Yard Sale Tips and How to Maximize Your Profits

So you have a house full of clutter and unused items that you want to clear out, and you have decided to host a yard sale (otherwise known as a garage sale). This is an excellent way of making some extra cash and a potential gold mine if you have a lot of things to get rid of. However, to maximize your yard sale profits, you will have to be well prepared. If you follow the guideline below, then you should be on your way to having a very successful yard sale.

Time and Date

  • Decide well in advance when you will host your yard sale so that you have plenty of time to prepare and advertise.
  • Saturday mornings are the best time as most people will work during the week, and on Sundays, many people have church commitments.
  • Avoid hosting your yard sale on holiday weekends, as many people will be out of town.
  • Expect the bargain hunters and seasoned yard sale shoppers to be out very early, so plan on opening up at 7am or the earliest your city allows. Expect to be out for four to five hours and be prepared to open at the time you say you will.
  • Take into account what the weather may be like. If you live in an area with severely cold winters, then it may be better to wait for spring.
  • There’s always a chance of rain, so plan on what you will do if that happens, whether it be, bringing the yard sale under the cover of your garage, or providing some other kind of portable cover for your merchandise.

Gathering the Merchandise

A least a few days before your sale, search through your house for the items that you want to get rid of. Make sure that what you are selling does not belong to, or is not wanted by anyone else in your household in order to avoid possible conflict. Set aside an area in your house where you can place all these items and begin sorting them into different categories, i.e. clothes, toys, kitchen appliances, etc.
The more merchandise that you have, the more attractive your yard sale will be to the buyers. Consider asking neighbors, friends, and family if they want to participate and bring their own items to the sale. If they don’t, then maybe they will still have some clutter in their house that they would be happy to get rid of by donating to your yard sale.

Advertising Your Yard Sale

If you are already familiar with how to have a yard sale, you will know that this is a crucial step that determines the sales success. When advertising, be sure to hype up the event and mention some of the key items that will be on offer. Also, make sure to state your address, and date and time of the sale.

  • Word of mouth can have a great affect. A few days before, begin telling everyone you can about the yard sale, and tell them to pass on the word.
  • At least a week before, start listing the sale on Craigslist and Classifieds. Listings are free and can be very effective. Every two days, relist the sale so that it stays near the top of the listing page.
  • Place an ad in the local newspaper or advertising flyer. This may cost you $20 but should pay for itself if you have a good selection of merchandise.
  • If you really want to get serious. Create some flyers. Leave some in local coffee shops, libraries, post offices, grocery stores, church bulletin boards, etc. Use bright colored paper to print the flyers on, as this will stand out more.
  • Finally, the day before, make some handwritten signs, and place them on nearby streets directing people to your yard sale. Writing must be large, and clear enough to be read by passing drivers. Don’t forget to state the house number on the sign.

Yard Sale Permits

Some cities will require that you obtain a permit if you want to have a yard sale. Make sure to contact your local officials ahead of time, and purchase a permit if it is deterined that you need one. Permits will costs anywhere between $5 and $20. The violation penalty for not having a required permit can exceed $130.

Setting Up

  • By cleaning up your merchandise, you are certain to increase your profits.
  • Purchase some sticky labels and mark everything with a price. Many people will be put off if items aren’t priced.
  • Another great yard sale tip is to mark everything at 10% more than you would like to get, this way you have room for haggling. Make sure you are being realistic with the price though.
  • Have your prices ending in odd numbers. An item selling for $9.95 is much more likely to sell than an item for $10.
  • Consider having some bargain boxes for the cheaper items. You could have a dollar item box, or a 3 for $5 box.
  • When it comes to setting up, make sure that as much as possible is displayed at waist level. Many people will be put off by items scattered around on the floor.
  • Keep the different categories of items in separate areas and have everything displayed in a neat and orderly fashion.
  • If you are selling clothes, try to find somewhere that you can hang them from.


For a super amazing yard sale, consider selling sodas, coffee or lemonade along with some cookies or candy. Not only will this make your yard sale a lot more attractive to the buyers, it will also make you some extra money.

More Ideas for a Successful Yard Sale

  • Prepare yourself with a lot of change. Lots of $1 bills and plenty of quarters will be especially useful… you will certainly need it.
  • Don’t do it it alone. It is always better to have someone helping you. At times, yard sales can become hectic and crowded.
  • Be friendly and helpful to your customers.

Final Clear Out

Towards the end of the sale, you will be left with the unwanted items. In the final tip to maximize your yard sale profits, put up a big sign, offering everything left over at a hugely discounted price. You may be surprised at how much you make. You have nothing to lose as you might otherwise be throwing the items out or bringing them to the thrift stores.

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