Do you want to make some money? Do you wish to clear out the clutter in your home? Holding a yard sale takes care of both these problems, and it doesn’t take as long to gather things for one as you might think.
In fact, if you are willing to devote one day, I think you could come up with hundreds of items to add to your yard sale pile.
Three days of work could easily add up to hundreds of dollars in your pocket. I know because I have made as much as $600 in one day selling things found on this list I am about to share with you.
Of course, you don’t need to do all the work in three days. I am all for taking the slow and steady path–after all, the name of my blog is Snail Pace Transformations.
In fact, if you take the slower approach, you will probably gather more items and make more money. But if you are highly motivated to toss the stuff, have an open schedule for three days, and have a few helpers–go for it!
Before You Begin Gathering Items To Sell
I know you are ready to start gathering that stuff and get it out of your life, but you need to do a bit of preparation work first.
Find Out If You Need A Permit
Visit your city or county website to find out their rules for yard sales. If you live in a community with an HOA, find out their regulations pertaining to yard sales.
Set A Goal
I always find that I am willing to toss more stuff in the yard sale pile if I set a financial goal for the garage sale; that makes me excited. For instance, we had our highest earning sale ever the year I wanted to raise enough to go on a long weekend trip with my hubby–without the kids.
Decide On What Type Of Sale To Have
Going in with another family or two to create a multi-family sale generally leads to a greater pool of potential buyers than hosting your own sale. However, if your neighborhood holds an annual community garage sale and you have plenty of stuff to make your sale look attractive to bargain hunters, then going solo will be just as successful.
Decide Where To Have The Sale
If you are going in with other families, decide who has the best location for a yard sale. One in a neighborhood that is a well-trafficked area, but offers at least a few parking spots for shoppers that are easy to get in and out of.
If there are several good options, think about who has a place to host the sale where you could set up beforehand without having to worry about morning dew or theft. In other words, choose a house with a double garage instead of one with no garage or driveway.
Decide When To Have The Sale
What is the best time of year in your area to have a yard sale?
In my area it is the month of June when the sun is out, but generally it isn’t too humid and hot yet.
What are the best days of the week?
In my area, Friday and Saturday sales are the most common. People with lots of stuff to sell might start Thursday so as to give their stuff one more day to sell. I have heard in other areas of the country Saturday and Sunday sales are more popular.
If you really don’t know, check out the yard sale listings on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and in your local newspaper.
What about the time of day?
8 am to 2 pm seems to be the standard hours for garage sales with a small handful of sales that start an hour earlier or end an hour later.
Gather These Supplies Before Gathering The Stuff
You have a goal, and you have set the date, location, time, and whether you are going solo or joining friends and family. You have one last step before you begin your three-day or longer garage sale sprint. You need to make sure you have the right supplies.
Boxes–and lots of them!
Ziplock bags in all sizes for smaller items as well as those with small pieces.
My handy room-to-room checklist. It will make sure you grab as many items as possible to sell. It will also help you stay on task! It is free to those who subscribe to my email list.
30 Things You Can Gather For Your Yard Sale Pile TODAY
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Finally we are getting to the part you have been waiting for, gathering the stuff! Empty home = full wallet.
Once you read this list, you are going to see that, obviously, you will end up with more than 30 things for your sale. It was just that “30 Types of Things That You Can Gather For Your Yard Sale Pile Today That Will Equal Up To Hundreds of Items to Sell” seemed like a really long title!
Use the forms in this article to grab your copy of the printable version of this list.
Print it out, snap it on a clipboard, and carry it from room to room as you start your quest to declutter your home and line your pockets with yard sale earnings.
But Wait! YOU NEED TO DO ONE MORE THING
Start Using Social Media To Build Excitement
After gathering your stuff, I will share with you a few places to advertise as well as what makes a great yard sale ad.
But I strongly recommend that you take pictures of the whole process of gathering items for sale and placing them on all your different social media accounts. Go beyond the gathering process too, and show pictures of the cleaning and pricing process as well.
Not only will this be great free advertising it will probably lead to pre-sales.
If you do get pre-sales, set firm rules that people are to pay for their purchases before the day of the sale. NO HOLDS past the start time of the sale without payment.
You might want to have plenty of change ready now too for those pre-sales.
Raid The Children’s Rooms
1. Outgrown or Not Worn Clothing
Too-small clothing is usually simple to grab and place in the yard sale bin, but don’t forget those clothes that currently fit, but your kids never wear. Like the sweater vest you thought would make your little man look handsome, but he refuses to get within 5 feet of it.
2. Outgrown Sporting Equipment
Gently used sports equipment is a HOT item at yard sales. Soccer cleats, baseball cleats, baseball gloves, shin guards, etc., all sell really well as most children don’t use them for more than a season and they have lots of wear left in them.
