House Happenings Tips + Tricks

THE 7TH HOUSE YARD SALE

yard sale cooking table

Over the past year, the shed in the backyard has been deemed the “yard sale shed”. It slowly but surely filled to the brim. This past weekend we decided it was finally time to unload the goods and have our house’s very first, official 7th House yard sale.

We ended up selling almost everything and made a grand total of $903. Cha ching! The weather couldn’t have been more perfect… except for the fact that I totally underestimated the sun. I look like a lobster.

Yard Sale, Garage Sale, Tag Sale, Driveway Sale, Rummage Sale… Technically, we call it a “Yard Sale”, but we put “Tag Sale” on our signs. Everyone around our part of the country calls them “Yard Sales”, but by putting “Tag Sale” on the signs (which is what they call them in the Northeast), people are more likely to stop by. We literally had at least 20 people tell us they came just to see what a Tag Sale was.

Ever since I was about 15, my designated job at family yard sales is that of the cashier. I even have my own toy cash register. It was my brother’s when he was little and we’ve kept it around just for yard sales. I’ve always liked having this job because I get a chance to talk to people. We haven’t been in the neighborhood for long (“we” as in Greg and me. My family has lived in this neighborhood since I was 11!). It’s nice to get to know your neighbors a little better. For instance, I met a fascinating woman who has traveled all over the world, is a huge Disney World fan, an avid scrap-booker and a professional Origami instructor. How cool is that? She pulled a patio chair up next to me at the cashier table and we sat and talked about Australia and Disney World for a while.

We also had fun hanging out with some of the neighborhood kids. One of the kids from down the street scored an exercise ball – to play with while riding his skateboard. Haha! His big brother (who’s 14) started his own lawn mowing company and offered to trade his expertise and highly recommended lawn mowing services for a small speaker system. Score!

In my book, an organized yard sale is a happy yard sale. By the end of the day, you’re tired, achy, hungry… and look like a lobster. But if you get started on the right foot, you can still have fun. We put together our 2 cents on how to pull off a successful (and fun!) Tag Sale Yard Sale:

A FEW DAYS BEFORE

  • Check with your local and community leaders to see if you need a yard sale permit. Our area doesn’t require one, but we hear some areas do.
  • When making your posters, make sure they all look uniform (same handwriting, same color combo, etc). That way, it will be easy to spot if they are following them to your sale. Don’t put the date. Putting the date will just clutter up the sign. For example, you only need to put “Saturday at 7:00am”, everyone will automatically know it’s this Saturday. This is also make it convenient to use the signs for future yard sales.
  • Unless you’re tied down to a tight schedule, don’t put an “until” time on your posters. We started at 7:00am and were planning on wrapping things up around noon, but we were still steadily selling stuff around 2:00 so we decided to stick around a bit longer.
  • Put out signs in all major intersections near your home a few days before your yard sale. For instance, if your yard sale is going to be on Saturday morning, put the signs out Thursday night. People will see them driving to and from work on Friday.
  • Don’t forget to advertise online! Advertise your yard sale on Craigslist, YardSaleSearch.com, and even your personal Facebook page. If you’re doing a yard sale with a lot of mega ticket items (cars, boats, antiques), consider running a Facebook ad targeted to your area.
  • Start collecting extra grocery bags and small boxes for people to take home their yard sale finds.
THE NIGHT BEFORE / MORNING OF:
  • We set up the tables the night before (price tags, table signs and all) and left them in the carport overnight. When we woke up at the crack of dawn the next morning, the only prepping we had to do was to set the tables out in the driveway.
  • Put your “big ticket” items near the road so people will be more likely to stop and shop.
  • Categorize your items like a store would. Put all of the home decor items together, toys together, seasonal together, etc. Then create small signs for each table. I tired to make it interesting by labeling the seasonal table as “‘Tis the Season”, the jewelry table as “Sparkly Stuff”, “Lighting Dept” for the lamps and light fixtures, “Art Gallery” for wall art, and the kitchen table as “Get Cookin'”.
  • Because I knew I would be half asleep the next morning, before I went to bed I sketched out a “floorplan” of where I wanted each table to go. That way, when my dad and Greg put the tables out they had a map to go by… I was still inside doing my hair : )
  • Having a designated cashier table answers all of the “who do I pay” questions and makes the process go along much smoother. On the cashier table, I had my play cash register (the calculator came in handy for my non-Mathlete-self). I also had a jar of Easter candy that I got the night before 50% off at CVS. And of course I had a pad of paper, a few Sharpies, a good book, grocery bags for customers, and my Disney World travel mug.
  • Put the smaller, more expensive items near your cashier table so you can keep an eye on them. It’s sad, but people do tend to “lift” things from Yard Sales. During our sale, we had four Wii games disappear. 

