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Top 10 Ways to Make Bank at a Yard Sale

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How successful was your last yard sale? Did you feel like you wasted your time? DIY guru Shannon Quimby is here to help you put together and promote a top-notch, money-making sale. You can almost smell the success! Below are 10 steps to make bank at your next yard sale.

1. Gather the Troops

The first step to a successful yard sale is to recruit friends and family. This creates a positive environment, fun times, more to sell, and less stress, which ultimately means better sales. Encourage everyone to bring as much as they can to sell. If you bring stuff to sell, you stay and work the sale. A large inventory visually appeals to those driving by to stop and shop. Plus foot traffic customers could linger longer and buy more.

Shannon's Yard Sale Gals  pile of furniture for a yard sale

Photo credits: Whitney Petretto Photography  and Shannon Quimby

2. Create Roles

Once you’ve gathered the troops, assign roles for each person. Here are some roles and duties.

  • Advertiser: Create flyers and share sale info on social media and yard sale websites.
  • Signage Person: Prior to the sale day, post yard sale signs around the neighborhood. Optional, have a flyer box filled with flyers a couple weeks before the sale at the yard sale location. And remember to take all signs down after the sale.
  • Caterer: Responsible for feeding the crew. Have snacks, lunch, and plenty of drinks on hand for helpers. A morning coffee/hot chocolate order is a great way to start the day.
  • Cashier/Accountant: In charge of all money, cash box and the lead person at the checkout station. Get money for the cash box, keep a ledger of any out-of-pocket expenses for the sale (food for crew, costs for signs), and calculate end-of-day sales for each person.
  • Interior Designer: This person creates all displays and continuously rearranges, fluffs areas, and regroups areas to always look fresh and inviting for constant sales.
  • Fashionista: Pick someone who can put whole outfits together and create yard sale “window displays.” This will increase clothing sales drastically.
  • Muscles and Packers: A couple of folks who can help move heavy and bulky items and assist in loading sold items into customers’ vehicles. And possibly provide home delivery if close by.

complete outfits with accessories from garage sale on display  flier box with garage sale info, balancing on an old rake

Photo credit: Shannon Quimby

3. Get Organized Prior to Sale

It’s important to give yourself time to prepare for your next yard sale. Gather up furniture and home accessories that will help sell your belongings.

  • Tables large and small. You can never have enough tables.
  • Sheets or drop cloths to cover tables. A well-dressed table increases sales.
  • Ladders to display small items. Two ladders with a rod through them to display clothing.
  • Mirrors to allow customers to see how clothing looks on them.
  • Outdoor umbrellas and stands for shade.
  • Easels to showcase artwork.
  • Gobs of baskets and boxes to organize clothing accessories and like-minded small items such as stuffed animals, books, scarves and hats.
  • Clothes racks to organize sizes and styles.

It’s all in the details. Offer simple necessities to secure a sale.

  • Have plenty of bags, tissue and boxes to pack up delicate items and for easy carryout.
  • Shims (small pieces of wood, paint sticks) are a staging secret to level out furniture on uneven surfaces.
  • Batteries, lightbulbs, extension cords and an outlet to plug in any electrical products.
  • Music playing in the background creates a relaxing yet energizing environment.

clothing racks of clothes at a yard sale  display table and chairs with artwork on easel at a yard sale

Photo credit: Shannon Quimby

4. Advertise

If you want folks to know you’re having a yard sale, it’s essential to get the word out. Along with flyers and signs, social media and websites that focus on promoting garage and yard sales are an easy and affordable way to expand beyond your neighborhood. Your own Facebook page or Instagram account are great ways to let your friends know about your upcoming sale. Also, some neighborhoods have their own newspaper. It’s old school, but worth a shot. Listed below are a variety of sites to help you advertise your next yard sale:

5. Signage

When people see your yard sale signs, they need to stand out amongst the others. Use bright colors and most importantly, all signs need to be the same design and say only a few things so when folks drive by and only have a few seconds or less to read it, they can. In big bold letters, write the address, day or days and times. That’s all you need.

lime green and teal yard sale sign with dates times and directions for sale

Photo credit: Shannon Quimby

6. Price and Package

Two key factors for a successful sale are pricing and packaging. Pricing takes time so when you’re ready to let go of something, price it right away and pack it up. And remember, your goal is to price it to sell, not to keep it, so price it low. It’s a yard sale, not a retail store. If you have something that might be expensive (jewelry, artwork or antique furniture) it’s recommended to have it appraised. An easy way to price clothing is to create a price sheet, print out copies and post them near the clothing and have a price sheet at the checkout stand too. High-end clothing can be priced separately and should be hung together on a rack that says, “high end,” so shoppers know to expect items to be a bit more expensive. If multiple people are selling at your yard sale, each person should price and mark their initials on their own price tags. Shannon Quimby would be SQ and so on. This makes it easy for record-keeping of who has sold what.