3. Outgrown or Ignored Toys
Chances are your children have plenty of toys that they have outgrown or never used.
4. Outgrown or Ignored Books
Gently used books sell well and honestly, most bookshelves in our homes only contain a small handful of books that are read over and over again. Take your child’s collection down to that small, well-loved handful and sell the rest.
5. Outgrown or Not Loved Room Accessories
Your 13-year-old daughter probably is not in love with those home decor items she picked out when she was 6. Add them to the yard sale pile and make another 6-year-old very happy.
Raid Your Room
6. Clothing That You Don’t Wear
Maybe it is too small or it itches or doesn’t fit quite right. Whatever the reason–if you don’t wear it, add it to the yard sale pile and make some cash from it.
7. Exercise Equipment You are Not Using
If the exercise equipment is being used to dry towels, it needs to go.
8. Books You Won’t Read Twice
Just like you dwindled your child’s book collection above to their favorites, it is time to take yours down to what you truly will open and read again.
9. Jewelry & Accessories You Don’t Wear
Scarves, belts, hats, jewelry–go through it all and keep just what you know you wear.
10. Room Accessories That You Are Not Treasuring
If you can write your name in the dust on it, then you don’t really love it. Put it in the yard sale and let someone who loves it take it home and put it to good use.
Raid The Kitchen
11. Doubles of Kitchen Utensils
I am talking about actual doubles like two can openers and such, but also two entirely different utensils that can serve the same purpose. For instance, if your can opener also has a bottle opener on it, you don’t need it and the bottle opener. Toss the bottle opener in the yard sale pile and enjoy a little less clutter in your kitchen.
12. Recipe Books
I don’t know about you, but since Pinterest came on the scene, I rarely use recipe books. If this is you, too, add them to the sell pile.
13. Small Appliances
Small kitchen appliances that are either still in the box collecting dust or have not seen the light of day in at least a year–add these to the yard sale pile.
14. Excess Storage Containers
How many empty storage containers do you really need? I suggest taking your collection down to half and selling the rest.
15. Excess Dishes
If you could set the table for a party of 20, yet you never serve more than 5, you can put some of them in the yard sale pile.
Raid The Family Room
16. Anything Collecting Vast Amounts of Dust
If you allow it to collect dust, you don’t love it, so sell it.
17. DVDs, CDs and Video Games
Chances are these collections hold titles you have not watched, listened to, or played in a very long time–sell them.
18. Excess Throw Pillows and Blankets
Pillows and blankets can turn a tidy room into a mess in a hurry–sell the ones you are not using.
19. Furniture that Just Isn’t Working
The coffee table that is just too small or too large. The lamp that is too short. The free-standing cupboard that is so big it makes the room feel really small. Sell these and then go yard sale shopping yourself to find pieces that fit better.
20. Coffee Books
You don’t need these–sell them.
Raid The Basement and/or Other Storage Areas
21. Excess Holiday Items
A few years back, I realized that I loathed decorating for Christmas simply because it had turned into an all-day affair. I spent an afternoon taking our collection down to half of what it was and don’t miss anything I tossed.
This goes for Halloween decor, Easter, Valentine’s Day, etc. Take it down to what is purely essential for your family.
22. Excess Recreational Gear
Those tennis rackets you haven’t used in years. The rollerblades you bought but never did master. Sell them.
23. Maybe Someday Items
Yes, you spent a lot of money on the fabric for that quilt, but if it has been sitting in a bag for three years now, chances are you are not going to get to it. Put it in the yard sale and let someone who will finish it take it home.
24. Excess Or Outgrown Seasonal Items
Jackets, snow pants, gloves, and winter boots. If there is no one next in line to wear these items or if you have more than one person who can wear in one size, then in the sell pile they go.
25. Stored and Forgotten Items
What exactly is in that box in the corner of the attic that hasn’t been opened in years? Whatever it is, obviously, you are not using it, so it should go in the sell pile.
Raid The Backyard Shed and/or Garage
26. Outgrown Gear with Wheels
Bikes, trikes, push cars, roller skates, skateboards, etc.—if you or the children are no longer using them, then in the yard sale pile they go.
27. Outgrown Backyard Play Equipment
If the slide now only comes up to your child’s knees, it is time to sell it and upgrade the play equipment.
28. Excess Gardening Tools
How many people really do yard work at once? If the answer is one and you have three of everything, keep one and sell the other two.
29. Excess Tools
Bought a new wrench set, but didn’t get rid of the old one that was missing a wrench or two? Now is the time to sell it.
30. Excess Hardware
The half box of screws from the fence project, the leftover finishing nails from that cabinet work you did, the old knobs you took off your cabinets and replaced. These things can bring in cash at a yard sale, and chances are they won’t be used in your next project.
How To Quickly Gather Stuff For A Garage Sale
I know the list looks long and overwhelming and if you have more than one day, then I would say take it at a slower pace–but if you don’t, you can still do this in one day.
