Yard Sale 101

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You’ve scoured your house and conquered the clutter. Now what to do with the piles of unwanted gear? Have yourself a Simply Sorted Yard Sale!

Here’s how:

  1. Pick a clear weekend and save the date and the day before for prep. (Avoid holiday weekends) Garage sale groupies come at the crack of dawn so start your sale as early as you can and plan to wrap up by early afternoon.
  2. Advertise the sale by posting date/time/location on Craigslist.org, Facebook.com and any other social media sites you like. Spring for a newspaper ad in your local paper as well. Write a few catchy sentences highlighting great deals or unusual items to attract buyers.
  3. Organize your sale items in a large clear space in your home.  In preparation for the big day it is always helpful to sort things by category (electronics, books, furniture, clothing, etc.) so they are ready to lay out neatly for your sale.
  4. Decide on easy and attractive pricing – Make all books $1 or all electronics $15. This will encourage people to snatch things up and buy more! Remember people go to garage sales for a deal – Sell pricier items in advance of your sale on Ebay.com or an auction house or pawnshop.
  5. Invite friends and family to come help you set-up and sell in exchange for good company, snacks and beverages. People can be easily lured to help if you offer up quality treats!
  6. Setting Up: Arrange like items together in organized groups – i.e. all kids toys, games and books together, all electronics together, etc. – Lay clothing and jewelry flat on a large tarp or blanket so people don’t have to rummage through your stuff to view it. Consider propping up a large mirror if you are selling a lot of clothing and accessories.
  7. Day-of Tips: If it is a hot day consider selling iced-cold lemonade; for cold days offer hot chocolate in disposable cups and warm donuts. When making change leave the customer’s bills out in view until after you have given them their change. Offer bags or boxes to people who buy multiple items.
  8. Line up a Salvation Army pick-up for the next day so you can ditch the unwanted items for good. Call 1-800-SA-TRUCK (1-800-728-7825) to discuss a free pick up of your clothing, furniture or household items or to find out the nearest drop off location bin. Alternately, you can donate to a favorite charity or person in need


  • Large signs + staple gun or tape to advertise the sale in your neighborhood.
  • Several large tarps and/or blankets for setting up smaller items and clothing
  • A cash box or money belt
  • Lots of small bills ($1’s and $5’s) to give change
  • A calculator for adding up multiple purchases
  • Old boxes, bags and newspapers for fragile items and big sales
  • Large cardboard box with a “FREE” sign for broken or stained items
  • Beverages and snacks for yourself and your helpers
  • Lemonade, cookies, etc to offer or sell to customers
  • Ipod or music system
  •  A card table for music, snacks, etc.
  •  Folding chairs for you and your garage sale buddies to recline in when it’s slow

Photos by Hedy MacferranPhotos by Hedy Macferran

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