We are all amazed at how much we accumulate over the years. It just happens. Whether you’re selling your home soon, or just want to clean out the house, a yard sale is a great way to purge your home of some of that “stuff”.
We put this page together to help you plan, and put on a successful, stress-free yard sale. Preparing for your garage sale enables you to focus on your customers and minimize any potential chaos.
Choose A Date
Take out the calendar. Make sure you pick a date that’s not a holiday, or significant to your family (your kid’s school play, etc.). Also, make sure that the days leading up to that date are relatively free. You’re going to need a little prep time on those days.
You can take two different approaches to pricing:
1: Color Coded Pricing
You can have a color coded key that assigns each color a particular price (yellow sticker = 50 cents, blue sticker = 1 dollar, etc.). You can use a certain color to designate these items “priced as marked”. If an item doesn’t have a tag, it would mean buyers can make you an offer.
With this method you can save a bit of time by just placing color stickers on your sale items. Just make sure you have a nice display at your sale that explains the pricing structure based on the color stickers.
2: Individually Priced
You can also get blank stickers or price tags at any major retailer or office supply store. As you’re going through the items you decide to sale, you would place the tags/stickers with the price you decide.
* No matter which system you use, consider including a brief description of the item so the tags can’t be moved around.
Items You Will Need To Prep For Your Yard Sale
- Stickers/tags for pricing items (blank, color)
- Sticky notes (put them on items that need explanations)
- Sandwich bags (for grouping small or similar items into bundles)
- Cleaning Materials
Yard Sale Time Line
A Week Before Your Garage Sale
Advertise Your Sale Online. You definitely want to put an ad on Craigslist. It’s the de-facto site, however there are other sites you should post your sale on. Take a look at the following:
– Your local newspaper
– Patch.com – your local edition (San Mateo Patch – http://sanmateo.patch.com)
Collect Display Tables. You’re going to need tables to display items. Having tables will be especially helpful for smaller items. If you can, get cheap table covers from the dollar store. It’s a nice touch, and helps highlight the items for sale.
If you have a significant amount of clothes, it might be good to display it on a clothes rack. You can find somewhat affordable ones at the big box stores. If you’re thrifty (and so inclined), here is a link to instructions on building one yourself.
Clean Out Your Garage & Yard. Designate where you will be placing your items. Will it be in your garage, driveway, yard, or a combination? Once you’ve decided, make sure that space is clean and not cluttered. Items that won’t be for sale should be removed.
Separate your items into different departments so that those who are just looking for teenager clothes or toys or sporting goods know exactly where to go. Also, make sure people will have enough room to navigate the aisles and easily reach tables. You definitely don’t want people to feel cramped in your garage, so take some time to position your tables in a way that allows the most room possible.
Price Your Items. Whether you decide to individually price items, or use a color coded system, putting price tags on your items will benefit both you and the buyers. Most shoppers would rather know what you’re asking for an item, and only about one-third of those will try to talk you down on the price.
Make Your Signs. Nothing is worse than when you drive by a garage sale sign and can’t make out what it says. The more professional your sign looks, the better off you’ll be.
When creating your signs, make sure the font size is large. A good tip is to drive by where you’ve posted the sign to make sure it can be easily read.
We’ve made it super easy for you. At the bottom of the page are sign templates you can download.
The Day Before/Day of the Sale
Cash Is King. You’re going to need cash to make change for buyers. Depending on how you priced your items, you’re mostly going to need quarters and dollar bills. Also, it’s a good idea to assign a specific person as your cashier.
Put Your Signs Up – Direct The Masses To Your Home! Take the beautiful signs you’ve made and start putting them up in public. Your goal is to direct people from heavily trafficked areas to your sale. You want to make sure they’re clearly visible to people driving. If you can, put your signs up the night before – one less thing to worry about in the morning.
Have Your Meals/Snacks Prepped – Stay Fueled! The day of the sale will be crazy. Have breakfast and lunch available for you and your helpers. You don’t want anyone getting cranky due to lack of food!
We’ve put together some templates that include yard sale signs, price tags, sold tags, and more. You can download it below.