Posts Tagged ‘garage sale’

Tips for Throwing a Fabulous Yard Sale

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012


Here are the top 10 tips for throwing a fabulous yard sale:

  1. The first step in throwing a fabulous yard sale is to de-clutter your entire house. Get rid of everything you can, including any pieces of furniture, putting them into your garage. If people drive by your yard sale and don’t see much, they won’t bother to stop. So if you don’t have enough stuff, ask relatives and friends if they would like to get rid of some stuff. My mother contributed to my yard sale, for example.
  2. The signs need to be clear, written with the thickest marker that exists. Find light-colored construction paper, and use your thick black marker to write “Yard Sale” with an arrow underneath. Do this on 12 large pieces of construction paper, all the same color. When someone is looking for your yard sale and they see the same color on the signs, they know that they are on the right track. Tape the construction paper to the side of a box. You will need 6 boxes, which you can get at Costco or any store that stacks boxes to the side. I forgot to say that your arrows should be 6 to the right, and 6 to the left. When taping the papers to both sides of the box, make sure the arrow points to the same location (opposite arrows).
  3. You will put a brick inside each box to make sure your boxes don’t fly away when you put them on the corners of major streets, leading the cars to your house. You might need more signs depending on how far you are from a big road.
  4. Borrow lots of card tables from neighbors and friends. Label the tables on the bottom to make sure you get them back to the right people. The more tables, the better. No one likes having to crouch down to the ground to see your stuff. You will sell more if the items are on tables.
  5. A free-standing iron bar for hanging clothes is ideal, but I didn’t have one, so I improvised. I hung shirts from a long bush along the side of my driveway. Throw away any clothing with stains, because stained clothing causes people to see your clothes as pieces of garbage, and they won’t buy the good ones either. If everything you display looks nice, people will walk up to it and buy some. I sold lots of clothing for $1 each. Most yard sales can’t sell their clothing because they are heaped up on a table, and who wants to weed through a mound of garbage? Not me. If each garment is hanging individually, people will go up and grab them. Put kids’ clothes together, women’s clothes together, and men’s clothes together.
  6. Several days before the yard sale, put up the card tables in your garage. Divide the stuff into sections. Put toys on one (or two) tables, housewares on another table, sheets and blankets on another table. I was selling a lot of sports equipment this time, so one table had sports stuff. (Unfortunately my driveway is a steep incline, so when people picked up the baseball mitts, an avalanche of balls fell down the driveway, and my customers were alarmed. Then they started laughing and running across the street to see who could grab the most balls before they slammed into the front door of the neighbor’s house across the street.)
  7. Now that you’ve sectioned off the categories on different tables, label the tables with the prices. Paperback books should be 50 cents, hard cover $1. If you charge too much for books, nobody will buy them. DVD’s should be $1; CD’s 50 cents. For my sports table, I put “Balls $1, mitts $4 each.” Toys should be marked individually. I hate those sticker labels that ruin stuff and won’t come off the items. I prefer to write the price with a normal Sharpie marker on white strips of paper, taping them to the item with clear Scotch tape. They always come off without ruining the object.
  8. If you have kids, consider having a bake sale, too. When I’m out yard saling with my mother, I always find it charming to buy a cookie or brownie for 50 cents from a kid. My kids baked the previous day, and we sold out of brownies quickly. My kids felt successful. Banana bread can be sold as a loaf for a higher price, $4.
  9. I don’t pay for newspaper advertising, because I don’t want to be forced to have a yard sale if it’s raining, or if I have no energy that day, or if the kids are barfing or sneezing with snot. Nope. Just put up signs the day you feel like doing it. I made over $200 last Saturday at our yard sale and had a steady stream of people. I only had one piece of furniture. I don’t think I would have had more traffic if I had advertised, and feeling trapped by the date is not a feeling I enjoy.
  10. Only have the sale one day. You make the bulk of the money on the morning of the first day. During the afternoon, you are lucky if you make $20. The whole next day, you are lucky if you make $20. For this reason, I always throw my yard sales from 8am to 1pm on a Saturday. This maximizes your time investment. Take the leftovers to Goodwill immediately after the yard sale. Then sit back and count your money in an air-conditioned house, whooping for joy with your children, who realize that they can now go on a short family vacation.

Tips for Shopping at Garage Sales

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010


One of my favorite things to do in the whole world is to go to yard sales. I actually feel the presence of God, so much so that it gives me chills – good chills. I always pray before going, committing to God my needs or wants. I asked for a boy jacket with a hood, with a zipper that worked, that was warm enough for snow, in size 8. Lo and behold, the only jacket at the yard sale fit my description exactly. This has happened so many times, and it never ceases to amaze me how God provides for me primarily through this method. I have found so many homeschooling supplies, costumes, toys that look new, craft supplies, and many other bigger items. Sometimes the very thing I wanted to buy for my child for his birthday, I find brand new at a yard sale. Like the time I found a $35 set of magic tricks still in its original plastic for $1. It just makes me want to cry for joy. It’s better than Disneyland because God is with me. Chills, I tell you. There is no other way to explain it.

Tips for Shopping at Garage Sales

  1. The number one thing to remember is to pray. Don’t skip this. This is my best secret.
  2. Go early in the morning. Between 8 and 10 am the best stuff is out. After about 12 noon, it’s not worth going because everything has been picked over, and there’s usually nothing good left.
  3. Church rummage sales (for large churches that have a variety of ages attending) or school yard sales are usually better because the owner is not pricing it. Also, because people are donating to a good cause, like missions or new gym equipment for the school, people sometimes part with nicer stuff. Prices are usually way lower. Also, you can go through more stuff in a shorter amount of time. It’s like going to eight yard sales at once. It’s time efficient.
  4. Drive to a part of town that has richer people. Rich-people yard sales have nicer stuff than ordinary-people yard sales. Name brand clothing for children that has hardly been used has been found by me at such yard sales.
  5. Don’t be afraid to give a lower offer, especially if you are buying multiple items. If I have a huge pile of stuff that added up to $12.75, I might ask to pay $10 and smile sweetly. (Smiling sweetly helps, especially if the person receiving the money is a man.) Also, on one big item, you can usually knock off $5 without hurting anybody’s feelings. Sometimes you can knock off even more. One time I prayed for a slide projector for $20. When I saw a gorgeous slide projector that same day for $30, I kindly asked whether she would take $20. She said yes.

These are just the top five tips that make the greatest difference when yard saling. I sometimes go out with only a bag of coins and nothing else. Don’t buy anything unless it’s perfect for your family. Don’t buy stuff just because it’s cheap. I know people who have lots of yard sale items they bought that they never use, that just clutter up their house. If you set yourself the rule, “Buy absolutely nothing unless it fits perfectly what I need or want,” you are less likely to have a pile of useless stuff. My mother is always amazed when she comes over to my house a few days after yard saling with me, and I’m using everything.