Tips for a Successful Yard Sale


Whether you’re moving or simply decluttering, a garage sale, or yard sale, is an excellent way to get rid of items that have been languishing unused in your house and garage. And, of course, it’s an ideal way to put some extra money in your pocket. But, before you start taping signs around the neighborhood, consider some of these suggestions from some experts at Baylor University.

Tout your sale well in advance.

“The adage ‘Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door’ does not hold for garage sales,” says Jim Roberts, Ph.D., The Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business. “You need to get the word out there about what you have to sell, where you are located and the times of your garage sale.”

Newspaper ads and yard signs are fine (check city ordinances regarding permits and signage), but it’s hard to beat online marketing. Post pictures, directions and sale times on such sites as Craigslist for your area, as well as these sites geared toward yard sales:,, and

Remember that when you market your sale, photograph your best items individually rather than posting a photo of a cluttered table.

Try the raffle route.

A good raffle of a single popular item can also generate much more money than you would get from simply selling the item. Another good strategy might be to charge a mere $1 for a box filled with several little items. (less time dealing with change too!)


Make it festive.

Make your sale fun with such touches as music, balloons and streamers. A simple ipod/smartphone with cheap portable speakers works wonders.

Preserve memories but cut down on clutter.

“People often struggle with the line between holding onto memories and having a house filled with clutter. Plan well in advance so that you have time to sort through items without the pressure of making a snap judgment the night before,” says Elise King, assistant professor of interior design in Baylor’s Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences. “Look for creative ways to display sentimental items so you’re free to part with some of them.”

Example: That inherited figurine collection stored in the attic may not fit your style, but photograph the figurines from varying angles and distances and use close, macro shots for a contemporary appearance. Change the photos to black and white and pick a few to print onto small canvases, King suggests.

“This frees you to sell the figurines, so they can bring joy to their next owner; and it allows you a means of displaying them and the memories associated with them,” she says.

Strengthen relationships with your neighbors and boost sales by advertising as a multiple-family garage sale.

Spread out the workload! Get your neighbors involved. Even if they only have a couple items to add, they will appreciate the chance to clean out some of their own clutter. Plus, it ensures plenty of helpers — including a lookout for shoplifters. It’s always good to get to know your neighbors!

Finally: Cater to the tummies of treasure hunters.

Many garage sales have made lots of extra money selling coffee, soft drinks, donuts, rolls and even breakfast burritos.