q How to Plan A Successful Yard Sale - Livable Solutions

How to Plan A Successful Yard Sale

Yard sale season is upon us again.  Maybe you call it a garage sale, estate sale or tag sale depending on where you are from.  As soon as the air is warm and kids are out of school yard sales kick into high gear in the Northeast.  People are ready to tackle their garages, basements attics and general clutter.  Selling items in this way can be a great way to clear large furniture items quickly and consolidate items to get ready for a move.  But, the whole process can be overwhelming without the right preplanning, supplies and resources.

Working as a professional organizer for almost two decades, I have run many sales and worked with estate companies helping my clients clear their items.  That’s why I created The Complete Yard Sale Planner and Printables to help the average person have the tools needed to create their own.

When to do a Yard Sale

As a Professional Organizer I often encounter homeowners interested in clearing clutter and selling their items.  However, I do not recommend a yard sale without some thoughtful consideration.  There are two main goals of a yard sale:

  1. Get rid of the items you no longer want.
  2. Make some extra cash.

In my view, the first goal is the most important.  Unless you are a professional antique dealer or estate sale service provider, you are probably choosing to do a yard sale to remove clutter from your home.  You choose a yard sale to get rid of it fast.  Making some extra cash is a bonus.  Recognizing this helps decide whether doing a yard sale will help you get these items out fast or be more work than it is worth.

You must recognize how much work a yard sale is.  It takes weeks to prepare, make sure you have the right supplies, signs, table set-ups and muscle to carry all of the items out to the display for buyers.

Even more importantly, you need to make sure that you have items worth selling. Typically homeowners focus on the original price they spent on the item. But, the actual worth is generally much less in a yard sale setting.  Often you can expect to sell it for about one third of what you paid…and that is if it is in excellent condition, still coveted and usable.

When weighing whether to do a yard sale you have to weigh consider the  time, effort and energy it will take to get the return your hoping for.  Unless you have a good amount of big ticket items or an entire house of belongings to liquidate, it is unlikely you will have huge sales.  Considering other methods such as Facebook Marketplace, Craig’s List or a consignment store may be more appropriate for a few of your really good items, furniture or specialty goods.  Consider the remaining items for donation or placement on the curb for free. Doing this will help reach the goal to clear out an area quickly. 

Consider the hourly rate you will make putting on a sale when you consider the preparation and effort involved.  I am all for running a yard sale if you feel it is worth spending the time.  Not sure? Consider calling a professional to help evaluate whether a sale will be profitable.

If you think you are ready to try your hands at a yard sale continue reading.

Begin by Decluttering

A yard sale cannot be a success without a variety of items to sell.  Thus, taking the time to declutter your space is the first step to creating a successful sale. 

First, identify the areas that you will want to declutter.  I have created a quick checklist of common areas in most homes to help guide you on where to start.

Decluttering Plan Templates in the Complete Yard Sale Planner and Printables

Next, print the labels to help sort your items into bins, boxes or bags.  Take the thought out of where to put items when sorting with designated categories such as donate, sell, repair, trash, keep or recycle .

Printable Sorting Labels in The Complete Yard Sale Planner and Printables

Quickly remove items from your home once you have sorted items to prevent them from piling up again. Recycle or trash items immediately. Put donation items in your car and schedule a time to deliver them.  Track your donations for tax purposes and keep the documentation in your files.

Stage an area in your home to put items for the yard sale.  Make sure it is an area that is easy to access on the day of the sale.

The printable Yard Sale Planner contains simple labels to quickly create for your declutter project.

Plan The Sale

Now that you have created a great sale pile by going through the decluttering steps, it is time to make a sold plan for the yard sale.

First, you must pick a date to hold your yard sale.  I have created a great sheet to help you identify a timeline of steps weeks and days before the sale.

Second, you must identify the equipment, signage and materials you will need to have on hand for the day of the sale.  You might need to schedule someone strong to help you move furniture or rent some tables to display your items.

Planning Pages and Templates from The Complete Yard Sale Planner and Printables

Next, you need to outline the tasks that you need to complete or delegate to accomplish your goals in time.

There are printables for all of these tasks in the Yard Sale Planner.


Getting the word out about your sale is an important step in making more money for the sales.

Printable & Editable Yard Sale Signs

The Yard Sale Planner makes this easy.  The bundle contains signs to post when and where the sale will occur.  Included are signs in multiple directions to send people towards your street.  Print as many as you need to place at major intersections around town.

Set-Up the Sale

Setting up a secure checkout station or just having enough change are key to smooth sales.  Knowing how to best price your items and having pricing tags ready will help you get items ready to sell.  Lastly, you will need department or category signs to set up your sale efficiently. 

Templates for Pricing Items in the Complete Yard Sale Planner and Printables

All of these templates included in the Yard Sale Planner make the process easy and quick.  All you need is a printer and you are ready to start setting up.

Category Signs to Visually Organize Item for Buyers in the Complete Yard Sale Planner and Printables

Lastly, you want to mark designated parking areas to avoid people obstructing traffic or going on your lawn.  Signs are also provided to help keep everything in order the day of.  My tip sheet helps with ideas to make the day go smoother.  For example, reminding you to plan ahead your food for the day.  Yard sales are exhausting.  Have a meal ready in the slow cooker for the end of the day when you are tired and hungry.

Count your cash

If you have priced your items properly you should have more cash in your pocket and less objects on your lawn.

Put your remaining items in boxes right away for donation and schedule a time to deliver them quickly to your favorite charity.  Place larger items on the curb for free and see them disappear without too much physical effort on your part.  

Enjoy Clutter Free Living

While it is a large effort, the true reward of a yard sale is clearing more space in your home.  Far to often items pile in basements, attics, garages and spare rooms without use or value to the homeowner.  The process of freeing yourself from clutter begins with S\setting a date and making a plan to remove those items. 

I hope this post helped you understand the pros and cons of holding a yard sale.  It is my goal as a Professional Organizer to make lives simpler and tasks easier.  It was a great joy to create The Complete Yard Sale Planner and Printables knowing it will help create plan of action for many families.

Happy Organizing!


Kristin Vander Wiede is a Professional Organizer and owner of Livable Solutions Professional Organizing and Life’s Lists printable organizing labels, systems and activities.

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