A Dealer’s 16 Steps to an EPIC Yard Sale!

15 steps to an epic yard sale
16 Steps to an Epic Yard Sale

A Successful Garage Sale from the Perspective of a Dealer~


As a dealer, I go to many yard sales every weekend. Over the years I’ve learned what yard sales attract me, and which ones don’t. Follow these 16 steps and I guarantee I, and every other dealer in town will be making a beeline to your sale! Garage sales are irresistible to the average person too, so make all that prep work count!


  • Write a descriptive ad. See What Not to Say in Yard Sale Ads for do’s and don’t’s on what to write to draw a crowd. Dealers look for vintage items and junk, so if you’ve got that, tell it!


  • Good advertising is a must. Put your ad in the paper, Craig’s List, and Facebook with plenty of pictures. Write & post your ads days in advance for maximum coverage. You will miss interested people if you wait to post until the night before, or the day of the sale.


  • Timing: NOT 6 am! Best time of day to start is 7-8 am. Most estate sales start at 9 am, so have yours to draw in estate sale goers.


  • Signs: On the day of the sale, put out lots of signs so buyers can find you easily.

What are the Best Signs?


*Signs on Neon paper, but cut the paper down so it’s not flopped over hiding all your info.


Yard Sale Ad on Neon Paper
Yard Sale Ad on Neon Paper


*Signs with the date. My bad above…no date. Don’t just say “Saturday.” Passersby don’t know how old your sign is.


*Signs with humor are eye-catching!


yard sale sign
Funny yard sale sign


*Signs that are legible. No cursive lettering! Write in BIG BLOCK LETTERS. Not everyone has GPS or even a cell phone, and some are out of towners looking for a sale, so your strategically placed signs are invaluable. The sign below is hard to read because the print is too small. Drivers would wreck the car trying to see and read these details!


what not to say in yard sale ads
Hard to read sign



  • Display items on tables if at all possible rather than a tarp on the ground. You will make more sales when items are within easy reach. I’ve passed up many a bag when I didn’t feel like bending over to go through it.

What if you don’t have enough tables? Make displays with ladders. Make extra room using wooden planks passed through the steps on the ladder. An old door placed across sawhorses makes a wonderful table. Or use the door on top of a couple of card tables.

  • Display attractively to grab attention! Hang clothes up. Make hooks out of coat hangers or paper clips for light items. Hang purses on ladders or shelving. Group like items together.


  • Ideally have your stuff visible from the street. Arrange your loaded tables & furniture out in the driveway, where passersby can see you. The more, the better. Have the best stuff out in the driveway closest to the street to attract more people to stop.


  • Clean it! No one wants to pick up an icky thing you’ve had stored in the shed. I wonder what’s going to come crawling out of it.


  • DON’T display your item with a page from Ebay showing what it’s supposedly worth! This is a HUGE turn-off, and not an accurate gauge of value. Having a figure in your mind of what you want to get is a better way to approach this. When I see Ebay pages at a yard sale, I pass right by.



  • Price everything! I can’t tell you how important this is! I’ve seen it over and over. Buyers are reluctant to ask the price. Even if you think to yourself, “Why price when I’m going to get hagglers?” Some people do pay full price though. You will sell more if you have items priced. I’ve paid full price many times when I thought it was reasonable.


  • Price to sell! You want to get rid of it? You’re moving, downsizing, making more room in your house? Pricing like retail or perceived antique value is a mistake. I’ve been to many yard sales where the prices were higher than estate sales! Your items might be worth it to you, but no one is going to chunk down $50 readily at a yard sale. At a sale recently, the seller was asking $1000 each for rolling metal toolboxes! And their ad said “Everything Must Go”!

Extra Tips~


  • Bring out ALL your junk! Believe me when I say dealers look for junk! I remember years ago putting out one of my old science projects from school. I figured no one would want it. Ha! It was the first thing to go!

  • Carry the cash. Be ready with lots of cash on your person, rather than running in the house to get it.


  • Friends to sell with you. Get like-minded friends who also have plenty of junk to join you. Remember, the more junk the better!

What to Expect~


  • Expect Hagglers. Although I’ve never personally encountered it, I’ve heard of people haggling over 50¢! I remember going to a yard sale years ago. The seller took my $20 bill, and KEPT it saying, “my item (whatever it was) is worth this.” He didn’t give me my change back & I was too timid at the time to protest.


  • Expect Early Birds: I remember the day I realized I was an early bird because I showed up 30 minutes early. I always thought early birds were those who came a day early, and these are annoying, I agree. I truly understand the annoyance. Here’s the reason for early birds:

    We have to beat out Joe Blow and get there before he does.

    We are programmed to be early birds because homeowners don’t stick to their start time. They start 30 minutes to an hour earlier than advertised, and sometimes even the day before.

    I remember going to a yard sale last year at advertised start time. They were CLOSING at their start time! 


15 steps to an epic yard sale


If you’re still reading to this point, what are YOUR tips? Do you have any to add?


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As an experienced online seller for 19 years, I've just begun to reveal some of my selling secrets. In my Vintage Finds posts, I show what I buy for resale, and sell for. Because many items are vintage and need TLC, I show these DIY's, and how I refurbish to sell. I love picking, junking, thrifting, and shabby chic style.

10 comments on A Dealer’s 16 Steps to an EPIC Yard Sale!

  1. You nailed it again. What I hate is to walk up to 2-3 tables not quite full and the seller says she didn’t have time to price anything. It was too much trouble. Having a yard sale is so much work, blah, blah, blah. Sorry, but there’s enough junk in the world without me going to the trouble to ask the price.

  2. If you are trying to clear out a house and are considering renting a dumpster. Create a free pile at your tag sale — it’s amazing how much stuff goes. Ones mans trash is another mans treasure.

  3. Florence how can someone be closing at the start time? Did everyone rush to go earlier? I had a fellow one year who knocked on our door looking for the items the day before. He wanted to come in and have the pick of the litter, but we asked him to come back the next day. Sometimes they are looking for something very specific. I’ll be having another one when I go back to the States. Thanks for all the great tips!

    1. Ha, they closed at the start time because they started a whole lot earlier than advertised. That happens all the time. You go to a sale and it’s clear they started way earlier. Yes and that scenario you describe with a fellow coming earlier….that happens all the time too.

  4. Perfect steps, Florence!! Now if we could just get them into the hands of everyone holding a garage sale, we’d be all set, right? (LOL) Thanks so much for party-ing with us at Vintage Charm–

  5. Great advice for a successful yard sale. I need to follow them and have a giant yard sale ( but I probably won’t). Thank you for sharing your tips at Snickerdoodle.

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