A pre-move yard sale and moving go together like PB&J. Who among us has NOT had a yard sale? I think
almost every person who’s moved has had some form of moving sale/yard sale/garage sale. I remember
when I was in high school our church youth group always did all sorts of fund-raising throughout the
school year to help with cost of a mission trip our group took every summer. And just about every time
I’ve ever moved, there’s been the mandatory yard sale. But this time I want to approach it with a bit
more organization and preparation.
My Tips for Holding a Successful Pre-Move Yard Sale
As I’ve been blogging about lately, decluttering and/or getting ready for a move is a perfect opportunity
to get rid of things you no longer want or need. A yard sale is an excellent way to both get rid of things
and make a few bucks to help cover moving expenses. Added bonus: the less stuff you load onto the
moving truck, the lighter the load, and the cheaper the move will be. Why spend time packing and
unpacking items that you wonder why you kept? This will be the way I pare down the number of cutting
boards I have!!
Hosting a successful pre-move yard sale takes more work than just putting your things out on the front
lawn and sticking a sign in the yard. I have seen yard sales, and wondered who actually stops to buy
items that are laying on the grass?? So, if you want to get rid of the most items possible and for the best
possible price, here are some great tips for doing your yard sale the right way.
Set a date and time.
Saturday is typically the day people hold yard sales (or garage sales). Experienced yard sale buyers
expect to be able to haggle to get a lower price. Beginning your sale on Friday can be for a fewer
number of hours and you can advertise that prices are firm on the Friday. Many people let the sale roll
over into Sunday for a few hours to see if they can get rid of what’s left. In my experience fewer people
are yard-sale shopping on Sunday. Spring is usually the best time of year before temperatures get too
hot. Avoid hosting a pre-move yard sale on a holiday or a holiday weekend. Many people are traveling
during those times, and you could miss out on traffic for your sale. Start in the morning and end in the
afternoon – and be prepared for the early birds who show up before the set start time.
Check with local authorities.
It’s a good idea to find out if you need any special permits in your area. Do this step about 3-4 weeks in
advance of the sale so that if you do have to handle any paperwork, it’s finished in time for your sale.
Make an inventory.
If you list everything you plan to include in the sale, it will help you stay organized during the set up and
when the sale begins. Go through your home room by room, and be judicious. If something doesn’t
serve a purpose in your life anymore, it should go into the sale. We are going through each room and
boxing things that go into the sale. Items from inside the home are being staged in the dining room. Items from the garage or detached shop are being staged in the garage. It’s starting to get a little crazy
up in here!
The More Good Items, the Better
Yesterday I went through some cabinets that honestly house the most random assortment of things.
The cabinets are in the laundry room and I pulled out these contraptions that are meant to be used to
grill fish. I believe they were a gift from someone…sometime or another. We have never used them.
They are going into the sale. Even though “they” say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, I
suggest never including anything that’s broken, dirty, or in poor condition. Better to just get rid of those
items. Focus on items that generally do well in yard sales, such as vintage glassware, tools, and books.
Focus on items that generally do well in yard sales. Be sure to look at the attic, the garage, the
basement, and all closets. There are likely items in these areas that you may have forgotten about.
Be Creative with Advertising Your Sale
Signs on the side of the road are the most common ways to advertise your sale, but why stop there?
Take your marketing to social media. Create a Facebook event about a week before your sale and invite
friends who may be interested. Be sure to invite your neighbors – and ask everyone to spread the word.
The day before your sale, send a reminder of the event. The more you get the word out, the better
turnout you will have. And don’t forget to add a few enticing photos to that Facebook event. Let people
know the types of things that will be available.
Ask neighbors if they’re interested in joining in.
Bigger sales draw more attention. We’ve already asked our neighbors on either side of our home if they
want to put things out in their own yards and they expressed interest. Doing this allows you to advertise
to more people. At a minimum, be sure to let neighbors know the dates so they will be expecting
increased traffic in your area.
Pricing – it’s the key to the sale.
If your main objective in holding a pre-move sale is to make some money, be sure not to set your prices
too high. People go to yard sales looking for good deals, so you can’t charge the true cost of the item, or
even prices consignment stores would charge. Some typical pricing is $1 for a book, $2 for a clothing
item, $3 for kitchen items.
Think about pricing in bulk…it helps the shoppers think they are getting a bargain. Instead of $1 for each
book, offer 2 books for $1.50, or 3 books for $2. It helps move your items, and you’re still making
Most important: be open to haggling.
This is common practice at yard sales. Hagglers love getting a good
deal and will ask if you’re will take a lesser price than what is marked on the item. If they offer a fair
price, take it. If their offer is a little too low for you, then negotiate by giving them a price between their
offer and your original price. If there are items you know you won’t be willing to accept a lesser price
for, then be sure to mark the price and add the word “FIRM”. This lets buyers know you aren’t open to
haggling on that item. They may still try, but you’ve already established your price and can stand by it.
Organize your items on display.
Hang clothing items on a rack, or even a clothesline (or rope) stretched between two trees. Record
albums go in a cardboard box. Jewelry items can be displayed on a table, but put a cloth or felt under them to help display them. Try to spread out tables and items so that shoppers have room to move
about and browse.
Have refreshments on hand.
Here in the deep south the temperatures are already nearing 100, so we plan on having a big cooler of
cold bottled waters on hand. Store-bought chocolate chip cookies will also be on hand to give out. You
could charge for these items; however, we plan to just have them on hand and provide a couple of large
trash barrels for the refuse.
Be prepared to dispose of what doesn’t sell.
Having lived in this home for over 10 years, we have accumulated a lot of stuff. Stuff we need, and stuff
we don’t need. Our upcoming yard sale will hopefully get rid of a lot of the stuff we don’t need. But
what doesn’t sell, will either go to Goodwill, or some of it will go into the trash. We have rented a roll-off
dumpster and plan to use it liberally for things that really have no value (a broken down golf cart that
isn’t worth salvaging, or a gas grill that hasn’t worked the entire time we’ve lived here). Be creative with
how you dispose of the things that don’t sell. If they are things that can go to a consignment store or a
charity closet, then be sure to donate.
Take it all in stride.
A yard sale is great way to get rid of items you no longer want or need, and make some extra cash in the
process. But don’t take it all too seriously. Have fun with it and when it’s over be sure to dispose of
items that didn’t sell. Do not pack them and take them with you!
Every week I will be sharing our moving/downsizing journey with you, and lessons learned along the
way. I’m honored that you are coming along on this journey with me, and hope you will tell your friends
to follow along too.
Helping you create a beautiful home is what @Home With Sunflower Designs is all about. Each week we
offer suggestions on ways to add beauty and simplicity to your surroundings, so that you and your family
can enjoy your home. Until next time… #livecreatively!
Sunflower Designs helps you create a beautiful home one wreath and one space at a time.
Ann Bryant, Owner & Designer