Yard Sale Clothes

How to Have a Sold Out Yard Sale

By Erin Huffstetler | 05/30/2016 | 10 Comments
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It’s always been my goal to have a yard sale where we sell absolutely everything. I mean, isn’t that everyone’s goal? It takes so much work to round up the stuff you want to sell, to price it, to haul it outside, to arrange it on tables and racks and then sit there baking in the sun while you try to sell it all. The last thing you want to do after all of that is box everything back up and then figure out what you’re going to do with the leftovers. So, when we had a yard sale this weekend, I finally got serious about selling everything, and I’m excited to report that we got to hang up our first ever sold out sign. Woo hoo!

Our strategy for having a sold out yard sale is really simple, and it something that you can easily replicate. Here’s what we did.

We usually do a two-day yard sale to increase our chances of selling everything. I figure after taking all that time to set up, it just makes sense to allow two days to sell. We tend to do a Friday/Saturday sale, but Saturday/Sunday sales do well, too. When we’re open on a Sunday, we get a lot of people who had to work Saturday. They’re always excited to get to go to a yard sale. This time we did a Saturday/Sunday sale. But don’t sweat it if you can’t make a two-day sale happen, or don’t want to make one happen. That’s not my trick for selling out.

Okay, so we listed our sale in the newspaper Saturday, and at the time we were only planning on a one-day sale (the weather Sunday looked iffy), so that’s what our ad reflected.

Yard Sale Tables

We had TONS of stuff to sell, so even though we sold a lot, we still had a lot left at the end of the day. Not excited about boxing it up, we decided to make everything a quarter. There were a few things that we didn’t want to sell at that price, so we just brought them inside.

Then, we made new signs and went out to hang them at both ends of our road. Our signs declared that everything was $.25 from 3 p.m. to dark. We have a high-visibility location, so we knew lots of people would see our new signs (even though our quarter sale wasn’t listed in the paper). To further increase our traffic, we also snapped some pictures of what we had left, and listed our sale on Craigslist.

And within the hour we were flooded with customers. Some people came because they saw specific items in our Craigslist ad that they wanted. Some people came to buy inventory for their flea market booths, and some of our customers from earlier in the day came back to buy more. We sold so much stuff, I had to keep running in the house for boxes. All and all it was a lot of fun, and our customers left feeling like they’d gotten a killer deal.

Yard Sale Set Up

But you know what? We still had a bunch of stuff left. So, Sunday morning we posted new signs, and we updated our ad on Craigslist. This time we also mentioned that $50 took all.

We sold another 60 or so items at a quarter a piece. Then, we got an e-mail from someone who was interested in buying everything. They came and looked at what we had, and then asked if we’d take $40 for it. We were all too happy to accept. With four people working, they had it all boxed up and loaded in their truck in no time. They were happy to have stuff to resell, and we were happy to be rid of everything, plus have a bit more cash. When you get down to it, they basically paid to do our yard sale clean up. Works for me. When they were done, we just had to haul in our racks, hangers and tables. Easy peasy.

You could skip the quarter sale, and just list your leftovers on Craigslist, if you want. I added the quarter sale to the mix because I wanted to maximize our earnings. It brought in another $50 or so. And we frugal types can do a lot with $50.

When you strike a deal with someone for your yard sale leftovers, definitely be clear about what is and isn’t included. I wanted to keep all of our hangers for future sales, so I stated that upfront. And, we stayed outside to monitor the pack up just to make sure nothing went that we hadn’t intended. But honestly, it was a really smooth transaction, and we’ll absolutely do it again.

Here are some other resources to make your sale easier and more profitable:

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  1. Great idea Erin!! I always seem to have lots left to rid myself after a yard sale. I am going to have to try your quarter deal next time.

    God bless.

  2. The “everything for $50” is literally the best idea I have heard. We have been selling stuff like crazy on craigslist and have been thinking about just having a yard sale but I’m a little intimidated due to my extreme lack of organization skills. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Because I TOO have TONS of stuff, are there items that you would NOT bother putting in the sale? I’ve read that stuffed animals and outdated technology (vhs tapes) do not sell so don’t bother. Also, I have TONS of clothes, very little of which are name brand or top of the line…many garage sale finds before me, should I bother with these or just donate. I would like to make a little money, but don’t want to bother pricing and setting out stuff that I would end up donating anyway.

      • I’ve never taken debit/credit cards at a yard sale, but it does seem to be becoming more common. If you decide to do it, just make sure you take the credit card fees into account. With small purchases, it’ll really take a bite out of your profits. We take credit cards when we do craft shows, and it’s easy enough to do.

        Good luck with your sale 🙂

    • I’d try selling all of it. There’s actually a pretty big online market for VHS, so you’ll often get resellers at yard sales. If you don’t want to price everything individually, consider making signs, like “Clothes $.50 each.” “$1 Table,” etc. Or selling clothes by the bag often works well.

  4. Erin, I wanted to thank you for ALL of your garage/yard sale tips. I only had a one day sale (I work full time and to take time off of work to have a sale, the $ doesn’t add up and I live in an area that devoutly observe the sabbath and to have a Sunday sale would be largely frowned on:(, BUT that one day sale (including selling books, dvd’s, cd’s online…your tips yielded me $167.90) yielded me $373.08 and I still have some tech that I want to trade in online. Thank you again

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