I remember years ago when I hosted my first yard sale. The neighborhood was hosting a big event where you can go between driveways to shop, making it the perfect opportunity to clear your home of unwanted items once and for all. My girls were excited and ready, because with yard sales meant a lot of fun, like lemonade stands, learning about money, earning money, and finding new homes for old things. I had organized all of our items into boxes, did an insane amount of decluttering (okay, a little more than usual), and what happened? It rained.
Image Source: Sarah Sherman Samuel
Having spent so much effort preparing for the yard sale, all I wanted to do was load up my car and say “forget it” and drive the items over to the donation center. But, my girls were really looking forward to the experience of the yard sale, and there was part of me that started feeling guilty that I wasn’t going to get cash for large amount of items that were no longer needed.
So, I rescheduled the sale for the next weekend. Sure, it meant that I would have the items in my garage for a week longer than I had planned, but with a new date in sight I was motivated to do one more pass through my home to see if anything else should be added to my sale racks.
The thing about yard sales (whether they get rained out or not) is that they encourage you to take a look at your stuff with the intention of finding things to let go of. Are they a huge money maker? No. But, taking the time to weed through your home will result in less clutter in your life.
The day of the sale was a success. Of course, I didn’t make a ton of money, but I did make enough to justify the experience. It was the motivation that I needed to comb through everything that I own and get rid of what I no longer needed or wanted. Plus, my girls had making batch after batch of lemonade, and at the end of the day we selected a charity to donate our earnings from the day.
Understanding that yard sales can be a big undertaking, below are my tips that will help you prepare for your yard sale so that you get the most out of your efforts.
HOW TO GET ORGANIZED FOR A YARD SALE
- Set up the yard sale to feel like you are going into a store. It should be easy for people to buy because items are clearly categorized.
- Clearly label prices. If you like negotiation, go for it. Negotiation can be part of the fun. However, promise me, even if the prices are clearly labeled, your favorite frugal customers will want a better deal, and you have to act! Labeling prices will give you a starting point for negotiation. And it is all about getting the clutter out.
- Set up your donation pickup ahead of time. That way, items that didn’t sell won’t end up coming back into the house! Remember, the point was to rid yourself of clutter, not supplement your income. Earning money from a yard sale can be fun, but the detox and declutter (did I mention free space?) is exhilarating!
- Be organized with your advertising ahead of time, especially if you plan your own yard sale! Take full advantage of social media and neighborhood email lists to spread the word!
- Check your storage unit/storage spot for sale opportunities. Why pay someone to store your possessions that you aren’t using? Storage units are pricey, regardless of the unit size. Sort the contents in categories: keep, donate, trash, or sell. Any items put in the "sell" pile should go home with you at the end of the day with the intention of adding them to your sale.
- Get the whole family involved. Yard sales are a great way for kids to get experience categorizing items, earning money, negotiating, and working with others.