How To Prepare For A Yard Sale: 5 Things You Need To Do NOW!

Preparing for a yard sale is definitely a process.

But how in the world do you start?


First, here are the Top 10 Reasons To Have A Garage Sale:

  1. To earn extra money
  2. To make room for new stuff
  3. To prepare for a move
  4. Because it’s fun
  5. To teach your kids about work
  6. To turn the “junk room” into a ___ room
  7. Because your teen doesn’t play with Strawberry Shortcake anymore
  8. To do some Spring cleaning
  9. It’s Step 5 in the “Packrats Anonymous 12-Step Program”
  10. To achieve family goals


#1 – Start Early

I usually start about 2 months ahead of time. That way, I can leisurely put together everything I want to sell in my next yard sale.

That said, for my most recent yard sale, I only had 2 weeks — because I decided at the last minute to have my sale on the same day as our Neighborhood Yard Sale. This meant I would benefit from their marketing in the local newspaper, local signs, word-of-mouth, etc.

For the most part, whenever I’m preparing for a yard sale, I’m also doing a bit of spring cleaning by purging all items that we no longer use.

I group items together by “theme” in a spare bedroom (and/or the garage). And in the weeks leading up to my yard sale, I start pricing the items and printing out all my signs. Yes, way ahead of time!

Planning and preparation is the key to a successful yard sale — in my opinion.

Here’s how to do it…


#2 – Gather Up All Of The Items You Plan To Sell

garage sale - sold $106.00

Start by going room by room throughout your house looking for items that you no longer want or use.

The familiar adage is, if you haven’t used it for a year, get rid of it… If you are renting a storage locker to keep your overflow possessions, why? Do you really need all that stuff? Why pay to store it when you could make some spare cash instead?J.E. Davidson

As you collect items that you want to sell, place them in large garbage bags or boxes and store them in a seldom-used room in your house (or inside the garage).


If you are able to group items by “category” or “theme”, it will be much easier to price the items and set them out for display on the day of your yard sale.


#3 – Compare Notes

neighborhood garage sale at new house – made $450If you’ve had a yard sale before, think back to what went wrong and what went right at your previous yard sales.

If you haven’t had one of your own, then learn from the mistakes of others by studying their best tips for having a yard sale.

Make mental notes of things you want to do at this year’s yard sale, based on what you’ve learned from previous ones.

And if you want to do it even better the next time, then take the time to jot down some notes.

Also, make a point to save as many items as you can from each yard sale — so you can reuse them at future sales.

For example, I’ve probably hosted a dozen or so yard sales in my lifetime, and I have one large Rubbermaid container that contains all my “necessities”. So, whenever it’s time to have another yard sale, I just drag out that one bin and everything I need is right there.

What’s inside:


#4 – Prepare Your Individual Items For Salemagic eraser

Two yard sales ago, I found a lifesaver. It’s called the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser!

Those little white cubes worked magic for cleaning things up a bit.

For the yard sale, they worked best on:

  • hard cover books
  • removing soot from candle jars & candle holders
  • cleaning out all the tiny nooks & crannies on plastic things like coolers, chairs, handles, lids, etc.

Also helpful were Lysol cleaning wipes. I used those to wipe down practically everything I was selling.

As a result, many of the items I sold looked much newer than they actually were!


#5 – Decide What You’re Going To Do With The Dog

dog-on-garage-stepsThe the dog lover in me agrees with The Queen of Yard Sales:

Although you may have the friendliest dog in the world, it’s best to keep them away from your yard sale. Some people are afraid of dogs or are allergic. The day of your yard sale may be the day that your friendly dog, unaccustomed to the excitement of all the people, may decide to take a chunk out of the toddler that pulls on his tail. (Or jump up on customer and get mud on a customer’s pants – but hey, I swear it wasn’t my fault – that customer shouldn’t have come to my yardsale until I was officially opened!) It’s also for the dog’s safety as well, since cars will be coming and going from your driveway.

At first, I gave my (very shy) dog room to roam back & forth from the kitchen to the garage — up to a certain point where I’d strategically placed tables to “block off” the back of the garage. But after awhile, I decided this was a bit confusing to him, so I let him hang out in the house alone. If your dog isn’t particularly comfortable entertaining himself in the house alone, you may want to try a crate or kennel instead. (My dog would’ve done just as well inside his crate.)


Continue reading my 14-part series:

Lynnette Walczak

I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money -- so I frequently write about "outside the box" ideas that most wouldn't think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed several years until switching gears to pursue things I was more passionate about. I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun websites).

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