Yard Sale Advice: What To Do With Leftover Garage Sale Items

What if, at the end of the day, you’re left with most of the items that you started with?…


Don’t get frustrated by the fact that most of your yard sale items didn’t sell.

It just means you either:

a) had a lot of stuff!


b) asked more for it than a typical yardsaler is willing to give

or …the most likely option

c) you just didn’t have the right shoppers come by your yard sale on this particular day

At the end of the day, what do you do with all of those items that you worked so hard to price… and lug down the stairs… and set up on your driveway… for all the world to see?

You have plenty of options!


1. Try again. Save everything you don’t sell and try again a few weeks (or months) later. But this time, mark all of the prices down… way down. You might also consider getting together with a couple of neighbors to host one big yard sale.


2. eBay. Not only are you practically guaranteed that each and every one of your items will be sold on a site like eBay, but you can also use the valuable lessons that you’ve learned from your own yard sale. Specifically: whichever items most people were attracted to at your yard sale…. those are the ones most likely to sell (and at higher profit margins) on eBay!

I agree, selling items online is a bit more time-consuming than having a yard sale (since you should photograph each item, and list each item individually), but it’s usually more profitable, too.


3. Freecycle. Make the day of someone in your own neighborhood. You never know what people want or need… Chances are, if you list all items you’re willing to let go for FREE on Freecycle, someone in your area will step up and be glad to take it off your hands — within hours! Or, try Craigslist.


4. Pass it on. Think places like doctor’s offices, hospitals, and nursing homes for books & magazines. Think friends and relatives for some of your favorite things that you just don’t have room for anymore. And think neighbors for those “unique items” that you know someone down the street collects, or a toy that a neighbor kid would love.


5. Local charities. Places like Goodwill and the Salvation Army typically have donation centers in most towns. In addition, there are a number of other local charities to choose from. Some will even come to your house to pick up the items for FREE! (In our neighborhood, ARC does this, as does the Salvation Army, among others.)

Just remember, at the end of your yard sale (no matter how much you actually sold)…

  • You win because you’ve managed to purge your home (and your life) of so much stuff that you no longer want or need.
  • Others win because you’ve given (or donated) some items to others who can use them.
  • And all who bought items at your yard sale win because they’ve picked up on some great bargains.

A yard sale is definitely a win-win for everyone involved!


How It Went For Me…

I sold $220 worth of stuff at my most recent 1-day yard sale. Not bad, but I’ve done better. At the one before this, I made $475!

Each time, I try to stick with my original intentions, as far as the “leftovers” are concerned…

The stuff I’m willing to let go for FREE I list on Freecycle right away. Usually after neighborhood yard sales, a donation truck or two will swing by for people’s leftover yard sale items, so typically give big clunky items to them. Then I take all clothing items to Goodwill. By the end of the week, all of my “free” stuff is usually gone.

As for the rest: eBay! It’s actually FUN to watch your items get snatched up by people who really want them. We usually list a few items at a time each week. (Because there are so many items to photograph and write up descriptions for.)


How To Get Rid Of Stuff Fast!

garage-sale-leftovers.jpgTo make the process of cleaning up after your yard sale faster & easier, and to get everything out of your house in a hurry, immediately after your sale ends (not later that night, not the next morning), divide all of your remaining items into 5 piles:

1. Items to donate. Bag or box these items up and prepare to take them to a local charity, or make arrangements for a charity truck to pick them up.

2. Items to sell on online. The majority of what you don’t sell can be sold online …and usually for a higher price than you would’ve gotten from a yard sale anyway!

3. Free stuff for whoever wants it. I use Freecycle. But other people prefer to leave these items in box marked “FREE” placed at the end of the driveway. Leave it there until garbage pick-up day, and anything that doesn’t get picked up can be thrown away or recycled.

4. Items to save for the next garage sale. IF you think you’ll have another yard sale in the future, AND you have enough space to store the items until then, then it makes sense to store some things away.

5. Items to keep. These are typically items that you only wanted to sell if you got the right price for it. We all have some of these. Usually they’re items that only you see the real value in.

Note: In my case, one “pile” was in the guest bedroom (donate), another “pile” was in my office (sell online), one “pile” was in the far corner of our garage (freebies), another “pile” was a large Rubbermaid bin in the attic (sell at next yard sale), and remaining things that I just couldn’t part with went to their respective places inside my house or attic storage.


Continue reading my 14-part series:


My Best Yard Sale, Flea Market & Thrift Shop Finds

Making Money On Yard Sale Bargains

Reasons People Won’t Bid On Your eBay Stuff

eBay vs. Garage Sales