It’s that time of year again! Spring cleaning is done and it’s time to offload some of those obsolete items to make way for the lightness of summer. It’s the perfect time to host a yard sale! Kristin Evans is a pro, and here she shares her best garage sale tips to make sure you have the most successful garage sale you’ve ever had.
Holding our annual yard sale has grown to be one of our family’s favorite summer activities. This may seem like a strange statement because yard sales usually equal lots of work. Yet we have found that the process of preparing for and managing a yard sale can be a healthy exercise that doesn’t have to overwhelm!
When our family remembers last year’s sale, we smile—not just because we all earned a small profit and our house looks less cluttered, but because we pulled together as a team and made the event enjoyable for all.
Almost 20 years, 24 yard sales, and one estate sale later, we have discovered several fun and practical hacks. Consider trying our 10 tips to plan the best yard sale you have ever had.
1. LABEL TWO BOXES
Pick one closet or room to go through. Grab two boxes and name one ‘Yard Sale’ and the other ‘Thinking about it’. As you sort, place the items you find in their respective box.
This simple tool takes the pressure off of making difficult decisions in the moment and can be especially helpful for children. As soon as your children are old enough to make choices about their toys, you can guide them in this process by defining how many items need to go into the sale box.
When my son was 2 years old, he refused to let go of anything, but through the years, he has learned how to release those things that he really no longer enjoys or needs.
2. CREATE FAMILY FUN
Get creative and find ways to turn the sale into a team event. Everyone can wear the same t-shirt or the same color shirt.
Prepare a favorite lunch ahead of time, or order your favorite takeout.
Assign jobs such as Greeter, Cashier, Stock Reorganizer, etc. Having a defined role can give children a sense of mastery and make the day more exciting.
Our 11-year-old daughter is a social butterfly and loves greeting everyone as they walk up to the sale. Our son began counting money long before being taught at school. Now at 14 years old, he still claims the checkout station every year.
3. PLAN A PRICING PARTY
Bring boxes into the family room, turn on some music, hold up items, and have everyone yell out a suggested price. In general, price brand new items at 65%-75% of the original value, used items that are in very good condition at 50%, and used items in okay condition at 25%.
Make sure to price everything, or it likely will not sell. Also, be sure to have a stash of change ready for the morning of the sale.
4. DECORATE SUPPLY APRONS
Purchase waist aprons with pockets online or at a craft store. Then enjoy decorating your aprons with fabric paint or permanent markers. These aprons will hold important items right at your fingertips including price stickers, permanent markers, tape, cash change, and your cell phone.
5. MAKE SIGNS & ADS
Have fun making signs or filling out purchased ones. Prepare lots of signs, one for every turn to your house, highlighting the hours of the sale. Put the signs out two to three days early, and then hang balloons on the signs early in the morning the day of the sale. Advertise online through Facebook Marketplace and local yard sale groups.
6. OFFER POPSICLES & SHADE
If summer is hot where you live like we experience here in Nashville, you will benefit from making your customers and yourselves more comfortable.
Set your tables up under trees or shade canopies, and have camping chairs and fans blowing on you at the checkout table. Consider helping the kids sell bottled water and popsicles or cookies and lemonade.
7. ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE!
We have found that the more organized the sale looks, the longer people browse and purchase. Take everything out of boxes and arrange the items by theme, making sections for kitchen items, toys, kids’ books, other books, electronics, crafts, holidays, etc. Secure all pieces of toys and other sets in plastic bags. The kids will have fun sorting; it feels like a puzzle!
8. DISPLAY KIDS’ CLOTHES
Over the years, I have learned to organize like a consignment sale. Set up a square shade canopy and hang clothes on the bars on each side by gender and in order of size and season. Hang as many items as possible.
Then place other items in clear plastic bins with large printed signs. For example: “Boys Size 4 Pants—$2 each.” Line up shoes and accessories next to the clothes.
9. GIVE QUALITY DONATIONS
Consider donating all the items that don’t sell. For years, I had difficulty donating nice and expensive items, planning to put them in the next sale.
But three years ago, I made the decision to donate everything that still remained after our sale. I realized that charities need nice items, not just our worn-out leftovers.
Prior to the day of your sale, research which donation centers will be open afterward. Say a short prayer as a family for the people that these items will be going to.
10. WATCH FOR TEACHABLE MOMENTS
Look for moments that you can use to illustrate a lesson.
Opportunities have naturally arisen for my husband and I to shape our son’s and daughter’s personal and spiritual growth. Through experiencing new social interactions, they have met people from many backgrounds, which has prompted them to ask questions and be interested in making friends from diverse groups of people.
They have also learned the importance of working together as a family, even when we have all been hot and tired. Debrief the experience as a family, discussing any important spiritual, character-building, and life lessons.
Then after all your hard work, do something fun and relaxing to celebrate—maybe even spend some of your profits together!
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Great tips to remember when I do my next yard sale! I can get overwhelmed with all that I have to do for the sale. I forget to make it a fun family event and teachable moments. Thanks Kristin for pointing out how to have fun while working as a family.
Thanks for sharing about your experience. I hope that these tips help your family have more fun the next time you host a sale! Blessings! Kristin
Wonderful article with a wealth of practical tips from one who clearly knows the ropes!
Thank you, Randy! Maybe other families will enjoy a really successful sale!
Excellent ideas! Thank you for sharing! I never really thought about how to include kids in the actual sale, just the sorting process.
Thank you for your response! Good luck on your next sale! I hope that it can be a fun and bonding experience for your family.
Kristin, I love the apron idea! I never would have thought of that!
I’m so glad you like the idea! I hope adds fun!
#9 is the one thing I did with my friends when we finished our combined garage sale. Right after we put everything in the cars, including my van, that was left over, we would take it to Salvation Army or another thrift store that some of our friends work at. And then we’d go out to lunch. A fun eventful day for us.
Robbin, That sounds like a great way to help others and celebrate! Thank you for reading and sharing! Blessings! Kristin