DURING THE SALE

  • Turn on some music! It will help the shoppers be in a better mood and help the time go by faster for you. Keep it easy, fun and relaxing. We turned the radio to our local popular “light rock” station, Lite 98.
  • Greg was the designated “let me help you with that” guy. It’s always good to have someone ready to help people to their car with big items.
  • Have an extension chord hooked up to an outdoor outlet for people to test drive items that plug in. It’s also good to have a few batteries on hand for battery-operated items.
  • To lure drive-bys, we staged a box of new born puppies with a big sign that said “Free”, set up a petting zoo, and rented a $2,000 bouncy house. Just kidding. Just wanting to see if you’re paying attention!

AFTER THE SALE
  • Don’t bring the left overs back in the house! Or the shed! We ended up taking everything we had left over to the Goodwill. In some areas, you can even schedule a Good Will truck to come pick them up for  you.
  • Before you head in to take the long-awaited hot shower, make sure you go around and take all of your signs down. Not only is this polite but we heard you can get fined for not taking you signs down (at least in our area you can).

Do you have any Yard Sale tips to pass along? We’d love to hear them – even though Greg says we’re not  having another Yard Sale for a loooooong time, haha. 

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35 Comments

  • Reply
    Lisa
    April 18, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Fun! I love yard sales. I have always called them garage sales, even though they are always in the driveway. My tip would be to make sure your garage door is closed! I had a garage sale on my driveway and kept our garage door open only because it was easy access to go inside and grab myself a drink, etc. Our tables were clearly set up in a way to show that the garage was not part of the “path” but sure enough people felt the need to stick their noses in and make offers on things I wasn’t selling! My other tip that I’m sure you know but I didn’t see listed is to get change! Bring lots of quarters and 1’s and 5’s!

  • Reply
    Lisa
    April 18, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Oh and I thought you were serious about puppies for a second and I kept thinking “that’s so wrong!” lol

  • Reply
    Beverly Ellers
    April 18, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Wrote this long comment about one your mom had moons ago but didn’t go thur so ain’t writing again.
    I love old antique linens & your mom had couple holeie ones I bought. Don’t tell your grandma she would shoot me if she thought I bought more. Glad it was a success even though I didn’t know about it. Bev & Cody

    • Reply
      Ashley
      April 18, 2012 at 10:47 am

      Haha! Your secret is safe with me ; )

  • Reply
    Sara
    April 18, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I have to LOL at your Tag Sale sign, my husband is from Connecticut and insists that is what they are called because you are not selling your Yard at a Yard Sale!

  • Reply
    Staci @ My Friend Staci
    April 18, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Wonderful tips! Filing this away for our city-wide garage sale this June! Maybe we can make a little extra moolah for our upcoming vacation 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica @ Decor Adventures
    April 18, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Congrats on your successful sale! And thanks for the tips. I’m planning to have one this summer and love reading what others do.

    I’ve already organized my stuff in the attic into bags seperated by how much each item will cost. I’m make it easy and charging “$1.00 for anything on this table” and $2 and so on.Then I’ll just pull the bags down and lay out the items on the Everything is $1 table. Hope it’s easy!

  • Reply
    Ashley J
    April 18, 2012 at 11:00 am

    OMG – I am going to have to try the “Tag Sale” instead of a Yard Sale this year! I love it when I can see what others do at their sales, so this is great!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    April 18, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I would have loved to come to your yard sale! We are avid yard salers in my family. It’s always a pleasure to come upon one that is set up like yours. They are not always like that, LOL!

  • Reply
    Christin
    April 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    I definitely had to read that puppy line several times before I got to the just kidding part. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mary
    April 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Oh man, I wish I had known so I could go! Are you craigslist-ing the rest?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      April 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      Nope, on the way home from picking up all of our signs, we took the “left overs” to the GoodWill.

  • Reply
    Melanie
    April 18, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Yard sales are not cute, but you made it cute! Love all the signs.

  • Reply
    Nia
    April 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    You definitely have the 411 on how to do a yard sale, girl!!! Fun post:)

  • Reply
    VONDA K
    April 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Great tips!

  • Reply
    Jeanette @ This Dusty House
    April 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Loved this. We don’t have enough stuff yet to hold a yard sale (we’ve only been married for two years and in our hours for one – not mention our kind of miserly ways!) but I hope one day, if we do, I can steal* every single one of your ideas, make it look as cute as this and end the day with at least $903.

    *borrow, of course! 🙂

  • Reply
    Amanda
    April 18, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Did you keep a record of everything you sold or something? Why the need for the paper? I’m such a nosey person. Hahah.

    I love your little cash register! It is adorable – I think I’d buy one just for the yard sale — if I were to ever have one.

    Im curious, How did you do the prices?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      April 18, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      The paper had two uses: 1) Doodling and 2) To keep track of the money throughout the day. I found it to be a lot easier to jot down purchase totals so I could tally up how much we made so far rather than having to count the money each and every time. It wasn’t really a necessity, I was just curious as to how much money we’d made. The final total ended up being about $30 more than what I wrote down though because I forgot to write it down a few times.

