How to have a Stress-Free Yard Sale

How to have a Stress-Free Yard Sale ~ Our Cozy Den

Summer is halfway over, but there is still plenty of time to prepare for and hold a yard sale!

I’ve had many, many yard sales in my day, and they all had one thing in common: I got stressed out beyond belief. The past few yard sales I have held, I adjusted my methods and strategies, and it has helped immensely!

Read how I have changed to make my yard sales easier and more successful!


Old Mistake: Preparing too early 

New Way: No prep until the day before 

Time is money. In the past, I would spend weeks getting ready for a yard sale, then I would be upset when the amount of money I earned didn’t feel like it was worth all the work I put into it. Now, I only prep the day before and the day of the sale. Then when I count my cash, it definitely feels worth two days of hard work. But divided over 3 or 4 weeks, it wouldn’t.


Old Mistake: Throwing all of my yard sale wares in one big pile 

New Way: Sort-as-I-go 

I keep several large boxes in my basement year round. They are labeled: FREE, 50¢, $1, other. Whenever I have things to add to my yard sale pile during the year, I toss it in the appropriate box. When I know I have a yard sale coming up, I will clean each room in my house, one room at a time. I use a laundry basket to gather all of the yard sale items, then at the end of the day I take the laundry basket to the basement and throw the items into the right box.

It only takes about 15 minutes to do a room/closet, so I can usually get my whole house purged in a short amount of time. But since I have the boxes down there all the time, it makes it easy to purge-and-sort all the time, not leaving it all for one big crazy clutter cleaning.

*don’t have a basement? Find any out-of-the-way spot to hold your boxes/bins: attic, garage, attic above the garage, shed, etc.* 


Old Mistake: Pricing items individually 

New Way: Price by table 

Make some nice signs and post them somewhere VISIBLE. (I like to take a large book and prop it open on the table with a sign on both sides of the cover, like a pup tent.)

It’s so much easier to set up this way, I just need to take each pre-sorted box, and set the items on the labeled table. My kids actually do a lot of this work for me!

The free stuff goes on a big blanket in the grass, to put the sale items up higher.


Old Mistake: Putting clothes on a table

New Way: Hanging clothes 

It takes about 30 seconds for clothes to get messed up into a huge mound of messiness. And nobody wants to sort through that! One of my prep things the day before the sale is gathering all the hangers in my house and hanging the yard sale items.

{TIP: If you don’t have a hanging rack to put the clothes on, use two chairs and a broom for a makeshift rack!}

People buy a lot more clothes when they can see at a glance what the item looks like, and it’s much easier to see the size too! If I go to a yard sale and all the clothes are in a big pile on the table, I don’t shop very long! But I will flip through an entire rack of hanging clothes.


Old Mistake: Rely on street signs to bring in people 

New Way: Utilize social media 

The day before, I make a Facebook event for my yard sale. I put up a map with my address, and list several of the items I’ll be selling. I make sure to put the sizes of clothes I’ll have as well, to bring out people that need that size.

Then I “share” the event in all of the local Facebook yard sale groups, as well as my own timeline. I also tag friends who might be interested in items I have (people with kids who might need my clothes, homeschoolers if I’m selling curriculum, etc.)

The day of the sale, I post TONS of photos of all of my items in the event page. I specify that I will NOT hold items, the photos are for information only.

Figure out what social media your area uses: Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat — use tags with your city name to help people find you! {Like this: #Findlay #OH #Ohio #FindlayOH #FindlayOhio, several combinations!}  And ask your friends to share — many of them would be glad to help you out!


Old Mistake: Leaving too much work for the day of the sale 

New Way: Minimal morning-of prep

When I wake up the day of the yard sale, a lot of my work is done for me:

-my items are all sorted by price
-my clothing is all hanging on hangers
-my sale is posted on social media
-I have already made signs for my tables, as well as the street

So all I need to do to set up is:
1.) Set out tables. Task kids with arranging items on tables.
2.) Put out hanging clothes and any large individual items like strollers, big toys, etc.
3.) Put signs out by the nearest busy streets, with directional turn signs if needed.

After the sale has started:
1.) Post photos in Facebook event or other social media.
2.) Throw a square of masking tape and a price on large items. This takes maybe 2 minutes to do all of them. If somebody is interested in the item before I have it priced (which rarely happens), I can just tell them.

This year, I got the whole thing set up in under an hour. It was by far my most successful and stress-free sale yet, and I did it with my husband away on military duty, so absolutely no help with sale prep or childcare!


Have any tips to add?

I’d love to hear what makes YOUR yard sale more successful and stress-free!

How to have a Stress-Free Yard Sale ~ Our Cozy Den
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2 thoughts on “How to have a Stress-Free Yard Sale

  1. Gloria says:

    I found people asking if I’d take less than what my sticker price said so often that I turned the tables on them. Nowadays, I paint a big sign that says “make an offer” and put it in a visible area. It’s a fun social experiment. Some people insist I tell them a price, and they’re happy to pay. Others lowball everything, and I’ll laugh. When THEY get to name the price, though, it saves me time, and really keeps things interesting.

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