A lot of people have trouble letting go of stuff. That’s okay. It can be difficult to let go of some things, especially if those things cost you money or have sentimental value. You don’t want to just chuck it because, well….one, the environment, and two…it still has value. Your stuff can live out its usefulness, even if it’s outside of your home. Hosting a yard sale is a great way to find new homes for your stuff, and as a bonus, put a couple of bucks in your pocket.

Overwhelmed by the mere idea? Hosting a garage / rummage / yard / tag / sidewalk / block sale is easy if you know a few simple tricks.

Preparing for the sale…

So, you’ve gone through your apartment and you have a pile of unwanted items that you’re ready to get rid of. Great! And…you’ve decided that you’re ready to host a garage sale. Super great! But…and I’m going to be blunt here…don’t bother having a sale if the majority of your stuff is junk! It’s okay to have one box of miscellaneous power cords, but if that’s all you’ve got, there’s no point in trying to sell it to people. Be realistic about the value of your stuff.

Alternatively, don’t have items that you’re hoping to get a lot of money for. A yard sale isn’t the place for that heirloom tea set that you’re hoping to sell for $300. I once went to a yard sale hosted by an art collector who was looking to sell vintage paintings for $350 and up. While I have no doubt that the paintings were worth that much, a yard sale is an inappropriate venue for such high-end items.

Get change beforehand and wear an apron with pockets so you have a place to keep all your hard-earned cash. 

Pre-price as much as you can before the day of the sale. Remember, be flexible with your pricing. You don’t want to bring any of this stuff back into your home!

Gather your neighbours and have an even larger sale. More stuff brings more buyers. Purchase colour-coded price stickers so that you know what comes from what table and/or what seller. This will make it easier to direct the buyers to the appropriate seller so that you can keep your earnings separate.

If you have a collection of plastic shopping bags, this is a great time to reuse them. It’s also a good time to purge your own reusable bags and offer them up when someone buys a lot of items. Collect newspapers for the weeks leading up to the sale to package breakables.

Two days before the sale, place signs at key intersections near your street. Make sure that the important details (what, when and especially, where) are readable, even from a car. Be sure to collect the signs once the sale is over!

The day of the sale…

When you’re merchandising your items, group ‘like with like’. Also, try to place items that are the same price together. For example, put up a sign that says, “All items on this table are $1”. This makes it much easier for buyers to make a decision and it also means that they won’t have to ask you the price every time. I have found this to be especially helpful when I’m having a conversation with a neighbour or in the middle of a sale.

Use a muffin tin to organize small items like jewelry and provide a mirror so that people can see how the jewelry and clothing items will look.

Larger items should be priced individually with tags or stickers. Choose stickers that come off easily. You don’t want people bemoaning your sale as they scrape away stickers from their new treasures. Small Post-it notes work well.

Don’t place anything smaller than a breadbox on the ground. People are far less likely to crouch to pick something up than they are to choose an item from a table. That includes clothing! Always hang up clothing or place it in a box on a table or chair. If you place clothing in a box make sure that all items in the box are the same price.

Don’t host a yard sale alone. Always have a yard sale buddy! You will eventually need a bathroom, snack, or beverage break and it’s way more fun to have someone to keep you company throughout the day.

When the day is done, don’t bring anything back in the house. If the weather is good, leave it at the curb and mark it “FREE”. Whatever hasn’t been taken by the next day, take to the nearest donation bin, give to a friend or put in the trash. 

Happy selling!