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My Yard Sale Display Hacks: How To Set Up Your Yard Sale Space & Display Your Items For Sale

I’ve held a TON of yard sales and garage sales in my time.

My most successful was the time I made $1,013 in less than 5 hours!

One of my favorite things about continuing to have yard sales to this day is the process I go through each time to fine-tune what works and what doesn’t. I’m just detail-oriented like that. And I never want to lose track of a good trick I’ve learned along the way.

So I always jot down my favorite yard sale tips in the same notebook each time — and when I come up with enough of them that I’ve personally tested out and found to be true, I share them in an article here for others to use and enjoy at their own yard sales.

Here is my latest collection of tips that fall under the topics of “how to set up your yard sale space” and “how to display yard sale items”…

#1 – Hide anything you don’t intend to sell.

First and foremost, anything you do not want to sell should be moved as far away from the yard sale area as possible.

Or, cover those items with blankets and tarps.

I can’t tell you how many times people have wanted to buy items that were simply being stored in our garage.

These are just a few of the strange things that people have wanted to buy at my yard sales:

  • “I see a garden hose over there in the corner, are you selling that?”
  • “Is that bike for sale?”
  • “The footstool that you’re using to display items… is that for sale, too?”
  • “What about the magazine racks that are holding all those magazines… are you selling those?”

#2 – Find unique “props” for displaying your items.

Take a walk through your house and your garage — even glance through your attic and basement storage spaces — and look for items that have flat surfaces or unique hanging areas that would provide clever display spaces for your yard sale items.

Ladders work wonders as a clothing display rack (if you’re selling any clothing items). Use the ladder steps themselves as tiered racks to put your hangers on.

If your vehicle will be parked on-site during your yard sale, then use it to your advantage. Post signs on it, dangle items from the side-view mirrors (like a garden hose), or even place lightweight items that could be attention-getting on the roof of the vehicle (like a child’s ride-on car, Sit & Spin, etc).

Card tables, TV trays, even upside down cardboard boxes (sturdy ones), and plastic or wooden crates work wonders as a means for displaying your items for sale at a garage sale.

Similarly, blankets (of various sizes), rugs, sleeping bags, sheets, old bedspreads, even beach towels can be used to display items out on the lawn. My favorites are camping tarps and old shower curtains. These allow you to place items of a similar “theme” together on top of them, and they give a nice backdrop for your yard sale items. (Items randomly strewn out on the lawn don’t capture one’s attention very easily.)

Use your porch and nearby steps to place items at various levels. Displaying items at various heights makes it easier for people to “notice” those things when they’re glancing around at everything you have for sale.

You can even place items in the center of the driveway itself (on blankets, towels, or tarps, if desired) — leaving either side of the driveway as clear walkways around the items. We used the large cloth & plastic tarps that served as drop cloths when we painted the rooms inside our house.

#3 – Morning dew & afternoon sun can wreak havoc.

Since the grass is usually wet from dew in the morning, I recommend using a double layer of blankets on the grass, rather than a single layer — if you use the lawn to display your yard sale items.

You’d be surprised how quickly the water seeps through a single blanket or bed sheet — even when the grass doesn’t appear to be that wet!

Wet spots not only make your displays look tacky to the early morning visitors, but they could also damage certain items that should never come in contact with moisture (books, papers, magazines, cardboard, and some electronics).

On the other hand… in the afternoon, the sun’s rays could make some of your items on display become very hot to the touch. And if people can’t pick up an item to examine it, then they’re not going to buy it.

This is a little weird, but I saw it happen: it was a hot sunny day and the seller was trying to sell a make-up mirror – the reflection of the mirror caused a nearby cardboard box to catch on fire! 

~The Yard Sale Queen

Along those same lines… some items (candles, vinyl records, blow-up plastic items like air beds & pool floats) could even melt in the hot sun! Yep, it happened to me.

So, in the afternoon, be sure to examine any items that have been setting out in the sun. You may need to move fragile items into shadier areas, underneath tables, or maybe into the garage to permanently cool down.

#4 – Group items by “theme” to increase sales.

I’ve found one thing that seems to work really well is to include items of the same “theme” on each table or blanket space.

For example, at my most recent yard sale, I had the following areas (or themes):

Automobile stuffScrapbooking stuff
Rubber stamp stuffCrosstitch & embroidery stuff
CollectiblesBaby & kids stuff
New mom stuffBooks & magazines
Religious stuffHousehold stuff
Clothing itemsSports & athletic stuff
Computer stuffPet-related stuff
Health & beauty stuff

#5 – Have a yard sale, not a garage sale (if possible).

In some areas people call them ‘tag’ sales, but here in California we mostly call them garage sales. Weird, though, most are held in driveways and not in an actual garage. In addition to typical garage sales we also have ‘rummage’ sales which are generally put on by a local church or some other non-profit group.

~Donna Hentsch

Whether you call it a garage sale or a yard sale doesn’t really matter.

What is important is that you treat it like a yard sale and put as much stuff outside of your garage as possible. By displaying more of your items out in the open, you will naturally attract more attention to your sale.

Also, people are a little more hesitant to enter the “personal space” (garage) of someone they don’t know — even when invited to do so.

Unless someone is a seasoned yard sale shopper, it can be intimidating to march right into someone’s enclosed garage — especially if there’s no one else doing it at the moment.

This is primarily why “garage sales” tend to be less profitable than “yard sales”.

It’s a numbers game…

The more people who can a) see the types of things you’re selling, then b) choose to slow down when driving by your sale, and c) actually get out of the car to have a look around your sale… the higher your profits will be.

#6 – Out of sight, out of mind.

Regardless of how you choose to display your items for sale, make sure that everything is easily within reach and easily within view. If a person can’t see it on first glance, chances are that item won’t ever be sold.

So if there’s anything that’s hidden from view, move it!

If that means creating a whole new space for displaying this and/or other items, then by all means, do it. Yard sale items don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. You get one shot — so make it count.

Just remember, people usually won’t dig through or step over stuff to get to an item that looks interesting. Nor will they look up high or down low. That’s why the majority of your yard sale items should be within direct eyesight.

You want ALL of your items to be seen by shoppers who will be glancing to see everything from the center point of your driveway.

The more items that you place up close to the street, the more likely you will entice more people to stop at your sale. (And the larger the items, the better.)

It’s a fact that when people have to get out of their car just to see the type of items you’re selling, about half of them will skip that sale and drive on. So instead, make it easy for them by placing all your best stuff up close to the road, if possible.

Also, larger items (whether they’re valuable or not) are just good attention-getters!

Some sellers prefer to be stationed at the end of their merchandise, closest to the street. It prevents people from “forgetting” to pay for an item and they can also easily answer someone who drives by and asks “do you have any LP’s?”

~The Yard Sale Queen

Continue reading my 14-part series: