10 tips for the PERFECT Yard Sale

If there is one thing that I do consider myself to be a PRO at, it’s yard sailing. Almost every Saturday morning from 7:30–10am, I’ll be on the road scoping out deals. Whether it’s to keep for myself, the house, the kids.. or to resell, there are deals at Yard Sales.

One thing that I’ve learned though is there are some secrets to a GOOD yard sale. I’m going to lay them out here. I’m sure that most of them are common sense but you may want to make your own list for that special day.

But before I start. Check your local by-laws on yard sale rules. You may need a license to have a Yard Sale. I know that is the case in some towns such as Wasaga Beach other tourist towns that are already busy on the weekends.

1. Signage. Signs Signs Signs! First, keep them all the same color. If you are having a sale at 42 xwhyzee street, then be sure to put the address on every sign. Use florescent Bristol board from the dollar store. Ideally, you will also see some kind of post at the dollar store that the signs can be attached too. My favorite is using large boxes with the bristol board on 2 sides pointing in the general direction. Keep it weighted down a few rocks or bucket of junk. It’s great for putting on street corners and stands out. Plus at $1/ea, it’s cheap since it will be disposed of later. By keeping them all the same color, you won’t confuse drivers with other yard sales. AND REMEMBER TO TAKE THEM DOWN WHEN FINISHED!!! When I’m in a bad mood, I’ll find a sign from an old yard sale and show up on their steps at 6:30 on the next Saturday morning asking where the deals are. That really pisses people off. Speaking of signs, I must make good ones because people steal them and then I see them up for other yard sales in a few weeks

2. PLANNING! Start at least two weeks in advance getting stuff ready for the sale. Put it in a pile in the basement or garage and start pricing it. Go back to the dollar stores and get either the stickers that have prices on them already or mailing labels and put the prices on them. PRO-TIP, be sure to ask your neighbours if they want to join in.

3. Be Prepared with small bills and bags. Get about $100 in small bills and change from the bank. $1’s, $2’s, $5’s etc. You’ll need it. Also keep a few dozen old shopping bags around.

4. Do you have enough help? Keep the more pricey closer to the house where you’ll notice if they take a walk. I’ve had yard sales in the past where people actually shoplifted stuff. YES, THEY TRIED TO STEAL FROM A YARDSALE!!! When it get’s busy, you can’t watch everything. Ask your in-laws, your children, your neighbours to help you. Try to wear all matching shirts or get old T-shirts and write “YARD SALE GUY (or gal)” on them so that people know who to approach. Or better yet, wear a fanny pack. Everyone always knows that the fanny pack wearer is the person in charge. That’s a FACT!


5. Speaking of busy, get the family and neighbours involved. Ask them a week or so in advance that if they have anything that they would like to sell to bring it over and PRICE it first. Have them help you sell some items and keep an eye on things. Make sure that if you have kids, that there is someone supervising them.

6. Pick a rain date. Rain isn’t a BAAAAD thing as there will be more attention on your sale if you do have one. Though keep the next weekend open in case the weather turns bad.

7. Tables!! The most overlooked thing in a yard sale. What I tend to use are 5 gallon buckets turned upside down with doors on them. But I also have a collection of them so it’s easy. A blanket on the lawn also works AND deters people from walking on the grass. You can line the side of your driveway with these blankets to keep it somewhat organized.

8. Be prepared to give stuff away at the end. Why are you having this sale? To make money? Or to clean out the house? When I have a sale, it’s to clean the house. When I’m done, what’s left goes straight to GoodWill or the recycling depot / landfill. Printers, phones, books, everything. If it comes out of the house, it’s not going back inside. Keep that thought with you so you don’t become one of those Hoarders that you see on TV.

9. Do NOT OVER PRICE!! Don’t expect to get $50 for something that you spent $55 on two years ago. You know the people, they bought a $300 printer in 2005, the ink ran out and now they want $200 for it yet a new printer is $50 at the local store. In other words, don’t be greedy.

10. Don’t just put out junk. Be somewhat generous and put out items that people will actually want to buy. My last yard sale netted me almost $700 from 7am till noon. That’s $140/hr

11. Be prepared to start early. Put the stuff out starting around 6:30–7 and when you are somewhat organized, then put out the signs. Try to have 2 or 3 people putting out the signs for you so that you can control the yard sale. Give them each 2 or 3 intersections to put the signs up in.

That’s about it. It’s common sense but some of them need to be remembered. Make a list, check it thrice and then go make your coin!

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