8 Tips for a Profitable Yard Sale

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  • If you're spring cleaning, it's a good idea to see if you can make some money.
  • Enlisting the help of your neighbors and pricing your items right can help make your sale more successful.
  • Yard sale profits can help fund your summer adventures or pad your savings account.

Here's how to make spring cleaning more financially rewarding.

It's that time of year when many people take stock of their belongings and clear out older items to make more space in their homes. If you're considering having a yard sale this year, here are eight tips and tricks to make it a success and put some cash in your bank account!

1. Figure out what you can live without

The first step to having a yard sale is to go through your belongings and decide what to get rid of. You can get the whole family involved here by having everyone in your household assess clothing, toys, books, appliances, and other stuff that is hanging around gathering dust. If you haven't used an item in a few years, forgot it existed, and just pulled it out of a closet or your basement, chances are, you don't need it and can safely put it out for sale.

2. Choose the best day or days

Unfortunately, we can't control the weather, so if it looks like rain on the day of your sale, try borrowing an outdoor party tent from a friend. Or stage your sale in your garage (don't worry, these tips still work even if your yard sale becomes a garage sale). Weekend mornings are traditionally the best times to hold a sale, as many people are out and about already. Plus it'll be cooler outside than in the middle of the day. If you have a lot to sell, you may want to plan for both Saturday and Sunday. Try scheduling your sale from mid-morning to early afternoon. If you really have a lot to sell and have the time, start your sale Friday morning.

3. Advertise, advertise

While homemade signs tacked to telephone poles are the traditional way of advertising a yard sale, you could try marketing your sale on your personal social media, too. This will work especially well if you have a lot of local friends and followers who can help spread your message further. If your community has a Facebook page or similar resource, that's another great place to post an ad. Remember to include a mention of what kinds of items you have to offer. For example, kids' toys and clothes will usually sell well, and a mention of these will bring buyers to you.

4. Partner with your community or neighbors

Some communities have a pre-planned yard or thrift sale day. If you can schedule your own sale for the same day, or join a bigger sale being held at a community center or your local fairgrounds, you'll reach even more eager buyers. Or if you have friends in your neighborhood who also want to have a sale, join forces to have them on the same day/weekend, and advertise together.

5. Make your stuff appealing

Wash and iron clothes you want to sell, and display them on hangers on a clothing rack. If you have books, DVDs, or video games to sell, lay them out on a table, maybe by genre. Replace the batteries in kids' toys and small electronics so potential buyers can make sure the items work. If you have small appliances or lamps to sell, running an extension cord out to your yard or garage will serve the same purpose!

6. Price items right

Check out your local thrift store for some guidelines about how to price different items. Another good rule of thumb is to price items at 10% of the retail cost for a new item. If you have a t-shirt that would retail for $20 new, think $2. No, this isn't very much, but ideally you're pricing things to move, and multiple $2 t-shirt sales will add up! If you have new items to sell, you can safely offer them at 25% to 50% of retail. You can also reduce your prices as the day goes on. Try making price signs for a category of items laid out together, so you don't have to individually price everything. And if a buyer wants to haggle, don't talk yourself out of a sale!

7. Set up your yard sale day for success

It'll be a lot easier to set up on the morning of your sale if you have items ready in one place. Set up folding tables around your yard for items, and pick a central location for your cash-out table where shoppers can pay you. Swing by your bank before sale day and take out cash in the form of smaller bills, so if someone pays you with a $20 or $50 bill, you can make change. Personally, I don't often carry cash these days, and I know a lot of other people don't either. So if you're feeling ambitious, you can accept buyer payments through a mobile payment option, too. You'll probably make more money this way, especially if you include in your advertising that you're able to accept cashless payments!

8. Put your proceeds to work for you

Finally, you should make smart moves with your proceeds. Do you have a great summer vacation planned? Add the money to your trip fund. Or you could spend the cash on a needed home repair. If your emergency fund could use some help, especially in light of 2022's spiking inflation rates, add it to that. You'll get even better returns on your yard sale money if you park it in a high-yield savings account.

Use these tips and enjoy the two benefits of a yard sale: clearing out some clutter and making money!

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