Tips for holding a successful yard sale

Feb 20, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

Hosting a yard sale offers several advantages. You can earn extra money, cut down on clutter within your home, and meet and mingle with other members of your community.

Woman holding garage sale sign

So clear out your closets, collect your kids' unused toys, and check out the following tips. These guidelines will help you prepare for the yard sale and ensure that it's a success.

Advertising the sale

The first step to hosting a successful yard sale is to entice people to come to it. Jonathon Papsin, chief executive officer of Tag Sell It, Inc., suggests getting creative when advertising your event. For example, he recommends posting your event at or, announcing the event in newspapers and on social media websites, and posting signs where permitted.

In addition, it's important to be strategic about what you say in your yard sale advertisements and announcements. Alison Risso, who has hosted her own yard sale, says, "Don't advertise used clothes, books or toys. They're a given and people won't make a special trip to your yard sale for them. Talk up furniture and anything cool and different."

Pricing items

Stacey Agin Murray, a professional organizer in New Jersey, recommends creating a consistent yard sale pricing system. "This makes the selling easy for you and the buying easy for your customers. Purchase colored removable labels. Designate each color to be a different monetary amount. For example, blue equals 25 cents, red equals 50 cents, etc. Use white labels to write in prices higher than one dollar."

Murray further suggests tagging the items with stickers before the yard sale begins and displaying signs that specify how much money each colored circle is worth.

Displaying the goods

Don't scatter items haphazardly across tables or throughout your lawn. Instead, Murray suggests grouping items into categories. "If a customer is looking for toddler toys and they're all in one place, it's very likely that they'll buy more since everything they need will be right in front of them," she explains.

Risso further advises keeping items off the ground and out of bins. Instead, she recommends placing tarps under furniture, hanging clothing and using tables. "People do not buy things that look or feel like they've been discarded. Don't make folks dig through boxes. Borrow as many folding tables as you can from neighbors and make things easy to browse," she explains.

Offering demos

Be prepared for people who may want to test your items before they purchase them to ensure they work properly. "Have batteries, extension cords and tools handy to assist prospective buyers in their decision-making process," says Papsin.

Enjoying the event

If you appear approachable to prospective buyers and are willing to compromise with them, there's a strong chance you'll be pleased with the results of the sale. According to Papsin, a good rule of thumb is to keep a smile on your face and be pleasant throughout the event. "Remember, the ultimate goal is to get rid of as much stuff as possible, so keep an open mind when it comes to bartering, haggling and negotiating."

If you keep these practical guidelines in mind, there's a great chance you'll host a stress-free sale that will please you and your buyers.

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