How To – Planning Your Perfect Yard Sale Things You Need To Know

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    Throwing a yard sale is not much more then emptying your home on to the driveway and throwing a BBQ while shoppers buy your stuff … unfortunately there is a little more to it then that if you want to get the most out of your stuff and keep in the good graces of your local officials.

    Yes unfortunately due to a handful of new laws and possible home association rules the easy old yard sale has become more complex. Lets hit the worst of it first then we can get to the fun part and making some money.

    Federal, State and Local Laws

    Every State is different but new Federal Laws have been passed that can effect some of the things you may want to sell.

    If you are selling Toys, Electronics or just about anything that could have come under a Safety Recall DON’T DO IT. A new Federal law could have you paying enormous amounts in fines if you sell a dangerous recall item. For that reason if you happened to get a notice in the mail about a recall or if you have any doubt you should check the Federal Recall Website for your item.

    State Laws may come into play if you are selling items in a State that collects Sales Tax. Yes even if this is a once in a lifetime event for your family you may end up dealing with someone asking for your Sales Tax ID. They are relatively easy to get and often small sales which are not part of a business activity are not covered but its best to check.

    Business Activity … there is another one. Some people have yard sales like a weekly hobby. They are semiprofessional at it and collect items from various different places and sell them on the weekends. Hey if you like the atmosphere it can be fun.

    In this case the State or Local authorities may require that you get a business license. And of course along with the license comes fees and regulations. Selling used items can be a pain in the neck when you have to deal with it all.

    Local Regulations may require a start time after 8am or set backs from the street. If you live on a high traffic road you could end up being fined for being a nuisance and remember to keep the noise down even during the day loud music and other noises open you up to fines for disturbing the peace.

    Home Owner Associations bring their own little set of fun. Check your rules most associations will regulate who where when hows of yard sales.

    What other things do you need to plan for other then regulations?

    When possible you want to have a few people helping you. You can invite friends or recruit family but when ever dealing with money and people you don’t know it is a good idea to have a few people that can help you watch things.

    Make sure the doors and windows of the rest of your house are locked and don’t bring people inside to use the bathroom or get a drink of water while everything is up for grabs.

    Place your more expensive items in your garage and if you have one keep your door remote on your belt. This will allow you to close your garage and go to a neighbors if necessary.

    Sounds a little scary now doesn’t it… the BBQ had you going but now its a lot to deal with.

    Well thats the idea …. Think about it … with no training you are opening your own store. Sure the items may not be worth much but in addition to the stuff you want to get rid of there is everything else you want to keep.

    Planing ahead will remove all of these headaches.

    Keep a Cell Phone with you at all times.

    Watch Your Money
    Never keep all of your money in one place. You should have enough money in one pocket to cover making change for up to $20. That means a few singles and a couple fives. Other then that don’t pull out a wad of cash to break a $10 so someone can buy that old set of glasses.

    As your change money goes down put a five and singles in your pocket to replenish the change and keep your other bills in your other front pocket out of sight.

    Try to think of all the possible scenarios and maybe visit a few yard sales and ask the sellers if they ever had problems. Most likely 99% of the time you won’t have any problems but thinking ahead will give you that edge.

    Pricing Your Stuff

    Some items you want to price based on what you know is the fair market value for them.

    If you have relatively new lightly used tools you will still need to take a loss over retail.

    For items that you don’t want to sell for $1 to $15 you should check your local news paper and sites like EBAY to get general values.

    Don’t worry about setting the price slightly high … as a matter of fact its probably not a bad idea because most people who attend Yard Sales expect to talk down the price of items.

    If they try to get too low then your research will tell you not to make the deal.

    What things can you sell?

    Basically you can sell anything you want to but you should really stay away from some items:

    • Food Products, sealed or freshly cooked or from your garden – all not a good idea.
    • Tobacco, Alcohol and yes Firearms You can probably sell these things but its probably not a good idea. On the other hand Fishing gear and camping stuff are great sellers.
    • Health Care items, Medicine even unused items are not a good thing to be selling.


    There are three types of advertising you should use.

    The first would be word of mouth Tell your friends and neighbors. They may want to join you or have you sell something so you can ask them to help.

    Street signs – be careful about this you don’t want to go crazy about placing signs all over especially if you are doing so on private property. Most states have regulations but will generally let you slide on a couple signs if you take them down right after the event. If you are going to place a sign then do it on the day of the event or one or two days before.

    News Papers and maybe online – News papers are the standard advertising venue for Yard Sales. This lets you reach a bunch of people who are interested in attending sales that day.

    Setting A Time

    No matter what time you set the start time at you will likely have people arriving at the break of dawn to get first chance at that cracked glass dish you won on vacation 6 years ago.

    Always set the Start time later then you want by at least an hour and set the end time earlier then you expect. Remember people ignore these times so give yourself a little wake-up and wind down time.

    Stage your items

    Its important to get all of your things ready and placed in your garage the night before. This will let you set them up quickly without running around trying to find them as people show up.

    Make sure you have a good view of all your items. Don’t hide stuff behind cloths racks and be ready to shout out prices so know what you want to get.

    Final Note

    You will never know how easy or hard pulling off a successful yard sale can be until you try it.

    If you have never been to one then it is a must before you try it on your own.

    You will have a lot of fun doing it and if friends and family help it will be all the better.

    Think first… plan and research…

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