Selling Tips for Yard Sales, Garage Sales, Moving Sales
or Any Other Sale ...

I have come up with a general list of selling tips and tricks to help you with your yard sales or garage sales. These common sense tips can, also, help you with any moving sales, rummage sales, or estate sales that you may be thinking about having.

I realize that this is only a partial list and you may have even better suggestions for us so if you can think of anything that is not already listed, please contact me and I'll be happy to get your helpful tips posted, too.


Gathering Your Sale Items

Before your yard or garage sale, you'll want to have an out of the way place for the items that you want to sell. Be sure you keep these items in their own separate space ... these items have a way of walking off somehow. As in the case for my yard sales, I would go in search of items that we hadn't used in the past year. Once I would find the items and put them in one spot, I found that my children would see the items and then decide they wanted to play with or use them again. It was a non-stop cycle. I, finally, realized that I had to keep the gathered items in an out-of-the-way spot in the house or they would end up back all over the kid's bedrooms ... only to be left alone and unplayed with or not used for another whole year. My philosophy is, if we don't use it (at least once) each year, we probably don't need to have it hanging around and taking up space. It, also, helps me to remind my children that THEY get to keep any of the proceeds from the sale of their toys. They like that so they (now) are more likely to leave something in the pile.

Once items are gathered, I usually mark it right then and there - for the same reason ... if I see something, I don't want to later think I need it and pull it out of the area (unless I have a good reason to think twice about getting rid of it). Plus, it makes everything so much easier if you can just pull it all out right before the sale and not have to worry about having the sale ready for visitors.

Advertising and Signs

First and foremost ... ADVERTISE YOUR SALE! List your items locally and on the internet so more people will know that you are having a yard sale. When people know of yard or garage sales ahead of time, they are more likely to stop and shop. Today, there are so many places that will let you post classified ads for your yard or garage sale that it just makes sense to try and inform people about what you've got and why they should stop at your sale. Often times, this advertising is free ... One really great place to list your items is (short for Local Yard And Garage Sales Online) ... ok, so I couldn't resist getting that plug in there - please help spread the word about us because it benefits everyone! :-)

When making signs for people to read while driving by, be sure to use a posterboard (backed with heavy-duty cardboard, at a minimum so it's not blowing in the wind) large enough for EASY reading. Make it clear and use LARGE printed letters. Remember, we don't want to make anyone to crash while trying to read your sign.

When posting your signs near the road or on public streets, don't post them on the telephone poles or any street signs because workers who try to climb these poles snag their clothing and equipment - as well as, their arms and legs while climbing. Many cities have rules and regulations about pounding nails and staples into these street poles. As a courtesy, don't. Some cities, like mine, will have police officers going around and tearing off the signs. To me, this is a huge waste of taxpayer's money - I'm sure they have more important things to be doing.

When posting signs, it helps to use similar-looking signage so that if people have a trail to follow (to find you), they know that they are following the right path and have not gotten side-tracked. There have been a few times where I wasn't sure where I was going. Also, make sure there are enough signs and they are close-enough together. I have, also, come to signs where the signs just ended abruptly and the sale was nowhere around. If you're going to post signs, please be sure that people KNOW exactly where they need to go to find your yard or garage sale.

An easy way to check how well your signs are showing, is from a driver's point of view. Get in your vehicle and drive by your signs to see if you can read them clearly and easily. If not, fix them.


Consider if there's enough parking on the street. Will you get good traffic or will you want to hold a yard sale with a friend and use their home ? If you don't want to have a yard or garage sale with a friend, you can always consider renting space at the community garage sale. The traffic should help to make up for the cost of the booth.

You, also, need to consider a date. Do not pick a weekend where there is a holiday near it. You may have a better turnout when people aren't thinking and preparing for the holiday.

Once you have a date picked out, you'll want to set a good time for your sale. There are usually early birds who will try to stop by for the best deals. You'll have to decide if this is something you'll allow or not ... Either way, I would be sure you're ready for these unexpected visitors. If you will accept them, you might want to add your phone number to any advertisements that you have. And ... be prepared for the people that call before 7:00 am or after 10:30 pm. Some people don't ever think twice about calling at what might be an odd time (for most other people). Be prepared to deal with these people nicely - remember, you want their business.

