a pretty cool life.: Our excellent yard sale adventure

Monday, July 5, 2010

Our excellent yard sale adventure

My good friend and I hosted our first yard sale recently.  We’re both still on a total high with how well we did. I thought I’d share what a novice yard sale host like me learned from the whole thing.

Signs. Make more than you ever thought necessary and make them stand out. We made sure our hot pink signs mentioned that it was a multi-family sale, as well as some of the specific junk we were getting rid of really super items we were selling, like furniture, baby/maternity clothing, designer shoes/accessories, etc. (I will say, however, don’t go crazy with the verbiage. There’s only so much someone can read while stopped at a red light. Where and when are essential.)

Unless you live at an intersection or on a major thoroughfare, hang bright (matching) arrows pointing people in the right direction. We live on a small street that’s probably obscure to even those who live in the area, but people were able to follow our hot pink arrows. You may also lure in some shoppers who are just curious about where the arrows go…several people told us that’s how they found us!

We also advertised on Craigslist, and were sure to mention our pink arrows and what specific junk we were getting rid of really super items we were selling.

In order to keep our earnings straight, we each labeled our items with different color price dots. We knew that with 3 children 3 and under, we would both be running in and out of the house. I was green and my neighbor was yellow, so when someone bought something, we took the money and stuck the dot in our notebook. At the end of the day we were able to divvy up who made what easily.

We priced nearly everything because, like I said, we knew we wouldn’t be able to stay outside the entire time. Some things that we didn’t bother with were clothes and books. One sign on the front of the table was just fine. We had people ask about prices on everything, so I doubt spending a ton of time labeling each individual tshirt would have made much of a difference.

Also, some basic things that came in handy were lots and lots of singles for change, banquet sized folding tables to display our items, and shopping bags for the big spenders.

And a few final words of advice:

Sit on a box, sit on the ground, stand on your head. Just don’t, for the love, sit on one of these. Every. Single. Person. (and some of them twice) will ask you if they’re for sale.

Similarly, if you have your children in the yard with you and let them splash around in their baby pool or you serve lunch to them on their plastic picnic table, you will again be asked if those things are for sale. Even if there’s water in the pool or a child eating at the table, someone will ask. If you’re lucky, someone will just stop his car in front of your house, and without getting out, shout, “How much for the pool??”

If you have your children in the yard with you, every senior citizen who stops by will ask you if they’re for sale, too. Just smile. They think it’s hilarious.

Beware that yard sale success will breed a new eye for what you’re willing to part with. Every trip into the house for a drink or a trip to the bathroom had us eyeing potential yard sale merchandise. We plan to have another sale in the fall, and I’ve already started a pile of what I want to sell.

I’m certain I’ve forgotten all kinds of important things. I’ll add them if they come to me.

I also want to thank everyone who added their tips and advice on Facebook and twitter. Did you know A Pretty Cool Life was on Facebook and twitter? Go become a fan now and go follow now.


  1. Hi Cheryl! My friend and I have two sales a year (Spring and Fall) and we have the best time. We code our pricing labels with our first initial and price (ex. C 1.00) so we can use the labels from the Dollar Tree. We also keep ours in a notebook to tally later. I post on Craig's List for 3 days prior to the event and then the morning of. I also always have a nice homemade lunch and dessert to make the event even more special! Best of luck with finding more items to purge for the next one!

  2. Thats such great advice. Thanks for posting it, especially now that is garage sale season round here. I haven't done one in years but I'm thinking about it this year. Your blog is a wonderful read.

  3. Glad it was a success! I'm moving to your neck of the woods in 3 weeks.

  4. I'm so glad it went well. I bet people ask if your kids are for sale - weird LOL

  5. I love yard sales! Our apartment complex has one twice a year and I think it's a great idea.

    I have similar comments from senior citizens about my son being for sale when I'm at the grocery store. They always ask what isle I found him on.

  6. Old people love the "is she for sale?" line. I just go along wit it. ;) Glad your sale went well!

  7. Thanks for the tips! Love the bright pink you used for signs-really makes it stand out and I'm sure more people noticed them!


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