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10 tips for a successful yard sale

Get rid of all your unwanted junk.

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If you ever wanted to try Marie Kondo’s method of organization, a yard sale is a great way to jumpstart the magic. Think about it: A yard sale gives you the chance to go through all your stuff, set aside everything you can part with, and make a little money while sparking joy in other people. A winning situation all the way around. However, in order to get rid of your unwanted items, you’re going to need a successful sale. Here are our 10 tips to help you achieve blowout status.

1. Get the neighbors to join in

When it comes to yard sales, the more the merrier.

If you can get your whole street or building to join in, economies of scale to come into play. Everything is more cost-effective when you can divvy up advertising costs and share resources like tables, tags, and boxes. Also, more goods on display combined with a wider network of friends and family means greater chances of a successful day of sales.

2. Clean everything

The difference between a diamond in the rough and junk is often grime.

Let’s be real: A lot of the stuff you’re planning on selling has probably been sitting in a box for years. The difference between junk and a hot find could be a layer of dust.

Remember that you’re way more tolerant of your own mess than other people. For hard-bodied items, we suggest just a quick wipe down. Clothes just need a tumble in the dryer with essential oils to get rid of mustiness. Finally, we suggest mowing your lawn before the yard sale. It makes your space more inviting and even fills the air with a nice scent.

3. Organize like a storefront

Take a tip from retail stores about how to organize your stuff.

Millions upon millions of dollars have been poured into researching how to make a good storefront. Why not take advantage of the labors of huge corporations? Here’s what works for them: If displays are set up in a U shape, the natural flow of traffic is to steer to the right first and then move counterclockwise. You can encourage this with a sign or a round table in the middle covered with small items.

Because people tend to turn to the right, the righthand side is frequently known as the power wall in retail design circles. This is typically where the big-ticket items are located. We’d suggest placing furniture here, covered in smaller expensive items. Concentrating your furniture, especially if it's old, will attract the eye of antiquers.

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4. Have a power cord handy

Having a power cord handy will help alleviate concerns about quality.
Credit: Reviewed / Jessa Rose Photography

Having a power cord handy will help alleviate concerns about quality.

Due to a few bad apples, there’s an impression that yard sales contain a lot of broken junk. Having a plugged-in extension cord will help dispel any notions that your electronics and appliances don’t work. So you don’t have to fumble around with multiple, you should get a power cord that has the right amps and gauge to handle anything you plug into it.

5. Display prices on tags over stickers

Tags with string just make everything so much better.
Credit: Brothersbox

Tags with string just make everything so much better.

Don’t ruin an item with a cheap sticker that can be impossible to remove completely—use tags with string instead. They are a little more work, but in the long run, everyone will be happier.

6. Bundle items

A box full of stuff is harder to pass up than individual items.

It’s easy to walk past one DVD for $1, but harder to pass up a whole box for $5. You should also be open to packaging big-ticket items and bringing down the price. Remember, anything you don’t sell has to be stored back inside, so better to move products where there’s interest.

7. Stock up on change

Cash is still king at yard sales, be sure to stock up on change.

Cash is still king at yard sales. Even billionaire Mark Cuban has extolled the virtues of using hard currency to bring down the price of something. So make sure to have plenty of coins and small bills handy. Keep them in a safe place, with one person designated as cashier, to make sure all the money is accounted for throughout the day.

8. Accept digital payment

Accepting digital payment can help smooth certain transactions out.

But let’s be real. Digital payments are too valuable to disregard entirely. With apps like Venmo, you can accept payment without a card scanner, and funds arrive in just a few business days. You can also use the app to promote your yard sale. Remember that Venmo is also a social media network as well as a payment app. You can make posts that people in your contacts can see. Perhaps using Venmo will help you make a few extra bucks on big-ticket items.

9. List items online as well

Posting items on specialty sites like Poshmark can help zero in on people who want your stuff.

A yard sale is as much about the urge to get rid of stuff as the event itself. Use apps like Poshmark to open your inventory up to a virtual market. When one of our reviewers tried it, she was able to make over $1,700 on the clothing she wanted to get rid of. One of the reasons for this is that apps like Poshmark are targeting an enthusiastic market willing to pay more for quality.

10. Pick the right time

We suggest that you start your yard sale around 7 AM.

While you can’t control the weather, consult the forecast to pick a sunny weekend day and no major events happening in town or otherwise that would preoccupy would-be shoppers. Also, we’d suggest starting in the morning—the serious bargain hunters are out on the prowl early to snag the best deals. We'd suggest around 7 a.m. for the optimum experience.

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