How to Organize A Yard Sale

It’s true, I LOVE to go to yard sales and estate sales.  I have also orchestrated several sales for myself, family members, and for my clients and have learned some valuable tips along the way.

Here are my tips for holding a SUCCESSFUL garage/estate sale:


1. Strategically place signs at active intersections and place one large sign on the property where the yard sale is held.

2. Simple is better so limit the words: YARD SALE or ESTATE SALE and  directional arrows on both sides.

3. Tape the sign to cardboard box and place a heavy object inside so it does not blow over.

4. Attach brightly colored balloons or flags to the signs to draw attention.

5. Consistency in signage is key! Use ONE bright color (orange, lime green, bright pink).

4. Ask people how they found you.  They will often share valuable information about how signage is working.  Adjust and move signs as needed.

Change/Cash Box

1. Get at least $100 in small bills and change.

2. Do not price anything under $.25 cents.

3. If it is a very large estate sale, get your helpers work aprons (they can be found at Home Depot), and provide them with change so that they, too, can accept money from buyers.

Layout (will help you get top dollar)

1. Set up the pay station at front of sale and greet each buyer as they arrive.

2. Have coffee/lemonade, your child’s artwork (and the kids can help, too!) .

3. Make sure your items are clean and in good condition.

4. Tables should be covered with tablecloths to give professional appearance.

5. Like with Like – trinkets with trinkets, purses with purse, tools with tools.

6. Price your items to sell.

7. Know upfront how much you and your helpers are willing to negotiate.

8. Be less generous with discounts early in the day and particularly on day 1.

9. Big ticket items – make sure they are visible from the road if the sale is held outside.

10. Buyers like to see a lot of well-placed items so keep moving things to fill in the blank spots.

11. Have a helper, or two.

12. Set up the tables so that the buyers have a buyer’s experience and can mosey around at their leisure.  Items placed on the ground on blankets rarely sell.  As things sell, move the merchandise and consolidate tables.


1. Get proper city permits, if required.

2. If it is a large sale, run an ad in the local paper however; most traffic will come from your strategically placed signage.

3. If it is a large yard/estate sale have someone “posted” near the exit to ensure that items are properly paid for and not just “walking off.”