What You Make of It - Simple Ideas Series - Easy Bookcase on Wheels
Plan Ahead Events - Sunday July 27th San Francisco, CA

Let's Talk - Reader Discussions - Successful Yard Sales, Garage Sales, Tag Sales

Lets_talk_yard_salesI think I can safely say that all of us have visited a market, yard sale, antique show or thrift store at one time in our lives. We all love to scour and hunt treasures of all kinds and they probably vary  from person to person on what we look for.  So what happens to those items that we are ready to part with or in my case no longer have room for. The cycle continues and we prepare for our own yard, garage and tag sales.

I'd like to start our first ever Reader Discussion with you on the topic how to have a successful yard, garage or tag sale. I'm preparing for my first yard sale outdoor vintage attic sale along with my savvy mother-in-law.

I've been doing my research and have taken the first step in to having my sale which is obtaining a permit from my city and advertising via the local paper and other venues around town.  I know from experience, that I really enjoy sales that are organized, eye catching and no sign of four legged hounds ready to pounce. To me there is nothing worse than starting your day with someones puppy muddying you up and scratching your legs ( I know this one from experience). No doggie here and don't get me wrong love the furry friends, but I like to shop without worrying about them.

My questions for you as a buyer or seller. I'd like to hear both sides:

1. Price Tags?  Stickers or nothing "What's the price on this" ?
2. Light music in the background?
3. Drinks? Yes/No Coffee, Lemonade, Bottled Water
4. Haggling, yes, no make me an offer?
5. Organized? by vignettes, price, item.
6. What about a sale that's actually good and not a bunch of junk. How do your determine a price?
7. How to price children's clothing, adult clothing? I didn't advertise clothing because I don't have a lot of it but I do have some. Me personally I skip the sales with all the clothes it's just overwhelming to me. You?

Post your best Yard Sale Tips:
Share from your experience your likes & dislikes of buying and selling at a personal home sale.

My Tips - Sites to advertise your sale (please ad yours if I'm missing any)
Local Newspapers
Local Community Papers/Recorders



ehg. PRICE TAGS... Selling water is a great idea.

Gabreial, Vintage Indie

Hi Meghan,

Thanks for your comment.

Jenna Z.

I am both a buyer and a seller, I love a good yard sale and I love to get rid of my junk at my own sales!

Definitely price tags, I HATE when nothing is marked and you figure "Well, they'll bargain and I can ask for this whole group of items for $5" and then they're all like "$4 for that, $3 for that, $2 for that and $6 for that." And I'm like *dropping all items and running away*. Very seldom have I gotten a good deal at a no price tag sale.

If it's the end of the day or the second day and you're up for haggling, a sign with something to the effect of "prices negotiable" or "Make an offer" is appreciated. I don't like it when I try to haggle and people are offended. It's a tag sale, not some ritzy boutique!

Pricing depends on whether you want things to fly and get rid of all your junk taking up precious space in your house or whether you are in it for the money. I am always about getting RID of things so I price things to move. I'm a big fan of 25 and 50 cents on most things. Clothing can be 25, 50 cents or $1. or if it's a complete outfit maybe up to $3, depending on quality and condition. I think clothes are overwhelming too (good to hear someone else say that), I wish I had the patience to really dig around and find bargains because I hate buying clothes at the store. I also tend to skip jewelry if it's all bunched in plastic bags because it's too much trouble to shuffle through them and find something I might want. Trays with loose jewelry and a sign "earrings 50 cents each pair" etc are a good way to go.

I like sales where items are organized in a logical, functional order. Kitchen items together, clothes together, bathroom items together, outdoor items together. Vignettes by color or style might be cute but again, this is a garage sale not a boutique and I want to get in as many sales in a morning as I can! If I'm standing around gawking at your adorable spread, I won't make my quota!

As far as a really good sale as opposed to one that is junk, I have a hard time paying antique store prices at a yard sale. I just won't do it. If you want to make a living buying nice things and reselling them, invest in the business and get a retail space or a share of retail space. Or pedal your wears to a store that you think is a good outlet or do the flea market/fair circuit. A garage sale is a garage sale is a garage sale, not a fancy boutique. That is a pet peeve of mine, when I can tell someone has purchased items specifically to mark up and sell at their tag sale and expect me to pay $8 for an old diary I know I can get a the next garage sale for .50. If I pay those kind of prices, I want not only the goods but the experience that goes along with flea market/antique store shopping, not walking around in your garage!


- Absolutely put a price on everything.
- Grouping is a nice idea - I do by "like" items.
- We usually offer bottled water in a big cooler brimming with ice and have the kids sell it (gets them out of our hair and they keep the money).
- We never put out junk, questionables go in the FREE box (better than in the landfill)
- Most items are 25 cents to $10 for the really good stuff (ie: vintage pottery, etc., new appliances, small furniture)
- I put out a rack of clothing from $1 for t-shirts to $3 for dresses (all good names, no walmart junk)

Make sure you have really good signage. Big bright signs, all you need are big arrows, skip the address in tiny letters. There is nothing more annoying than following signs that just end in nowheresville.

We usually advertise in the local paper and also on Craig's List (don't forget to delete your ad when your sale is over!)

