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Six Tips for Holding a Profitable Yard Sale

Turn your old items into cash!

Bunch of used objects in garage with yellow "Yard Sale" sign in front.
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When the weather turns warmer, the need to spring clean takes root. For some, it’s getting their house ready to sell. For others, it’s making their living space more comfortable. Whichever camp you fall into, spring cleaning inevitably leads to a pile of stuff you no longer want or need. For items still in decent shape, you can donate them to charity or you can sell them online, through a consignment store or at a yard sale. If you go with a yard sale, here are six ways to make the most money out of it.

1. Plan It.

As tempting as it may be to get your unwanted stuff out of your house as soon as possible, it doesn’t pay to put on a hasty yard sale. To make the most of it, give yourself enough time to do all the pre-sale tasks described below.

It’s also worth factoring in the weather. Setting the date for an upcoming day that’s forecast to be sunny and pleasant will ensure the most visitors. But since meteorologists can be wrong, it’s also a good idea to have a plan B in case of inclement weather. Decide beforehand whether you’ll hold your sale rain-or-shine, postpone it to a rain date or move it to a covered shelter like a garage or carport.

2. Advertise Your Sale.

The weather isn’t the only thing that determines your sale’s crowd size. People need to know it’s happening if you want them to show up. Spread the word about your sale, including your inclement weather plan, in as many ways as you can, such as:

  • Posting details about the sale on your social media feeds and any neighborhood websites.
  • Placing yard sale signs at the closest major intersection near your home.
  • Dotting streets leading to and in your neighborhood with more signs.
  • Using free yard sale advertising sites such as and
  • Taking out a paid ad in your local newspaper.

If you have a lot of furniture or other in-demand items to sell, specifically mention that in your ads.

3. Ready the Merchandise.

Before your sale, clean all items and fix any repairable parts in order to get the highest sales prices. This includes:

  • Laundering and ironing all clothes.
  • Brushing dirt and dust off of shoes.
  • Making sure toys and games work and have all their pieces.
  • Adding air to bicycle tires and balls.
  • Plugging in small appliances, lamps, etc., to make sure they work.
  • Dusting furniture and household items and tightening any loose parts.

After you clean everything, sort your items into like categories.

4. Create Attractive and Effective Displays.

Grocers place milk in the very back of the store so that you have to walk by everything else to get to it. Retailers display inexpensive but irresistible items right by the cash register to entice you to grab one or more while you wait your turn in line. Such merchandising tricks increase store sales. They can also help you boost your yard sale take.

Draw Visitors In.

Make sure people can easily see some tempting items from the street. Yard sale regulars in particular often just do a quick drive by and keep going if they don’t see anything worthwhile. Likewise, put some bright, fun toys out front. This will draw in kids from the neighborhood or in passing cars; where the kids go, parents follow.

Keep Visitors Interested.

Use tables, shelves and other creative spaces to visually display your merchandise in neat categories. Just throwing clothes or other like items in boxes limits visibility because not everyone will bother digging through the pile. Signage is another way to help direct people to specific items.

If you have one really great piece of furniture or an in-demand electronic item, prominently display it toward the back of your sale. Just like the grocer’s milk, you can tempt visitors with everything else on their way to that prize find.

And don’t forget to straighten your stuff back up after a big rush of visitors.

5. Price Things Right.

People come to yard sales for a bargain, so price your items with that thought in mind. Rather than tag every item, you can use signs to indicate your prices. For example, put a sign by your book display that says $1 for all hardbacks and a quarter for all paperbacks.

For expensive pieces like furniture or electronics, ask interested buyers to make an offer rather than setting a price. This keeps you from underpricing items with the most profit potential.

About halfway through your sale, start reducing prices on anything that you don’t want back in your house or don’t think you can sell elsewhere for more money.

6. Join Forces.

Yard sale hunters like neighborhood or multi-house sales almost as much as they like bargains. Ask your neighbors if they’d like to join in your fun. Or if your neighborhood hosts a spring sale, plan on selling your stuff then when you’re guaranteed a larger crowd.

After your sale, put your profits to good use either to pay down some debt or to pad your emergency fund.

Editor’s note: Quorum is not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in this article and derives no benefit from these businesses for placement in this article.

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CUNA 2023 diamond award trophy icon

CUNA 2023 Diamond Award Winner

Financial Education

Quorum derives no benefit from businesses in return for placement in this blog.

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