of time, put an ad for your yard sale on Craigslist, in the newspaper, or wherever you can. Include the date, the time, the specific location, and a few tidbits about what buyers might find. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are important!
  3. Prepare. A few days ahead of time, gather everything you’re going to sell. Make sure it’s all clean (nobody likes to buy dirty stuff) and in working condition. Use price stickers from an office supply store to price things individually if you choose.
  4. Make signs. Use brightly colored poster board and thick black pens to make clear, eye-catching signs. Include only basic info—“Yard Sale,” the address, and an arrow pointing the way. Staple or tape them up securely in your neighborhood the morning of the sale for maximum drive-by traffic. Clean, well-written signs attract the most people.
  5. Display. Make sure you have enough display area for your goods. We always use tables because I hate to make people look on the ground. If you run out of tables, use sawhorses with plywood, old doors, anything you have. If you’re selling clothes, they sell best on a rack. We’ve used two ladders with a broom in between.
  6. Arrange. Group like things together. Have a kitchenwares area, an accessories area, a candle area, and so forth. Also, if you have a bunch of small things that you’ll sell for fifty cents or a dollar each, put them in one area and make a sign to let people know. Make the shopping experience make sense for your customers!
  7. Money matters. Be sure you have enough change to start the day. We usually begin with a roll of quarters, 20 one-dollar bills, 10 fives, and 2 tens. If someone tries to have you break a hundred early in the day, it might be smart to suggest they go get something smaller. Make sure you wear something with pockets, so you don’t have to leave money sitting anywhere. Finally, be ready to bargain! Price things knowing that people will most likely talk you down a bit.
  8. Be hospitable. Be friendly but not aggressive. Some people like to chat, others like to browse uninterrupted. Feel it out, but always say hello and goodbye.
  9. Set the mood. We always play music at our yard sales! I make a fun playlist and we keep it loud enough to hear but not loud enough to bother the neighbors. People always comment that they like it; some even sing along!
  10. Donate. When your yard sale is over, take any unsold goods, pack them up, and donate them to your nearest Goodwill, Salvation Army, or shelter.

What about you? Have you ever attempted a yard sale? I’d love to hear any tips that you’d add to these 10!