How to Make Lots of Money at a Yard Sale
A few weeks ago, I joined forces and set up a table (or 4) at a neighborhood tag sale. I had the best of intentions to be organized and set up lovely vignettes and take the tag sale by storm. Spoiler alert: I didn’t come close to doing either of those things, but I made a TON! Like more than $1000 so I figured you might want to hear what I DID do right! (Sidebar… in your neck of the woods, is it a tag sale, a yard sale, or a garage sale?
Tip 1. Bring ALL the THINGs
Truthfully, I didn’t mean to bring as much stuff as I did, but over the last 3 months, I’ve been planning ahead for a time when we’d have to list our house so every closet, every shelf, and every cabinet has been combed over and sorted into boxes for Yard Sale and storage. (I didn’t get to the attic or the basement so… we may have another tag sale in our future.) I rented a UHaul van and had TWO van loads… I definitely think have boxes and boxes of stuff intrigued people and got them over to my spot.
Tip 2. Sorting. Kind of.
When I unpacked my boxes, I made a point to sort them into general categories. One table was smaller home decor, a few boxes were kids’ toys, a few other boxes were clothes, throw pillows were all in one pile, shoes were in a bin. You get my drift… nothing super specific, but generally… I had areas for each type of ‘thing’.
Tip 3. Proper Displays
Again… Do NOT be thinking I had cute little hangers or racks or platforms for display. But everything WAS visible to the shoppers. I put as many things as I could onto a “table.” I had a long piece of plywood that I rested on a pair of saw horses, and a plastic folding table. I used my furniture to display items until it was purchased. And lots of things were on the ground or in boxes.
Tip 4. Tag Sale Pricing
I arrived at the tag sale with colored stickers that I intended on putting on my items. Yellow: $1. Pink: $5. Green $10. I had time to use approximately zero of those stickers. I know people say it’s annoying to always ask for a price, but… it’s usually how vendors at the flea market do it, and it certainly worked for me. With one caveat: my prices were STUPID low. I was on a mission: to get rid of my things.
Tip 5. Think Fast
People come to tag sales for a deal. Encourage buyers to bundle items. “The more you get, the better the deal” kind of thing. “Two for one” fits the bill too… Don’t hesitate to sweeten the pot on the fly to help close the deal.
Tip 6. Expect lots and lots of characters
Whether it’s the people who show up while you’re unpacking the car to dig through your unpacked boxes, or the ones who firmly insist that your price is too high… expect it all. I had one woman who asked me what an item cost, and I answered “$5.” She looked me square in the eye and said, “No. $3.” I had to admire her conviction so a sale was made.
Tip 7. Yard Sale Logistics
I’d be remiss if I didn’t cover the basics of tag sale logistics:
– Have lots and lots of change and cash ready. Wear comfortable shoes.
– Be prepared to have a WAD of cash so consider having a cash box or an apron with pockets so you don’t drop any.
– Bring snacks. I was manning my booth solo, so I didn’t have a minute to grab anything to eat… I wasn’t there forever, but I wish I’d had water and snacks.
– Take a seat. Literally. I was standing the entire morning and was tuckered out when the day was done.
– Masking tape a sharpie. Lots of people asked to leave their purchased items behind my spot to pick up later. I was glad to have masking tape and a sharpie to mark things as “sold”.
Tip 8. Don’t bring it Home
When the tag sale was over, I packed everything up (with one bag of exceptions) and brought it straight to Goodwill. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200!
Tip 9. Marketing Your Tag Sale
I think being part of a neighborhood tag sale was huge for me. Lots of built-in foot traffic and lots of marketing around town. They took care of the road signs and the banners so I didn’t have to do a THING! Had I been setting up solo, I would have put up lots of signs all on my own. Keep in mind people are driving, so make sure you have large signs, with big. bold. writing. Step back 50 feet. Can you see your signs? Drive by. Are they bold enough to be read from a moving vehicle? Other places to advertise: local papers, Facebook marketplace, Craigslist… bottom line: spread the word!
Tip 10. Rain Date
Plan for a rain date. Our yard sale got rained out Saturday, but a rain date had already been scheduled for the following day. This simply meant people knew the sale was still on and everyone still stopped by. If a rain date isn’t an option, then consider setting up inside your garage and saying something like “rain or shine”.
Compared to folks who set up a booth at the flea market every weekend, I’m a complete novice, so leave me a comment if you have any other tips!