How to Make Money Holding Yard Sales

Windows down, hair blowing in the wind, the old eagle-eye all warmed up for spotting handwritten signs on street corners. These are your customers, yard sale fanatics. Especially in times of a down economy and rising awareness of recycling used goods, holding regular yard sales is a sustainable practice worth looking into. To have a profitable and well-managed recurring yard sale, stay organized, provide new and expanding inventory, be knowledgeable and advertise.

If you have enough items already in your possession to have an attractive and plentiful spread on your front lawn, then you’re ready to begin!  Spending time now on organization and research can make hosting recurring yard sales easier, and more successful.  Set up a spreadsheet or table with a comprehensive list of current items, estimated value, and actual sale price.  Keep track of where items are stored, their condition, and key information, such as SKU and model numbers.  Do comparison pricing of especially valuable items using Ebay, or Google search engines.  Knowledge of value and history of special items will provide increased confidence when pricing, and can help create the foundation for an excellent sales pitch. Creating an inventory comes in handy later when listing unsold items online, or providing potential buyers with informed answers to their questions.

To keep inventory fresh and exciting, flipping items purchased at your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other local thrift venues is the best way to go.  Vintage, antique, and imported items of great value can be found, if you know what to look for.  Develop an eye for what is a prize over what is junk, buy it for $2.50, and sell it at your yard sale for $100. Chinese porcelain, Chanel sweaters, and Ray Ban sunglasses can all be discovered on the racks at Goodwill for just a fraction of their worth.  Expect to visit multiple local thrift shops at least once a week to snatch the best items as they are placed on the racks. Look for sale days to maximize your profit margins.

Just like any sales venture, advertising can make a big difference in your bottom line. Word of mouth, local community boards, Craigslist, and free back page ads can all help boost your yard sale’s visibility.  List several featured items for sale, and the style of the overall collection of items, to draw in a particular customer base. Paying for advertising isn’t necessary. You will be able to find plenty venues to get your message out for free. 

If you still have items left after several weekends of sales, Craigslist, Ebay, and Etsy are great venues for resellers. Craigslist is best for local sales, larger items and advertising yard sales. Ebay will charge minimal seller fees, and shipping large items can be an arduous task, but smaller items are relatively easy to sell. 

Beware of scammers, it is infrequent, but it can happen. Educate yourself by reading the information available to sellers in their forums. If you sell vintage goods, check into establishing your own Etsy shop. Never throw things away. If there’s still a good amount of inventory after a sale, list items as free on Craigslist. Other options include calling Salvation Army for pickup, or using unwanted materials to create new items.