5 Ways to Have a Successful Yard Sale

Pre Yard Sale, Post Organization in Categories

After our family traveled to see friends and witnessed their very own simple living, we decided to clean out our stuff. If the two of them and their two wild dogs could live in 600 square feet with all the necessities for comforts of  living, then 4 people +1 dog could live in 2400 square feet without feeling cramped. We came to the conclusion that we could rid of ourselves of Crap We Do Not Need.

I’ve been trying to do this for years by donating a few items every month.  Without the help of those other people in my house, though, it was impossible. Finally, they agreed.

1.      Don’t sell all crap.

Sell good stuff, too. People lingered in our yard because there was stuff. Mix in crap with good stuff so you confuse people that it’s all good stuff. Plus, you don’t want your stuff to be at the end of the crap line, because at some point that shit is not sell-able.

2.      Price the stuff to sell.

Clothes? $1. Set of four bowls? $2. Sleigh bed frame? $75 (they talked us down to $50).  CD player/stereo? Five bucks. We let people negotiate. A lot. If they had a pile of stuff, FINE, take it all for 10 bucks. JUST TAKE IT.

3.      Organize it.  

The day before I put everything in categories and priced. I took all the kids miscellaneous crap and made grab bags in Ziploc bags for $1. I strategically placed them all on a tarp on the ground. Kids were busy searching for the bags they wanted while parents shopped.

4.      Don’t bring it back in the house.

We were deliriously tired but we were committed to NOT bring anything back in the house so we loaded up the trailer and when to Goodwill. DONE. We kept one pile of vintage items for the consignment shop and they’re loaded in the car.  I broke my rule and kept 3 pictures but everything else gone.

5.      Sell it and forget it.

When my husband saw a $450 suit sell for $2, he shed a little internal tear and we had a moment of silence. But that was last week. This week, he doesn’t care.

We’re enjoying our less clutter filled home for our 2nd yard sale. My husband would have you believe that our first yard sale 17 years ago was made up of all of his stuff. That is completely true. Because he had some ugly shit.


About Julia Roberts

Laughing at raising your two kids with special needs is frowned upon in certain circles, you know? Like Grandma and Grandpa find it especially annoying. Blogging since 2005 at Kidneys and Eyes and co-founder of a social networking site, Support for Special Needs, she stays pretty busy working in her business with her husband (yeah, they're crazy) and insurance receipts. A night owl, Diet Coke lover, and vintage photo collector she hopes to raise advocates and activists.


  1. Dave Cole says:

    I like the idea of “not bringing stuff back in…” It’s funny how setting small boundaries can force better results.

    Yard sales always remind me of that George Carlin sketch about houses. We buy houses to have a place to hold our stuff – but once we’ve got the house we go out and get more stuff… Need a bigger house!

    Thanks for the tips.

  2. Carrie says:

    You are so, so right on so many levels.

    After my divorce, I SWORE life would be much simpler. And I meant it.

    I did real close to what you suggested. Especially the price it to sell part. I ain’t doing it to make a windfall.

    For 7 (damn, almost 8 years) now, I’ve kept my clutter to a minimum. One set of dishes, one set of pots/pans, two sets of sheets.

    When I buy a newer/improved version of something I have…I toss the old out.

    You got some good stuff here. Great, great tips.

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  3. Megan says:

    Excellent advice. Merchandising is very important, too. Put like items together. I find people buy more that way.

    Also? If you swiped stuff from your neighbor’s bulk trash pickup pile, don’t display it right in front of their house when you try to sell it. Because they will notice. (This really happened to me. Apparently my neighhor has been swiping my trash for years and put it out for sale recently. They live directly across the street.)

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