11 Yard Sale Tips to Turn Clutter into Cash

Are you looking for extra income ideas? We could all use some smart strategies to make more money, and one easy and popular way to do this is by having a yard sale. A yard sale is a good way to get rid of old stuff, make extra income, and free up space in your garage or home. While the benefits are obvious, there is also a lot of hard work involved in planning a yard sale. If you’re going to put in the work, make sure to follow these simple yard sale tips so you can make more money.

11 Yard Sale Tips Revealed

So here they are—our 11 yard sale tips. Tell us your favorite in the comments below.

Advertise. Be sure to post details about your yard sale on a free online listing service, like Craigslist or GSALR. It’s free (and easy) publicity. See if your local newspaper or community newsletters have free or cheap listings, too.

Also, make signs to your yard sale and post them in logical and visible areas. Do you live near a major road with a lot of traffic? Put a link of signs that people can follow all the way to your house. Of course, know the laws about where you can post signs, and don’t go on other people’s private property. Make signs that are durable and can withstand wind, and set them up one or two days in advance (weather pending).

Pick a good weekend. Don’t host your yard sale on a holiday weekend, since many people will be out of town or doing other things.

Plan for Parking. Of all of our yard sale tips, this one is probably the most overlooked. Evaluate if your home can accommodate a large volume of extra cars. Is there room for people to park? You can use cones or rope to keep people from coming into your grass or other areas you want to keep safe from traffic. Don’t allow your yard sale customers to park in neighbor’s driveways or yards without permission. If you really can’t support the extra traffic at your yard sale, consider joining a community yard sale instead.

Check your pockets. If you are selling clothes, go through all pockets to make sure you don’t have any cash or important information in them. Check other nooks and crannies in boxes, books, etc. You don’t want to accidentally give away something valuable or something with important financial information. Don’t let your yard sale lead to you becoming a victim of identity theft!

Price items in advance. This might just be the most important of our yard sale tips. If you don’t price items in advance, things will get complicated. You will have to tell people a price on EVERY single item. You will be put on the spot and might be hesitant (“umm, 50 cents…25 cents…umm?”). The problem here is that you might end up selling your stuff for less money. Prices can be flexible, but label each item clearly with the total you hope to receive for it.

Follow the rule of thirds. As a general rule, it’s good to get about one third of the retail value for an item. At most yard sales, though, this isn’t possible. Consider your items objectively. Cheaper prices often lead to selling more of your items, which might equal more money over the course of the sale. If you have items that you think are really valuable and should sell for more money, sell them on ebay or another online marketplace.

*Some items, especially clothes, are infamous for being poor sellers at yard sales. If you know an item is a tough sell, ask a low price.

Have plastic bags and newspaper. Having these on hand will allow you to wrap any breakable items and will make it easier for people to carry stuff back to their car. Good customer service never hurts, not even at a yard sale.

Set up an extension cord. You want customers to buy your electronics, so you need to let them try the appliances. Don’t let people go in your home. Instead, run an extension cord outside that people can use.

Guard the money. Keep track of the money throughout the day. Wear a fanny pack or have a box that ALWAYS remains with one person working the yard sale. Also, be sure to prepare by having lots of change available. And, don’t accept checks. Your yard sale should be cash only.

Yard Sale Layout
Make an eye-catching layout for your yard sale items.

Use creative selling strategies. Lay out your items in a way that is creative or visually appealing. This will make things look more “buyable” and might even help convince more people to stop by. Later in the day, consider bringing down your prices and get creative. Offer people discounts if they buy multiple items. When it gets to be really late in the day, make an offer to “fill up a bag for $2” and give bags to the customers.

Get tax information when you donate. If you donate the items you don’t sell, be sure to keep track for tax planning purposes. Make a list of the items and their estimated value, and keep the receipt given to you by the thrift store or organization. Doing this will help you pay less at tax time.

Yard sale tips like these will help you generate extra income at your sale this summer. If you are going to go through the work of setting up a yard sale, don’t let it go to waste—make it the best yard sale possible. Using these yard sale tips should make it worth your while.

Keep in mind that there are a lot of extra income ideas you can try this summer. We will be talking about more extra income ideas in the coming weeks, but a credit counselor can give you a free budget review and make an action plan to help you maximize your income. If you’re ready, talk to a counselor about extra income ideas today.

Thomas Bright is a longstanding Clearpoint blogger and student loan repayment aficionado who hopes that his writing can simplify complex subjects. When he’s not writing, you’ll find him hiking, running or reading philosophy. You can follow him on Twitter.

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