Stay Focused On Collecting Stuff To Sell
Go from room to room, only collecting stuff on this list. Do not take the time to clean and organize what is left.
Leave The Sell Piles In The Rooms
Bring boxes into the room with you before you begin and fill them with the items for the yard sale. Pick one area of the room where you can pile these boxes as they fill up, as well as any other large items that don’t fit in them. Once you are done gathering items from that room, leave those items piled there.
The only time I would NOT do this is if you are grabbing items to sell in a young child’s room, as they will scatter your sale pile in less time than it took you to create it.
That said, when you are done gathering items in a kid’s room, immediately grab the sell pile and transport it to a room they don’t frequent.
If you have young children, you may want to arrange childcare elsewhere for your gathering day. There are a few free ways to do this, such as doing a childcare swap with a friend or asking local relatives to watch them if you can.
Keep Meals Simple
Plan a simple dinner or even takeout for the day you gather your stuff. Also, do not do this on a day when you have activities going on that night. You are going to be t.i.r.e.d.
What To Do With The Items To Sell Now That You Gathered Them All
Designate One Room In Your Home To All That Stuff
Now is the time to pick up the sell piles you created in each room. It will be easier to clean and price the items if they are all in one area.
Gather The Supplies You Need To Clean Items
My favorite tool for cleaning items for a garage sale is baby wipes. They are much cheaper than cleaning wipes and work just as well. They get into little cracks where dirt gathers in toys better than cloth rags. They are also great for removing stains from upholstered furniture.
For outdoor toys or larger plastic items, soft scrub and a scrub brush works well.
Give all clothing items, blankets, etc., a fresh launder.
Put plastic toys that fit into the dishwasher for a sanitizing clean.
Gather The Supplies For Pricing
Black Permanent Markers–have more than one so that someone can help or for when one goes missing.
Masking tape or Painters tape–Either works; use what is either cheaper or what you happen to have on hand. I use this to create price stickers for larger items.
Stack of printer paper for signs on boxes containing similar items you are selling for one price. For Example–“books $1 each” or “shirts $2 each,” etc.
Sheet Protectors–you can do without these, but it does make the box signs better able to stand up to wear and tear that shoppers put them through.
Pre-printed price stickers or blank price stickers that you can write on to create stickers.
Name tag stickers–I use these to price items that might need a bit of explanation, such as “needs a new part to run” or “works fine, but needs a new battery,” etc.
If you are having a sale with several other families, you may want to purchase different colored blank dot stickers for pricing so that you can keep track of whose is whose.
Gather the Supplies For Displaying The Stuff
Having the stuff that you are planning to put your items for sale on ahead of time will help you be able to set up quicker on the day of the big sale.
Can you borrow tables? Can you make some makeshift tables? Can you use a lightweight bookshelf to display your books for sale? Do you have something to hang a few of your best clothing items on? Two ladders, a curtain or shower rod, and duct tape can make a hanging rack for clothing.
In a pinch, tarps can be thrown on the ground and items displayed on them, but only do this as a last resort. People don’t enjoy crouching down to rummage through stuff, and some people might not be physically able at all. It could cost you customers.
Now It Is Time To Get Ready For Yard Sale Day
Always take time to price your items. You will lose sales if you don’t!
The general guideline for pricing items for yard sales is 10 percent of the retail price. Remember that is full price, not the thrifty heavy discount you might have paid.
However, larger and/or more expensive items will sell for a greater percentage of the retail price, especially if they are in like new condition. But remember, new items do go on sale for as much as 50 percent off quite regularly and your items are not new!
While pricing items, start putting similar items together on the tables you have gathered so that come yard sale day, you already have the tables organized.
Buy Supplies For Creating Signs
You will need packing tape, foam board, and colored printer paper to create weatherproof signs.
To waterproof the signs, you wrap them in packing tape.
If you don’t have access to a printer, buy a few sheets of colorful poster board and a thick black permanent marker. Buy sheets of foam board the same size as the poster board. You can cut both in half if you want. Just make sure the signs are big enough for your to write out all the details.
What you need to display them depends on the rules in your area. In some places, you can staple signs to poles, but others will want you to stake your signs in the ground. If you don’t want to buy stakes (here is a pack of metal ones you can tape the signs to), you can get around this by adhering your signs to a box and then placing a brick inside it to prevent it from blowing away.
Find What You Need To Accept People’s Money And Keep It Safe
You are going to want rolls of coins and a good amount of one-dollar bills, as well as a few five and ten-dollar bills. If you have a lot of big items for sale, you may want a few twenties too.
Download at least one app that will allow you to accept an electronic payment, such as PayPal or Venmo. You might also want to have Google Wallet or Apple Pay activated on your phone.
A waist apron with pockets or a small crossbody purse or fanny pack is great for keeping the cash on you. Use a cash box only if you plan on having someone sit by it at all times.