      I forgot to put this in the post! We priced everything individually using little round stickers. Yes, it was slightly time consuming, but totally worth it. For things we had a lot of (like clothing, bags, coffee mugs, etc), I made a little sign that said “Mugs: $1 each” rather than putting price tags on each one.

      Hope that helps! : )

  • Reply
    Whitney @ Drab to Fab Design
    April 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    You are so organized, and you made that tag sale look so cute! I would totally go…and grab a chocolate on my way out! 🙂

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    April 18, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    so cute and informative! now i want to have a yard sale of my own…

  • Reply
    Christina H
    April 18, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    About the Wii games – for your next yard sale just put the empty cases out and then when someone shows interest in purchasing, THEN have your helper go into the house (or safe location) and retrieve the disk for customer.

    http://www.yardsalequeen.com/

  • Reply
    Jenny @ DIY Newlyweds
    April 18, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Great yard sale tips! I’m glad yours was a success. We hosted our first one ever last year and I’m looking forward to doing another one this year and getting rid of a lot of stuff!

  • Reply
    Laura
    April 18, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    My tip if you have multiple people (maybe your friend & cousin ask to sell some things at your sale & you agree) selling things use those colored that come with multiple colors in a pack as price tags to make keeping track of each persons sales easy. My mom’s family used to have a garage sale once a year & everyone would chip in with stuff to sell. What we did to make it easy to keep track of how much money each person got at the end of the sale was to use those dot stickers that are about 1/2″ in diameter & come in packs with multiple colors of dots in each pack as price tags. Each person picked a dot color & all the things they were selling got that color of dot with the appropriate price. So say my aunt chose the yellow dots anything my aunt was selling got a yellow dot with the price my aunt wanted for that particular item. The designated cashier had a calculator, cash box & a notebook. The cashier drew a column for each person selling things in the garage on a page of the notebook. The cashier would take the dot off the item, enter the price in the calculator if the person was buying more than one item & then put the dot in the appropriate column. This made handing out each person’s money at the end of the sale very easy since all the cashier had to do was add up all the yellow dots & give my aunt that amount.
    Also take the time & go to the trouble to clean & price things appropriately. People are much likely to look longer & buy more if what you’re selling is clean & reasonably priced.

  • Reply
    Katrina
    April 19, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    So cool you made lots of money!! We so need to do a yard sale! Maybe sometime in the beginning of May on a Sat we can finally do one!

    Thanks for all the tips! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sarah @ { rad: renovations are dirty }
    April 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Congrats on the HUGELY successful sale!

  • Reply
    Penny
    April 24, 2012 at 6:53 am

    I am having a yard sale in a few weeks. I have 2 grandaughters born 3 weeks apart and you guessed it I have a very large amount of girls clothes… and accessories… so i decided to figure out how to organize it… i have seperated all sizes, bought a tagging gun for clothing priced all clothes with different colored tags (different color for each person) gonna hang the clothes according to size also. Just like in a clothing store..gonna put all the clothing not on hangers in own seperate areas so they dont get messed up all together… Trying to make it easier on everyone to just go to the size they want or need….

  • Reply
    Kristan
    August 26, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Hi Ashley!

    I pinned this article of yours last year knowing we’d eventually have a yard sale and we’re planning on for this weekend! Love all your tips 🙂 One question for you I am curious about – did you accept checks at your sale? I would like to do cash only, but I don’t want to deter people. What do you think?

    Thanks!!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      August 26, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Thanks so much! We usually don’t accept checks, but once in a while we do. If you have a PayPal account, the PayPal app is awesome and let’s you accept debit cards. The funds go directly into your PayPal account and you can email a receipt to the buyer.

  • Reply
    emilia
    June 20, 2014 at 3:17 am

    haha! TAG SALE!, great tips by the way!, thanks!
    ~ http://www.garagesalecow.com

  • Reply
    Julie
    July 31, 2014 at 2:05 am

    Our sale is this Saturday!!! So exciting to get some of these treasures out of our home and into someone else’s where they can be loved.

  • Reply
    DM
    April 24, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Love that you used brown paper on some of the tables – keeps them a bit cleaner, and give your Yard Sale a cohesive look – I’m going to borrow that idea at my next sale (in a few weeks!)

  • Reply
    Chao
    August 5, 2015 at 1:50 am

    Love your cash box! Where can I get myself one? Super cute. All great tips by the way. I’ll be using many of them. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      August 25, 2015 at 10:45 am

      Haha! This one is similar to the one we have 😉

  • Reply
    Ruth Backstrom
    August 9, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Thanks. I really like your idea of marking the tables with catchy signs. I agree that the signs on the corners should all be uniform, it is easier to find the sale. Your sale was very organized and that helps sell items. No one likes rummaging through piles

  • Reply
    gloria
    August 11, 2016 at 12:23 am

    Love these ideas! Thank you! Especially the part about the part about the $2,000 bouncy house! My kids loved it. We will be trying these ideas out this weekend.

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