Considering a yard sale this spring or summer? They can sound so enticing; a way to make a few bucks while eliminating some of the excess from your home. But the planning and prep can wreak havoc on your space and make you question if all the time and effort is actually worth it.

I typically have a yard sale every other year or so. I can throw one together pretty quickly and without too much fuss nowadays, but I’ve learned a lot along the way. Here’s what my yard sale-having experiences have taught me.

  1. Don’t wait until the last minute to make signs to post around town. If people don’t know about it, they won’t come to your sale. Likewise, don’t wait until the last minute to place an ad in the classifieds, whether print or online. You don’t want to miss deadlines.
  2. Don’t overthink your signs. Date, time and address are plenty.
  3. It’s okay to have fun with your signs, too. Here is wording I have used on signs in the past: “You don’t want to miss this sale! ”Put our junk in your trunk!,” and “Top Notch Junk for Sale!” Be creative and stand out!
  4. Aprons with a pocket make a fantastic partner on sale day. Keeping change (both coin and paper) in your apron allows you to be a walking salesperson. You are now free to move about your yard sale. As a bonus, that pocket can hold things like a small notebook, good for jotting down your sales (if you are keeping track), and a pen to do the jotting.
  5. Don’t forget sunscreen! You’re going to be outside for quite a while. Do yourself a favor and slap on some SPF 50+ to avoid sunburn.
  6. Welcome the early birds. People love deals. And your sale might just be the one that people can’t wait to check out. Having shoppers at my sale before it was “officially” open used to bother me, but I’ve learned to embrace it. Heck, I even kinda like it. The goal is to sell stuff, after all. Now when people show up early, I feel a bit honored that they thought my stuff might be worth it. I greet them with a smile, let them know that I am still getting set up, but they are welcome to shop. I always ask if they are looking for something in particular, in case it’s not out yet.
  7. Small touches can make a big difference. Covering grubby folding tables with tablecloths or sheets, having newspaper for wrapping breakables, a power source for testing electronics, and placing a basket of small toys to keep kids entertained while adults shop can elevate the look and feel of your sale. The last time I had a yard sale, it just happened to be the hottest day of the summer. Of course, I didn’t know it would be a record-setting temperature when I started planning. To help combat the heat, I bought a few cases of bottled water, filled a cooler with ice and offered free water to my sale-goers. It cost me less than $10 and was well worth it.
  8. Keep your pricing simple. I’m talking quarters here. Pricing items in .50 increments makes it so much easier to add up totals and make change. And speaking of change, if you price in .50 increments, the only coins you need are quarters. It’s a win-win! Also, you don’t need $10’s or $20’s for making change. Get plenty of $1’s and $5’s and you’ll be good to go.
  9. Hang clothes to save your sanity. I have learned to hang as much as possible in an effort to avoid constant refolding. If you don’t have a rack, consider making a simple one using ladders and rope. You can find lots of other ideas with a quick Google search.
  10. When it’s over, it’s over. Box up the remainders and take them to a donation center ASAP. Resist the urge to keep things for a future sale. I struggle with this one every time, but honestly, why store leftovers for another year, or more?

Have fun with it! The yard sale experience can be grueling, not to mention hot, sweaty, and exhausting. But it can also be fun. If, after reading this, you’ve decided to schedule that sale you’ve been thinking about, Go For It!

You can find more tips and a checklist for an awesome yard sale at Savvy Spaces.

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