9 Steps to a Perfectly Profitable Yard Sale

4 Minute Read

Ready to get rid of that old crib or closet full of hats? We see a yard sale in your future!

Yard sales are still one of the best ways to turn your unused stuff into cash. But they can get a little stressful. To avoid all that, give yourself a few weeks (or weekends) to prepare for your Saturday sell-a-thon. The more time you have to relax and get organized, the easier—and more successful—your yard sale will be. 

Here are nine must-dos before, during and after your big sale:

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1. Clean it out.

By “it” we mean your garage, basement, attic, closets, cabinets, and under all the beds. A good rule of thumb is: If you don’t dust it regularly, it probably needs a good purge. This serves the dual purpose of A.) seeing what you’ve got and B.) gaining some space to sell from.

2. Organize your items.

As you’re unearthing tennis rackets and plant stands, put them into three basic categories: keep, sell and trash. Don’t worry about pricing anything right now. Just focus on sorting. Once your piles are made, put all the “sell” stuff in a room and shut the door. For now, your main goal is just getting rid of the trash and finding a permanent home for the stuff you’re going to keep.

3. Name your price.

When you have a free afternoon or night, hunker down and start pricing your “sell” items. Be careful not to attach sentimental value to your stuff and overprice it in the process. If you need an objective opinion, ask a friend to come over and tell you what they would reasonably pay for the item.

4. Set a date.

How many times have you said you’d do a big house project and then life got in the way? Prepping for a yard sale is a huge undertaking, so go ahead and do the work before you set the date. That way, you won’t get stressed out trying to meet some self-imposed deadline.

5. Reserve a truck.

Everyone has stuff left over after a yard sale. You will too. If it’s available in your area, call Goodwill or your local thrift store to request a pickup for the late afternoon on the day of your yard sale. Or ask a friend if you can borrow a truck for the evening to haul the items off yourself.

6. Do your marketing.

Don’t overthink your yard sale marketing. It’s a yard sale. But do grab some signs from the dollar store and draw big arrows directing folks to your house. Be sure the path is so simple a first grader could find it! If you want to advertise in the local paper or social media, go ahead. But don’t stress about it.

7. Position your stuff.

The morning of the sale, get up early and move everything into position. Put the big items closer to the street, so people know you’re selling more than Garth Brooks T-shirts and costume jewelry. For everything else, keep it organized and easy to sort through. People like that.

8. Expect negotiations.

Everyone wants a deal. That’s why folks wake up early on Saturday mornings to buy your cast-offs. So give them a deal. Let the customer negotiate, but stick to your guns if the price gets too low. You’re not giving stuff away—not yet anyway.

9. Have a post-sale.

If you still have some higher-dollar items left over, advertise online and see who bites. Stipulate that your buyers must pick up their stuff by the next day, so it doesn’t overwhelm your garage for a week. For the rest of the stuff, give to your local thrift store.

Once you count up all your cash, do a little victory dance. You did it! But before you go depositing all that cash into your emergency fund, use a small portion to thank your kids, spouse, friends, or whoever helped. Milkshakes for everyone!

Whatever your reasons for hosting a yard sale, be sure to not let your profits and time go to waste! In nine lessons of Financial Peace University (FPU), Dave will teach you how to effectively make your hard-earned money work for you in everything from budgeting to investing. Learn more about FPU now.

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