Keys to a Profitable Yard Sale

Shopping Savings
on July 16, 2000

Salesmanship, a few tricks, and extra effort can turn a mildly successful yard sale into a profitable, worthwhile endeavor. To help make your sale a success:

  • Collect enough good stuff to make a yard sale worth your time.
  • Advertise in the newspaper and put up signs around your neighborhood. Many shoppers plan their day around the paper, so it pays to be in there, even with a small ad.
  • List specialty items in the ad, such as a footed bathtub, Ping-Pong table, or certain collectibles.
  • Invite friends, neighbors, or family members to participate. Multifamily sales attract more shoppers, and you can share the cost of the ad.
  • Schedule the sale for the first weekend of the month, except during holidays. Thats when most people have extra money.
  • Tidy up your yard before the sale. A well-tended home suggests you have good stuff to sell.
  • Begin the sale earlier than is usual for your area. Shoppers who start at your place will have the most money.
  • Expect early shoppers. No matter what opening time you put in the ad, some will come earlier. Be ready, and make some sales.
  • Make your merchandise look good. Dust and oil furniture, scrub toys and baby equipment, clean tools, and mend all garments. Write the size of each garment on the price tag.
  • Package similar items. Linens sell best when sorted by color and bundled with ribbon, for example.
  • Price your items to sell, and mark them individually rather than setting up a $1- or 50-cent table.
  • Take names and offers on more valuable items. If you ask $300 for a dining room table, ask interested shoppers for their best offer, name, and phone number. You may end up calling them after the sale.
  • Be sure customers know that you will negotiate. Encourage offers.

This article was originally published as Keys to a Profitable Yard Sale on

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