Clean out your house by hosting the best yard sale ever

With a few simple strategies, you can turn your pile of unused, unwanted items into cash by planning a big garage sale. Clean up the items you’re selling, price them to go and throw in any items you don’t want to put back in your house or garage for free to be sure they’re gone by the end of the sale.

1. Pick the right date for your yard sale.

Consider having your sale near a common payday (the first or 15th of the month). Avoid scheduling your sale on a holiday weekend or during a widely attended community event.

2. Shop your house for items to sell.

Walk through every room with a laundry basket and grab what you no longer need.

3. Give yourself at least two weeks to gather and clean items.

Nobody wants to buy dirty things, even when the price is low. Give yourself sufficient time before the sale to prep items. Clean, tidy items will sell faster than ones where the buyer will have to do extra work.

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4. Arrange like items together.

Pick a spot, such as a basement or spare bedroom, as a staging area. Organize according to function: kitchen, clothing, books and music, toys and tools.

5. Tag your yard sale items right.

Use preprinted price tags from an office supply or hardware store, or ink the price on painter’s tape, which won’t leave a mark or tear paper. If you have an interesting idea about how to use an item or a fun fact about what you’re selling, include that information on the price tag.

Have these essentials at the ready on sale day: tape measure, yardstick, calculator, extension cord and batteries (so shoppers can make sure items work).

7. Be an attention grabber.

Make your signs big, bold and easy to read. Use wording such as “HUGE sale TODAY.” Tie balloons to your mailbox, gate or other highly visible spot near the street.

8. Post signs in your neighborhood.

Follow local ordinances, and include grocery stores and coffee shops in your plans. Yard sale signs should feature directional arrows, cross streets and time and date information. If you have toys or children’s clothing, post a sign near area playgrounds.

9. Advertise in multiple ways.

List your sale on, a site that helps people plan their shopping by finding sales on a map. Post your sale in the Garage Sale section on Craigslist, cross-referencing special items in the appropriate categories.

10. Get an extra set of hands.

Putting on a yard sale is a two-person-minimum job. One person should tend to the checkout while the other helps load vehicles and answer shoppers’ questions.

Have plenty of grocery bags and boxes — anything that will make it easy for shoppers to tote things home. Rubber bands and string are helpful to bundle loose items.

A day or two before the sale, get plenty of small bills and coins from a bank. Keep money to make change in a tackle box, a cupcake pan or a fanny pack.

13. Fill a $1 basket to position near checkout.

Shoppers can’t resist a final opportunity to dig for a deal. Likewise, make a “free with purchase” box and include small stuffed animals, children’s books, bouncy balls, bags of loose crayons and other similar items. Young shoppers will appreciate a little token.

14. Place large eye-catching items close to the road.

People will be enticed to stop in rather than cruise by.

15. Group things as they are in department stores.

Designate sections for housewares, media, clothing and toys.

Adult clothing can be the hardest thing to sell, but it has a better chance of moving if you merchandise it well. Use a garment rack, or hang clothes on a clothesline or from a ladder.

17. Cover tables with colorful plastic.

This technique works on the subconscious: shoppers think your items are worth the price you ask. Place items at eye-level for fast sales; avoid putting items on the ground.

18. Display jewelry on fabric or a blanket.

Wrap a section of cardboard with fabric and pin pieces to it to show off these small items. Keep anything valuable near the checkout.

19. Put baby clothes and toys near the back of the sale.

People will need to walk past everything else to get to these hot items.

It gives the eye something to see beyond the tables. And on the tables, create varied levels by using supports, such as small covered boxes. The changes in height force the eye to stop rather than simply scan.

(Better Homes and Gardens is a magazine and website devoted to ideas and improvement projects for your home and garden, plus recipes and entertaining ideas. Online at

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