In writing about our personal experiences, we sometimes mention products or services that we use or recommend. This page may contain affiliate links for which we receive a commission.
When it comes to having a successful yard sale, you should always have a rain plan.
Otherwise, if it rains, you’ve gone to a lot of work for nothing!
Following is some great advice if you’re contemplating having a garage sale, and you want to be prepared in case it rains…
It is important to keep in mind that people do go garage sale-ing in the rain. For some, it is a treasure hunting event not impacted by weather. These are die-hard shoppers. They simply put on boots and raincoats and take advantage of those garage sales that are open. And, they are ready to buy. Others are available to yard sale shop because their schedules have been freed — the outdoor events they needed to attend (soccer games, craft fairs, etc) were canceled and they have some “extra” time. On the other hand, it is fair to say that the most casual garage sale shoppers, the browsers will stay home until the skies are more blue and less cloudy. Source
Have A Rain Plan
First and foremost: if you think it might rain on the day of your yard sale and you don’t mind selling in the rain, make sure to state that your sale is rain or shine in your ad (preferably in the title). You’ll definitely get a few more sales that way! Did you know that you can modify your online ads at any time? Yep. So use that to your advantage for things like rain, valuable items you forgot you were selling, notice that everything’s half-off on the second day, or maybe everything’s free during the very last hour.
Second most important: make your yard sale signs rainproof. Cover every inch of your signs with clear packing tape. Don’t have any wide clear tape on hand? Cover your signs in drycleaner bags — you know, those thin plastic, see-thru ones. You could use a glue stick to make the plastic stick seamlessly to your sign. Or use a little glue and a few staples.
Okay, so this was my personal rain plan:
I’m only having my sale on one day — Saturday. If it rains, I’ll have the sale on Sunday. After that, rain or shine, whatever is left goes to Freecycle, where people will come pick it up from my porch — for FREE. Anything with “real” value, will immediately be sold on eBay.
It didn’t rain. I made $220. See what I did with everything that was left.
Still, it’s a good idea to have certain items on hand — just in case it does rain. Those items include:
- Tarps (even if they’re ripped, torn, or have holes in them — a holey tarp is better than no tarp!)
- Shower curtains and shower curtain liners (they can be used just like tarps)
- Blankets (or old floorcloths left over from painting the rooms inside your house)
- Tables (you can always scoot larger, more fragile items underneath the tables to keep them dry)
- Boxes (the larger the better, since you’re going to turn them upside down as a “lid” for items on your table or driveway)
- Tents (they make great “sheds” to get items out of the rain in a hurry)
A bonus tip for motorcycle riders (like hubby and myself)… wear your brightly colored rain gear if it’s raining at your yard sale. Seriously. You (and your yard sale) will definitely get noticed by passersby — which means more potential sales for you!
And finally, here’s a great rain plan idea from a fellow yard saler:
Have an evacuation plan. A good idea is to make some sort of plan for grabbing items and fleeing inside. Our advice is to grab things in a fairly specific order: paper products, items in cardboard boxes, jewelry, electronics, cloth items, wood, toys and then metal items. We put paper items first because they can literally be destroyed by rain. Electronics, which many people would grab first tend to have a certain amount of durability. Source
Take Advantage Of The Rain
Think like Disney World does.
What does everyone do the moment it begins to rain at an amusement park?
They dash into the nearest gift shop to buy a rain poncho!
If you’ve got some hooded rain jackets, windbreakers, rain ponchos, or umbrellas lying around (honestly, I have several of these that I’ve been holding onto for years) then you have 2 options:
- Make your yard sale rain-friendly.
Display a bunch of umbrellas that are already opened up and lining the entrance to your driveway! Encourage shoppers to grab an umbrella — or a poncho or windbreaker — and shop away. (If you’re smart, you’ll have a few signs already made and placed inside sheet protectors stating that the umbrellas and/or rain ponchos are “free while you’re browsing.”)
- Sell all of your old umbrellas… and rain ponchos, windbreakers, and rain jackets!
You probably don’t need them anymore, right? C’mon how often do you use them? You might be surprised how many people will swing by your yard sale just to buy an umbrella that’s easy to see is for sale on a rainy day — especially if you have some really unusual ones, like oversized golf umbrellas, super-cute kids umbrellas, and colorful options.
Good Things To Know In Case It Rains…
- Before you start advertising your yard sale, check the weather forecast for the coming weekend. If it looks like a washout, don’t waste your time. Personally, for me, that would be 60% or greater chance of rain/thunderstorms.
- If it does rain (especially if it begins to downpour) while people are shopping at your yard sale, just know that everyone will want to seek shelter inside your garage, on your covered porch, and under your trees. And if you happen to have a canopy tent on the property (one year we did), they’ll stand under that too. This is actually a good thing — because they’re more likely to find something worth buying at your sale while they’re waiting for the rain to pass.
- The truth is… overcast days are often more successful than sunny, hot days for yard sales. Why? Because people will browse much longer when the sun isn’t constantly beating down on them. And it’s much more pleasant to shop when the temperatures aren’t scorching hot.
- You know how I always say to display yard sale items on tarps, blankets, and in boxes, and on tables? Well, here’s another reason that makes sense: all of those items make it incredibly easy to “drag” your items into the garage and out of the rain. Don’t want to drag the tables? Cover them with a tarp (or large plastic garbage bags or old shower curtains), and drag items under your tables to protect them from the rain!
- If you know ahead of time that the rain chances are pretty good, then I would encourage you to move your patio table (and patio umbrella!) to the front of your house the night before, and use it as your cashier table all day long.
Cover your items without looking like you’re covering your items. With a little extra effort, you can rainproof your yard sale in advance. Just put all your small items in clear ziplock sandwich-style bags. Most clothing items, for example, will fit in gallon bags. You can also assemble matching kids’ outfits in these. Try buying specialized plastic sleeves for your collectible paper products, including comic books, magazines and baseball cards. Even better you can write the prices on the bags themselves, rather than on the product you’re selling. Source
I like to help people find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about "outside the box" Household Tips and Life Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I'm super-organized. And I LOVE to clean! I even enjoy doing laundry (but not ironing). I’m also a lifelong dog owner — so I often share my favorite tips for living with dogs inside your home (like smart home design choices and dog-friendly cleaning & decorating ideas). Career-wise, I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). Prior to that, I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I'm truly passionate about instead. For example, 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. When I’m not cleaning, organizing, decorating, or fixing something… you'll find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).