Collect your inventory: If you don't love it or use it, lose it. Walk through your home with packing boxes in hand and decide what goes. Get kids involved by letting them keep whatever they earn from selling their old toys and clothes, or plan a fun family activity with the total proceeds.
Spread the word: Place a classified advertisement in your newspaper and post listings on local websites. Mention big-ticket and “hot” items such as toys and sporting goods in your ads to stir up interest. Also, place a “Yard Sale” sign at the nearest major intersection to capture drive-by traffic and post additional signs with arrows to point the way home. To get your sign noticed, write in black letters on brightly colored card stock.
Price to move: If you're not sure what to charge for items, take your cue from other yard sales. Use black marker on easy-to-remove blue painter's tape to price everything. If you've got a large collection of like items, such as books or CDs, place them together in a bin and hang one price tag on the container (“Paperbacks, 25 cents”). Toss odds and ends and anything not worth selling into a box with a “Free” sign. Once the sale starts, remember, it's better to sell low than not sell at all, so if people are walking away without buying, lower your prices.
Organization is key: Hang and sort all clothing by type (men's, women's, or shirts/pants), have a mirror handy if you're selling accessories and plug in a power cord to test electrical devices. Most importantly, have enough space to display things properly.
Move your stock: Have enough coins and bills to make change for at least three $20 notes, and carry money, along with a calculator, in a fanny pack or apron for quick sales. Also keep a stack of newspaper on hand for wrapping fragile items. When business starts to slow, close up shop and drive all remaining items to the nearest donation place. Take down your signs on your way.
— Donna Smallin, professional organizer and author of “A to Z Storage Solutions”
“Creative signs always grab my attention! Serve refreshments — cookies and lemonade or free coffee and donuts — to bring in a crowd! Be sure all items are clean and neatly arranged. Play a CD of instrumental music during your yard sale!”
— Charetta Walls, 54, Greenville
“SIGNS, SIGNS, SIGNS! I can't tell you the number of floppy, runny signs with not enough information I've seen people drive right by! Use a fixed material that the morning dew won't affect (I bought plastic signs from a home improvement store and tape over my old address), use PERMANENT marker with a thick tip, if you're making your own sign write ‘yard sale' on it, use directional arrows and put your street address on the sign. Now here's the most important test! Lean your sign against your house and walk away — maybe 20 feet and see if you can read it! If you can't read it, drivers can't read it. Make your letters thicker and this should improve the readabilty of the sign. AND don't forget, the purpose of this affair is to SELL your items not keep them. Price your stuff accordingly. If I drive by a yard sale at 10 a.m. and there are a lot of large items still out, you have them priced too high. My rule of thumb, if they pick it up, they are going home with it! A thing is only worth what someone else will pay for it!”
— Erin Pierce, 42, Grimesland
“Sell cheap — most prices under $10. Sell in bulk or make a deal by the bag and items will go quicker. Make deals: remember you want to get rid of everything, any money made is more than you had and the items are gone forever to be better used by someone else, I sell out every time.”
— Hilda Teel, 57, Greenville
1. Create some bright signs displaying your location, time, etc., and post around busy intersections.
2. Don't price your items too low. People love a bargain and you will need some bargaining power.
3. Group similar items together. Sometimes shoppers will buy everything you have in a group if they are placed together. If you have tops that match skirts or slacks, place them together.
4. If items are not selling, move them to another area in your yard.
5. Our 8-year-old grandson came over and sold cups of lemonade. People stopped by just to get a cold cup of lemonade from a child.
— Susan Leggett, 52, Greenville
“I start by making everything very neat and on hangers. I never put prices on any item. They ask how much, I say how much you want to pay? You will be amazed at how quickly you can sell your items, and each time I sold almost everything.”
— Theresa McKoy, 53, Greenville
“My daughter and I love looking in Friday's edition of The Daily Reflector and checking out the Yard Sale section and mapping out the ones that interest us, then getting up early on Saturday mornings to go look for treasures. She got a great deal on a weed-eater. Reflector ads are great and, of course, signs are a hugh help. Signs need to be large with large print, they are hard to read going down the streets and plus if the wind is blowing they bend making it difficult to read. Also, adding the street number is a great help that way I can use the GPS on my phone to help find it. Always remember yard-salers are looking for bargains, so be ready to haggle. I have found some great items, books, tables, artificial flowers and clothes. Remember one person's junk is another's treasure.”
— Mary Sue Gooch, 56, Bethel