Yard Sale, Garage Sale, Rummage Sale... it is called by many names and done in many ways, but there are some points that could make yours more successful.  This simile takes on a different meaning currently, with Houston and my family who lives there in mind, but Yard Sale Days hit me like a hurricane!  It is so much easier for me to organize yard sales for others, than to do it is for myself.  The emotions of parting with memories, history and items, that may represent in their most intense representation, times and relationships past or goals and dreams not ascertained can be upsetting and disorienting.   Even after having decided to part with said items, there can be a sizable amount of residual grief and perhaps even anxiety.   Here are some components to the Yard Sale that help me.

The Crew

A Ride or Die Crew, can get through it! 

You must have humor, preferably your entire crew is wired for humor.  Laughing will help you legally release stress during your sale. 

You gotta have brawn...a team of muscles, however small,  to help you shuffle things out to your yard sale "stage" and back in again if it is a two-day thrashing. 

If you are not a tough cookie you need a..."don't f with me, you heard what I said..." kinda person, to deal with the pushy early birds or the occasional over-seasoned haggler. Some of these crew members may overlap.

Photo by {artist}/{collectionName} / Getty Images

Photo by {artist}/{collectionName} / Getty Images

You need at least one tagger, if you have not completed the tagging of items or when you start to discount items.  The tagger is very helpful to have shadow you and create stickers, as people ask for prices on items not yet priced.  If they are experienced they may serve as a person to help remind you that you want to see these items move and your pricing should reflect that desire! 

Your Brinks.  Someone to hold the money.  This can be done by you, but can be helpful to have someone else doing it, allowing you to answer questions when it gets crowded. 

The Positive Friend or Friendly Neighbor, this may be a revolving position throughout the day.  They will keep you company, point out the benefits to shoppers of each item and serve as a shield between you and the shopper, masking the anxiety you may be feeling at the sight your things leaving your home.... 

Cute kids...to sell cookies and apple cider,  or lemonade depending on the time of year. This creates distraction and makes drivers look over and take interest.  Besides what is better than a cool drink on a hot day after shopping for bargains? 


Check with your town to see if you need a permit.

Remove tripping hazards, rake leaves, place delicate items out of the rush of foot traffic. 

Choose a good day.  If you are selling loads of winter clothing, you may want to hold off on the sale until he Fall.  If you are next to a park that has a festival or a big sporting event at a given time, plan it for that weekend.  If your town tends to be packed during the summer, perhaps that is a perfect time to hold your sale.  Regardless, of all of this, remember to check the weather report and have a Plan B.


Talk is Cheap

Advertise in the local newspaper and on the internet (Craigslist, FB groups, community bulletin boards etc.).  If you do not welcome Early birds, advertise that, but even if you do, they seem to still show up!  Just breathe. 

Signage is key, big lettering, bright colors arrows and minimal words. 

Let neighbors know a few weeks in advance. They can spread the word and sometimes you can get several houses involved and attract more traffic.

Setting the Stage

Organize sale items by categories, woman's shoes, women's clothes, toys, men's clothes & shoes, tools, dishes, electronics, etc. This really helps the people coming to look and it helps me with consistent pricing and curb appeal.

If you can tag them ahead of time, do so. Otherwise have your tagger shadow you and hand them items as you declare pricing.  You may chose to price items individually or by a pricing schema, for instance, all books, 50 cents or all sweaters $1.00.  This lessens the risk of you cracking under the pressure of the seasoned yard sale-goers!

People typically feel relaxed and happy at a sale that looks nice.  I once went to a a sale of a beautiful older Swedish woman in town.  She wrapped old cloth napkins or comforters in reused ribbon, used recycled bags to make handmade pretty tags for many items, made certain that items were laundered, stuffed purses with tissue paper, etc.  I try to do some of the same, but certainly do not have the same abundance of time as she did, to do this for myself.   If you have a inexpensive tablecloth to place on the display table that can offer some uniformity and color as well. 

Allow these items for sale the platform to move successfully to homes (OUT of yours and into someone else's) where they can be acknowledged and appreciated. 



Have someone stay with collections of baseball cards, or coins, jewelry and small, more expensive items.  

Change for the bank.  Decide on an amount of money, with which to stock the bank.  You can place it in a cash box, purchased or created. You may chose to keep cash on person in some form (fanny pack, purse or pocket).  Obtain the change before yard sale day, so you do not have to ask people to go get change and risk losing a sale. 

Whenever the bank gets heavy with certain bills, take out the excess and place it in a safe place in the house.  

A counterfeit pen to check bills in denominations of $10 and up.  

Your Philosophy

Remind yourself that you have let these items go.  Allow them to find a new home and bring happiness to others, they have already served their purpose for you.  Clarify for yourself, what your purpose is for having a yard sale.  Is it to make money?  Is it to sell items within a certain price range? Or would you give it away for free just to get it out of your house?  One of the reasons for my garage sale was to get rid of my non-vegan items, so that I could replace them with vegan options and perhaps make a small donation to a charity


 Figure out your purpose (there may be some items that fall under a different rule) and in a tough haggling moment remember your rule and stick to it.   Someone with a stinky attitude may seem a lot better when you remember that you are going to get that huge bookcase that you never wanted out of your basement, to make much needed space!

Good Will

No need to be greedy, promote some good will and it will help the general "feel-good" energy of your sale; considering offering people Deals.  "If you take this and this, I will throw in an extra this..."

A Freebee Box.  I always have a box of free items at the base of the driveway.  Who doesn't love something that is ABSOLUTELY free-no catch.  Often times people will look at these items and relax enough to look at what else is in your sale.  The freebee box keeps kids busy and it makes people feel like they have left with a few bargains!   


Prior to your sale, research places to donate items in your area.  Some of these places will pick-up and some you must drop-off.  I usually plan a two day sale and schedule for pick-ups to occur on Mondays.  Most of these organizations offer tax letters for donations, which can be helpful too.

Hope this get's you started and on your way to a successful Sale Day!