Packaging saves time because you can group things together. This will also move more product out the door. Plastic bags are great to combine a bunch of small things like pencils, pens, and erasers. Mismatched small toy parts, holiday decorations, crafts and small workshop hardware sorted and seen through plastic also are candidates for group packaging. A visual display of leftover house paint in mason jars is a perfect way to showcase colors and advertise for small DIY projects.

old paint organized on shelves  clothes for sale hnaging on a rack at a yard sale  adult clothing prices  child clothing prices

Photo credit: Shannon Quimby

7. Checkout Stand

The last thing you want is to have people stand in line to pay. Be prepared with a properly stocked checkout stand, have an extra helper to pack up breakables, and never leave money unattended. Here’s a list to have at your checkout stand to help sales run smoothly.

  • Table covered with tablecloth
  • Comfy chair for cashier
  • Umbrella for shade
  • Money box
  • Bags, boxes, and packing paper
  • Sold tags
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Garbage can
  • Cash, change, and receipt book
  • Additional office supplies such as scotch/masking tape, scissors, string, ink pens, safety pins, paper clips, and tape measure.

To increase sales, offer payments through Square© or Venmo© and this fun app called Tally Sheet© to organize and record sales that have multiple people selling stuff.

garage sale money box

Photo credit: Shannon Quimby

8. Display

The best way to make a ton of cash is through proper display. When setting up for a yard/garage sale, think “room vignettes.” Gather all related room items together and display them accordingly. Create a living room, a bedroom, office, playroom, workshop and garden, etc. Put all clothing in one area and make sure to have a mirror nearby. Any small expensive items need to be at arm’s reach away from the checkout stand and fill baskets with a bunch of the same items, like plastic containers in one and socks and belts in another.

Take note of where things are selling quickly. We call this a “hot zone”. If items are selling more in one spot than another, make sure to continuously shuffle and fluff new stuff that nobody is noticing into the hot zone. It’s important to often redecorate spaces. People don’t notice everything through the first walk-through, but if you create a new display, items get noticed and the odds are in your favor, they will sell.

Use an old window screen to attach jewelry. Put big toys, stuffed animals, and objects down low for kids to play with. A happy and engaged child guarantees the parent will stay longer and most likely end up buying the toy that the child won’t let go of. An old ladder is great to display books and a tent canopy frame is golden to hang a ton of clothes. A great tip when using tables or shelving that you don’t want to sell is instead of posting the dreaded NFS (not for sale) on your display piece, post a “I Live Here” tag on it with a smiley face. It’s all about creating a positive shopping experience. And last, always have a “FREE” box. Keep it stocked with items as time passes on.

open sign at a yard sale, bright and colorful  display of vintage items on a table at a yard sale

Photo credit: Shannon Quimby

9. Do It Yourself Projects

Even if you’re not a big DIYer, there are some simple steps you can do to entice customers to buy more of what you have.

  1. Wash all clothing, linens, blankets, towels and fabrics. Best to put everything on a table or hang it within reach. Dumping clothes on a sheet on the lawn, only looks like you haven’t done laundry in a long time.
  2. Clean it, dust it or at least wipe it down. If it’s clean and tidy it sells a LOT faster.
  3. Take things out of their box to display and keep the box nearby to repack it once it’s sold.
  4. Make big red SOLD tags and attach them to large items once sold. It’s a visual attraction that tells customers, you better act quick, because stuff is selling fast.
  5. Check to make sure all electronics, games, toys, small appliances have all their parts. If not, make note of that on the sales tag and reflect it in the price.
  6. And if you do love to DIY, have fun upcycling, repurposing, and redoing projects. The simplest and cheapest way to increase profits is to refresh furniture with paint.

old fence boards sitting on grass  little girl next to a DIY fence board growth chart  old bench  updated bench with yellow paint, quilt and flowers

Photo credits: Whitney Petretto Photography , Shannon Quimby , Heather V. Keeling , and Miller Paint

10. Donate

Remember, the whole reason to have your yard sale is to let go of stuff and put money in the bank. So instead of packing up what didn’t sell and bringing it back in the house, donate it. Here are some charities that accept donations, and some organizations can even come and pick up what you have leftover.

Can’t get enough?

Click here to view past seasons of DIY with InRoads, featuring more money-saving DIY projects.

About the Author

Professional headshot photo of Shannon Quimby Shannon Quimby is an internationally acknowledged designer, photo stylist, television personality, and national guest speaker of home design/styling, salvage DIY and décor ideas. She’s an HGTV alumni and has been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX broadcasts.

Visit shannonquimby.com for more on this DIY expert.

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