Make sure you have extra price stickers, permanent markers, and tape for slashing prices or replacing price stickers that go missing.
Purchase Food And Drinks
Make sure your cooler is ready and that you have a few cooler packs in the freezer or ice for it. Think about what type of drinks you want in it for sale day as well as snacks.
These can be just for those working the sale, or you can make some extra cash on yard sale day by selling them to the customers, too, along with cookies or other snacks (check the rules for your area before you sell food).
Create A Rainy Weather Plan
Even if the forecast isn’t calling for rain the day of, think through how you will deal with a sudden rainstorm. Can you keep some empty boxes nearby to throw the stuff in and rush indoors quickly? Do you have a few tarps, plastic paint drop cloths, or plastic tablecloths you could use to cover the items for sale?
Start Advertising Your Sale
Unless you are taking part in a neighborhood-wide sale, the key to a successful garage sale is advertising as widely as possible.
Start advertising on free sites 2 to 3 days before your sale. Depending on how the site you choose works, you may want to refresh your ad daily so that the algorithm continues to show it to more people.
Take a few good pictures of your best stuff and create a social media post that shares what (a few of the big items), where, and when. Cross-post it in as many places as possible, including your personal Facebook account, Instagram, Facebook Marketplace, Post My Garage Sale, Craigslist, and Nextdoor.
Practice Creating Your Storefront
If you have a small house and a lot of stuff to sell, you may not be able to do this until the morning of the sale. But if you have the space, use it to work out exactly how you want your sale to look.
Think like a store owner because, for one day, you are one! Think about presentation and traffic flow. As stores do, have all toys in one area, paperback books in another, etc.
Consider purchasing inexpensive plastic tablecloths so that all your tables match.
Use clear totes to corral similar items such as CDs and DVDs and place two large printed price tags in a sheet protector and tape them to the end of the box so that they will be visible to the buyers.
Consider A By Invite Only Pre-Sale
If you have a lot of stuff and you are wondering how in the world you are going to display it all, consider running a pre-sale for your friends and family members the night before the first day of your sale.
Host this sale inside your home or garage with the door shut so it doesn’t attract uninvited guests.
This is a great time to ask your yard sale queen and king friends for their expert garage sale tips and any other questions you might have about presentation or prices.
Finally! It’s Yard Sale Day
Get Your Signs Out
Hopefully, you have someone helping you on yard sale day so that one of you can go out with the signs an hour or two before you start, placing them at major intersections near the location of your sale.
While they are doing that, the other one can get a good start on getting the sale set up.
Keep Up Those Social Media Shout Outs
Snap a picture of one of your signs with all the details and share it. On Facebook, make the post shareable and ask other people to share it with their friends.
Throughout the sale share updates, showing items that still need a good home.
Set Up For Real This Time
You might have been able to do this the night before if you have a garage, but for those that don’t, start setting up a few hours before the sale.
Should early birds start shopping while you are setting up, let them, but don’t haggle with them. Tell them, “The sale doesn’t officially start until… I am not willing to negotiate on price right now.” If they really want the item, they will pay full price or come back when you are open.
Be An Active Seller
Good yard sale hosts rarely sit down. They are constantly tidying up their storefront (without getting in the buyer’s way, of course). Great sellers greet every buyer with a friendly hello and a smile. Awesome salespeople are always looking for ways to upsell “when my precious…wore that I liked to pair it with…and I have it for sale over here.”
Consider Deeply Discounting Items In The Last Few Hours Of The Sale
The number one reason for having this yard sale was to get rid of clutter. The second reason was to make money. Increase the success of both by discounting items during the last few hours of your sale.
If items of great value that you know will sell on eBay or Facebook marketplace still haven’t sold, gather them up in one area and exclude them from the discounts.
Place signs out stating “all items $1,” or “fill a bag with clothes for $5,” or “50% off price tag”.
Don’t advertise this in advance in any way. You don’t want people not buying something because they plan to clear you out later when everything is $1.
Be spontaneous about it. If sales are slowing and there is still a lot to move, go for it. But if sales are staying steady and piles are dwindling, don’t!
What To Do With What Didn’t Sell At Your Garage Sale
Once your rummage sale is over, you are left with two main choices of what to do with the leftovers. You can sell them or donate them.
I usually end up doing both. I sell the remaining items that have significant value and donate the small stuff.
Here is an article I wrote about how to prepare your items so you get top dollar when selling them on eBay or Facebook Marketplace.
And here is an article I wrote about how to have a virtual yard sale that will help you showcase all your leftover items to sell to your friends on Facebook.
Don’t Forget To Grab The List!
You can download a free copy of the 30 things to gather for your yard sale when you sign up for my email list using the form below. The printable is plain Jane, just like I am–meaning it is black and white and easy to read.