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7 tips for hosting a yard sale

By Paula Pant ·
Monday, June 30, 2014
Posted: 7 am ET

Got some unwanted stuff on your hands? Here are seven tips to help you save money by hosting a great garage sale or yard sale this summer.

1. Time it right

Improve your odds of success by hosting a sale from Friday to Sunday in the months of June, July and early August.

Don't choose a weekend that conflicts with any major holidays or local events, such as fairs and festivals. Making such a mistake will cut down on potential traffic.

2. Advertise

Most local papers have a section in the classifieds for advertising garage and yard sales.

You can also advertise for free in local penny savers, on community bulletin boards and on Craigslist. The more you get the word out, the more buyers you will attract.

3. Put up signs

Put up easy-to-read signs at busy intersections near your house. Include sale dates and times, and your address.

Also include directions, such as an arrow that points to your house.

4. Set up a 'cashier' station

Set up a card table and chair (separate from the main tables) where you can take money and mark down which items have sold.

Remember to go to the bank a few days in advance and get $10 to $20 in small bills and coins so you can make change.

5. Set up early

Early birds and diehard frugal folks may hover around your driveway up to an hour beforehand. You don't need to let them in until your official opening time.

However, it is important to have everything ready to go the instant you open for business. You don't want people milling around as you frantically try to set up that last table.

6. Make a good presentation

Group similar items together into attractive arrangements, and make sure they are displayed on clean tables. Do not crowd things together. Borrow tables from friends and neighbors if you need more space.

Clearly mark prices and label anything that may need an explanation. If something is particularly unique -- a rare item, a collector’s item, etc.-- put a special card next to it to entice a buyer.

7. Run a last-day 'clearance'

When you are midway through the last day, slash prices on items that have not sold. Chances are good that the hottest items went within the first few hours of the sale, so you need to give people a little incentive to buy the remaining items.

Paula Pant helps people ditch the cubicle and live on their own terms. She's traveled to 30 countries, owns six rental property units and hasn't had an employer since 2008. Her blog, "Afford Anything," is the gathering point for a tribe that refuses to say "I can't afford it." Follow Paula on Twitter: @AffordAnything.

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Debra James
July 16, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Thank u 4 the info. On yard sales I can help n refer others!

July 06, 2014 at 6:52 pm

Good pointer I'am going to take you advice

July 06, 2014 at 12:53 pm

I should have had these pointers before my last sale. I did everything she said not to do & didn't do anything she said to do. Good grief. Will keep all this in mind for my next one.

Tony Gomez
July 06, 2014 at 12:10 pm

I always play music loudly to help attract more people. I try to make it feel like a very festive event. The music I play is generally rock and roll.

July 06, 2014 at 11:45 am

Whenever I would have a yard sale, I would even have cookies and lemonade for the onlookers and prospective buyers. They seem to like that and sometimes it makes them seriously look to buy. It's fun. Just remember to think ahead of your sale and organize ahead.

art wegweiser
July 06, 2014 at 9:53 am

Label all prices
Put up a sign if you will haggle (or not haggle) "Make an offer!"
Have your kids put up a lemonade stand - at $.10 a cup.
Refuse use of your in house bathroom unless an emergency. Then walk in with them.
Try to arrange for someone to deliver heavy items.
Depending on area, you may need a traffic director to keep things unsnarled.
Don't "hover" but if someone seems really interested in a item, ask if they wish to make an offer.

Ed Smith
July 06, 2014 at 9:08 am

Thank you for the nice pointers...was getting ready to host a yard sale very soon. :)