Have fun, and make lots of moolah!!


Price tags - yes. Or just group similarly priced items together with a bigger price sign.

Non-vintage clothes should all be around 50 cents. If you want more for them, hang them up on something so they look more important and worth the heavier price.

For heavens sake, the big bright arrow is 100x more important than directions on your signs. My husband and I always grade peoples sales based on their signs and arrow abilities.

If you have anything electronic, have an extension cord handy to test the item.

Don't be pushy unless you're asked questions. I doubt you'd do this, but I hate when people try to justify their high prices by telling me what they paid for an item when they bought it new. I think that information is irrelevant if you're selling the item at a yard sale.

Quite by accident at my last sale, I found out that an empty Huggies wipes case makes a great money holder.

Good luck at your sale! Have fun and let us know how it goes!


I think deffo some drinks would be a nice touch, some coffe + tea etc. while people browse is really nice. I don't know about you, but I hate haggling for anything. If you feel comfortable doing that as a seller then go for it, you could make some extra cash and it could be fun I guess lol. Also I think maybe not go with the music, I think that might be overkill, unless it was the radio or something. Hope my random opinions helped you!


1. Price Tags? Stickers or nothing "What's the price on this" PRICE TAGS! or color coded system. yellow dots are $.25...blue dots $.50

2. Light music in the background? very light, and very non-intrusive. i have had gospel music play at some. i am fine with gospel, but that doesnt get me in the mood to look for bargains.

3. Drinks? only if a kid is selling it. i am a sucker for them. but really, maybe only coffee. otherwise, i am there to SHOP,
not go to a cafe. and if there is coffee in my hand, i cant dig for bargains with both of them. i need 'um free!

4. Haggling, yes, no make me an offer? YES. haggle. i love haggling. if someone haggles, i am prone to spending MORE. if you put up a sign saying you will haggle...expect people like me to haggle on something. or all things. dont put up a sign if you dont want the die hards to take advantage.

5. Organized? by vignettes, price, item. i like some organization, but also, making me DIG for the deal is satisfying to me and less work for you. if there is a pair of shoes by the cookware, cool, i think i found the secret item!

6. What about a sale that's actually good and not a bunch of junk. How do your determine a price? simply, what's it worth to you?

7. How to price children's clothing, adult clothing? CHEAP. i hardly every shop for clothing. if you want to get rid of it, $.25 on all clothing. i would shop then. these $4 and $5 shirts? COME ON! no way! i just kinda chuckle when i see them. i know people around here are not going to pay that for a shirt. there is a great good clean thrift store with shirts for less than that!
to quote my sister in laws sister "its not my fault they paid to much for that outfit"

Michele chivers

This couldn't be more helpful or appropriate.
I am in the throes of organising my first Vintage & Handmade Fair in the UK and I am having sleepless nights thinking about pricing and display, presentation etc etc etc..
Thanks for organising my mind!


Gabreial, Vintage Indie

Morning/Afternoon all! Thank you all for posting some really helpful tips for a successful yard sale. My goal, to get rid of things to make room for new. I love to shop and I need an excuse to fill the empty shelves. I'm a haggler buyer. It's fun for me and I think a yard sale should be. Especially if you have kids while you are shopping. You have to make it fun for them to get in and out of the car to shop.

A shopper tip from me. Usually I tell my boys we are going "treasure" hunting. They both think of a couple of things they'd really like to find. Bag of legos, transformers, a new car etc. That way when they are there they are serious buyers looking for something and not just running around. (at least that's what I'm dreaming)it cuts down on the "don't touch that at least a little".

I've heard balloons are considered a dorky way to show your sale. I was thinking of using some since our driveway was a little hidden. Yes/No?

Gabreial, Vintage Indie


What do you consider a Yard Sale score? What are some of your favorites?


Over here in England we have "car boot sales" where everyone fills up their cars with their unwanted goods & take them along to sell - usually in a field, at a park, school etc. There can be from as few as a dozen sellers to several hundred.
This is a very happy hunting ground for bargain hunters & treasure hunters alike. I have bought some fantastic things over the years & sold some of my unwanted junk..err...treasures!

It is expected for people to haggle & hardly anything is priced unless they are dealers.


When we lived in Sioux Falls, SD, we bagan calling garage sales "ladder sales" because EVERYONE had a step ladder at the edge of the yard with baloons tied to it. You could spy the sale you were after from blocks away. I've used the same and it works. I don't think baloons are dorky, it's a garage sale!!
Yard sale score--this past weekend a couple who own a storage unit had a sale in our town of items that the unit's renters had defaulted on. Most of the items were "new in the box" item like puzzles, mind benders, kid craft kits,etc from a small independent toy store. Oh my, I came home with bags and have many stocking stuffers, gifts, and fun things for the kids to do. They were priced to sell! (I probed asking where it all came from since I tend to be suspicious--why are you here in our town? Her answers convinced me it was on the up & up--they used to live here and still have family here) I also came home with 4 boxes of mismatched vintage dishes from the same sale!
ALSO, tip, please beware of where one puts a price tag on a vintage item. I will no longer buy old books or the like with a sticky tag on the front if I want to keep the item nice. The sticky tag pulls off the color, paper, etc.

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