My First Yard Sale

I haven’t been around at all the past three days because we just had our first yard sale. Actually, it was my first yard sale, since Nate’s done them before when he was a kid with his parents. Whew! Talk about a ton of work and exhausting! But it was worth it – we made some decent money.

Our town requires a yard sale permit – it’s $2

I think we priced things well, because almost everyone who stopped by did buy something. Nate posted signs around the neighborhood the day before (we’re not supposed to do it far in advance in our town) and I posted on Craigslist too. But it was super hot and humid that day (90+ degrees) and I think a lot of people just weren’t out looking for yard sales. We did great in the morning, but by the afternoon when the heat really got bad, things slowed to a halt. I think everyone was either inside in air conditioning or at the beach (which is where I would have preferred to be myself!)

I was surprised at some of the things that sold. It is true what they say – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I had a box of my old clothes that I priced at 2 for $1. I sold at least half of them! I almost didn’t put it out, thinking I’d just dump it in the Good Will bin instead, but I’m glad I did!

What didn’t sell as well as I had thought was the baby stuff and toys. We did sell our Fisher Price high chair for $20 (I had expected some haggling, but nope, someone paid $20!), the exersaucer, swing, etc. But a lot of the other toys and baby things didn’t sell. Unfortunately, I think we just didn’t get the right market of people. You really need to have a baby, grandkid, or be actively looking for baby stuff and people just weren’t that day. But that’s all part of yard sales.

We had to cut things a bit short, because a thunderstorm came up mid-afternoon and we had to quickly bring everything inside. With the remaining stuff, we bagged up a bunch of things to bring to Good Will, brought a box of toys to church for the nursery, and set aside a pile of nice toys to bring to the local consignment shop.

Overall, I’m pleased with how we did. Here’s a few things I learned:

  • If you really want to get rid of something, price to sell. What would you pay at a yard sale?
  • If you don’t mind potentially holding onto something longer, then stick to your guns. I had a brand new still-in-box baby carrier that I wasn’t willing to let go for less than a certain amount. No one was interested (I didn’t even get any offers) but that was okay, because I know I can get a good price for it on eBay. Other things aren’t worth selling on eBay – too much hassle.
  • We didn’t price anything for less than a quarter. We priced books at 50 cents, CDs, etc. But 5 and 10 cents for an item weren’t worth it – too much change going around.
  • Have a couple of boxes and plastic grocery bags around for people to use. People who were browsing for awhile liked being able to put their stuff in a box so they didn’t have to carry everything around. Then we put it all in a plastic bag (or two) for them to carry to the car. Just like shopping in a store, if it’s convenient, people will buy more!
  • Have people pay for everything at once. Don’t let them pay for one item, then keep looking, come back with another, etc. It’s too easy to get things lost in the shuffle. Agree on a price at the end. When we first got started, one lady (clearly an expert yard-sale-er) asked me for a deal on a set of little figurines, which I gave her. Then I found out that Nate was already wrapping up another item for her. It was clear, she was purposefully trying to get us both running in different directions. When that happens, it’s easy for things to get “lost” in the shuffle. That lady also almost drove off without paying, but Nate (very nicely) handled that one.
  • Make sure your YARD SALE signs are easy to read. One lady commented that she could read ours easily from the road, but she couldn’t read another person’s sign near ours at all.

What I would do differently:

  • I’d advertise more. I’d put up more signs further out and also put up a flyer at the local grocery store, bank, library, etc. listing a few key items we were selling.
  • I wouldn’t do it on a super hot day! No one wants to be out in the hot sun on a day like we did. We certainly didn’t! :)

Do you have any yard sale tips?




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About the Author

Erika is a happily married mom with four energetic children. With a love for Jesus, photography, organizing, and encouraging other moms, she stays busy and definitely does not have it all together.


  1. Candice Hull says:

    We decided to have a garage sale a few months ago (it was hot, but it’s always hot in Texas) to raise some money to fix the a/c in our car. We hadn’t had much luck with garage sales in the past and usually ended up making several trips to Goodwill at the end. This time, we just put up a sign saying we were raising money to fix our car a/c and for people to pay what they thought was fair and put a box with a hole in it on the table. We had SO many people come! People were calling family members. The best part was that we had a TON of baby clothes and had 5 pregnant women show up. Most of them only grabbed a few items because they only had a few dollars, but we loaded up bags of clothes for them and told them to take it! We had so many people help us when we were starting out so it was awesome to give back. The best, best part…we made 4 times what we did at our last garage sale. People loved knowing the money was going to help us out. We had people giving us $5 for a tshirt or a movie. Now, we did have some people take advantage, but all in all people were generous. I do suggest, like you said, pricing certain things at a set price that you just can’t let go for too little. (Sorry, this was a little long :D)

  2. We just had a yard sale this weekend, too! My sister and I have had 7 now. One thing we learned, let one person handle all the money, it’s much easier. We spread the word to our friends and family. Many times they don’t want to mess with a sale, so they’ll give stuff to us for our sale. We donated all of our money last year to St. Jude’s. We wrote it on the signs as well as the Craigslist posting. We could not believe how wonderful people were. We were able to send in a very nice donation. I agree with you on saving the nicer things you don’t sell for a consignment store. Also, after our sale we donated the rest of our stuff to a local church that is having a sale at the end of the month.

    • That’s great, Kimberly! I think we may take that advice about one person handling the money for next time. We started out doing that then we ended up both doing it and that was a little more confusing at times.
      Thanks for the tips and for sharing! Have a fantastic week!

  3. I do almost all my “yard” sales online…. thru Ebay and thru the Yahoo Groups.. it is esp easy to use the groups to sell items.. if they are really low cost..

    • I used to do a lot more on eBay, but it takes so much time. There’s some things, like my huge Hello Kitty collection, that I will sell on eBay (when I have time someday, haha) because THAT would be worth it. I’ve never tried Yahoo Groups though – that’s a good idea.
      Thanks, Michelle!

  4. I have had more yard sales than you can shake a stick at. Seriously – we probably had one every weekend for a year straight. Best piece of advice – put up signs and price to sell. :)

  5. Great tips and so glad it went well for you! We are planning on having one next month!

  6. I don’t know what it is called but when my parents have a free weekend and go out looking for “Treasures” they check a website that lists all fo the yardsales on the area.

    If you have a lot of baby toys, blankets, towels, baby gates, playpens advertise in the Pets Section of Craigslist. Many people will purchase their items for their pets at yardsales way cheaper then buying new and the products are generally really good quality. While the toys might not be super strong enough for big dogs they sometimes work well for small dogs, ferrets, bunnies, etc.

  7. We had our 3rd yardsale recently and found a few tips really help the “curb appeal”.
    Use as many tables as possible, borrow them from friends and family. Be organized with clothes in storage tubs and labelled by size. Hang up the “grown up” clothes on hangers if possible. Put bigger eye catching items like high chairs and exersaucers at the end of the driveway but near your tables. Invite friends and family to bring items to sell to make it a “multi family” yardsale, and advertise on craigslist that way. We didnt have a whole lot to sell, but bulking up our driveway with friends’ stuff helped to bring the buyers.

  8. md kennedy says:

    Thanks for the tips…we’re going to do a sweep of my Mother’s house this summer and your advice will come in handy.

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