Consider having a sign posted that says 'All sales are final'. This may seem like common sense but I've actually heard of people going back later with an item and asking for a refund.

Put fascinating items near the outside (closer to the road). This will encourage people to stop and take a look around. I have found that by putting tools or other 'manly' equipment closest to the road, they stop more often. Guys can't pass up tools like kids can't pass up toys.

Think ahead ... if you have electrical-powered items, keep a power source or extension cord available nearby. People will not want to buy a tv or radio without making sure that they work properly first.

Also, plan ahead by having enough cash and change on hand. I like to keep $75.00 on hand in $5.00 bills, $1.00 bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies. Well, the pennies might not be needed, anymore, but you will want to make sure you have enough change to give people.


Have a house phone or cell phone nearby, for safety's sake. You just never know when you might need it - to call an ambulance if someone trips, or to call the police if someone seems very shady, or you just never know when the phone will ring and you don't want to have to leave the yard sale to go answer it.

Be sure that items for sale are clearly marked and that nothing else is around. I have, often times, been asked what I'll take for this or that - and it's not even for sale. Clear the area of items that you don't want to wander off or be sold ... it's just easier.

Play a little background music - nothing like hard metal rock or disco, just something smooth and relaxing that might make the experience of shopping a little better and keep potential customers there a few extra minutes. You don't want it too quiet - some people get too intimidated and whisper, for some reason.

Have coffee or iced tea or water available - consider the weather and temperature ... if it's chilly outside, offer hot coffee and if it's hot outside, offer iced tea or cold water. This will help to improve your sales. We've even offered doughnuts for early morning yard sales and (I feel) that we ended up with a lot more traffic than we would have had otherwise - we advertised it as having them.

Be attentive without breathing down someone's neck. I hate going to yard sales where someone has to follow me around. I, also, hate going to yard sales where I am ready to checkout and I have to search for someone. Make sure someone is always around to cheerfully answer questions that potential buyers might have.

Never leave your money unattended - and never leave your children in charge of money until they are old enough to count. I once had a women cheat my 6-year old son out of about $25.00. Be sure that whoever takes money, can count money. I couldn't believe someone would actually cheat a 6-year old. Of course, by the time I realized it, she was already pulling out of the parking spot.

When someone pays you, leave their money out on the table in plain view. That way, they cannot say they gave you a $20.00, when they actually gave you a $10.00. I have seen it happen and, this way, there will be no confusion. Also, count back the money when you make change. It is a good way for you to double check your math. Plus, if it gets busy enough, you will be ensuring that you are giving the correct change back.

Keep your piles neat and organized so that people can glance through everything without having to dig. It helps to put items in organized piles of similar items - for example: clothes by sizes, CD's, kitchen items, wall hangings, etc. When you have items arranged nicely, it shows that you have taken good care of your items. People are more likely to purchase items that are well-taken care of.

Also, keep re-stocking your tables ... make sure there are no empty spots by moving items over, as one thing gets sold, move other things over to the place where it was to keep items uncrowded.

Be courteous ... remember, you want them there! Besides, sometimes you can just tell that they are not interested but continue asking questions before walking away. Just treat them as you would want to be treated. A little kindness goes a long way - and, they may not want something but they may leave and call a friend to let them know about your items.

Have some clean plastic bags on hand so that people who purchase more than a few items can easily carry the 'stuff' away. Some people will want to double-bag their items so be sure you have plenty on hand.


Clean Up

After the sale is over, it should be a priority to remove all of your signs from wherever you had them set up. This will help to prevent any falling out with the neighbors.

Consider donating any of the remaining items to charity. They are already out and ready to go - I just pack them all up, put them in my car, and drive them to the nearest Goodwill. I learned (early on) that it is so much easier to do this than it is to pack them up and put them back in the basement to save for another yard sale - and then have to drag them all back out again.


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