5 Ways To Host A Successful Yard Sale

By Sarah Stallmann
In Style

After a few months of purging, retail therapy and then more purging, I decided it was time to part with an extensive lot of my overly massive clothing collection by way of the yard sale. Although I had never ventured to host a sale at my home before, I had all the necessities to carry out the task: a yard and a ton of things to sell. So this past weekend (along with my roommate and a close friend), I set up shop on the front porch and figuratively turned on the “open” sign. Here are a few tips on how to make your own yard sale adventure both fun and successful.

Photo by Sarah Stallmann.

Photo by Sarah Stallmann.

1. Price Everything To Sell: Yes, that sweater that you have been holding onto because of sentimental reasons is very cute, but pricing it higher to match your sentiment won’t necessarily be very beneficial. In general, people who shop yard sales are looking for great deals and YOU are looking for the convenience of making a few bucks in the comfort of your own yard—and not waiting ages for it to sell for a tad more money on eBay. My pricing plan for a clothing-heavy sale was simple: 70 percent of the items were less than $5; 20 percent $10 or less; and 10 percent were designer/specialty and moderately more. Even those who are selling bigger-ticket items, furniture and home goods should be prepared to make a deal.

2/ Stay Organized: Making it easy for shoppers to see what you are selling is key to getting rid of even the smallest treasures. For large items and furniture: include any quirks about the piece and measurements listed along with the price. For small items and jewelry: use plastic baggies to easily organize and write prices on with a Sharpie. Whenever possible, keep items that are at the same price point in the same area (or a box) so they can be shopped easily on impulse. For home decor items: merchandise them as you would see in a store: kitchen items together, wall decor together, etc. And for clothing: hang up as much as possible, ensuring both organization and easy access for multiple shoppers. Tie a piece of rope between two trees to “fake” a rack if you don’t have one handy!

3/ Get Change—and Square: Although most people will come prepared with cash, others (especially if there are higher-ticket items available) may ask to pay with a credit card. In addition to making sure you have plenty of change, it’s worth looking into downloading a credit card reader (like Square) onto your cell phone so you can be prepared for anything. It’s easy (and free) to set up and links right to your bank account, giving you access to the funds within the next day. Although it does take a small fee out of the purchase price, I find that most shoppers do not mind if they are charged an extra two percent for the convenience of not having to run to an ATM.

4/ Invite the Right Shoppers: You can really count on your neighbors and yard sale loyalists to make your sale a success, so don’t get nervous about reaching beyond your circle of friends to spread the word. A great option that targets your neighbors without easily missed street signs is Nextdoor. The private app feels significantly more secure than Craigslist, and you can easily post your event and choose which nearby neighborhoods you would like to invite. Nearly half of our shoppers stopped by because they saw it on Nextdoor!

5/ Create a Fun Atmosphere: Having a yard sale is a great way to connect with neighbors, friends and meet some new people, so why not make your event memorable? Playing music and having a few refreshments are great ways to make the vibe really casual and fun so shoppers stick around, chat a little and shop for a longer period of time. We spent about $10 a piece and headed to Aldi to get ingredients for mimosas and a few snacks and it made for a great Sunday Funday.

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