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9 Ways to Make More Cash at Your Next Yard Sale

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Looking for some yard sale tips? Cashing in on your clutter is easier than you thought — and can lead to you earning $1,000 or more in one weekend! We polled garage sale gurus for their secrets on how you can make the most money at your next yard sale. Here are their top tips:

Increase Sales With a Smile

“Focus on being the best seller you can. Treat your customers like guests: Look them in the eye, smile and greet them when they arrive. You can have the greatest items presented beautifully and priced well, and the sale can be advertised everywhere, but if you aren’t focused, available, friendly and helpful, you won’t make the money you could. I’m constantly assisting people, straightening and consolidating my tables and moving meltable items out of the sun. Attention to detail brings you money!”

—Kathy Ozzard Chism, author of Garage Sale Success Secrets

Try the Piggyback Trick to Draw Crowds

“Plan your sale for a weekend when other things are going on in the neighborhood that could generate more foot traffic for you. For example, maybe your neighborhood church is having a jumble sale or a fun fair. Just be sure to open before the event or stay open after it ends. Also, make sure you advertise your sale!” 

— Cindy Sabulis, author of The Garage Sale How-To Guide

Make Them Stay With a $1 Table

“Offer lots of bargains—or make it look like you do! Have a table with a big sign that says ‘All items $1’ or ‘50% off’ or ‘Buy one, get one free’ to draw visitors in. If people don’t see something they like within two minutes, they’ll leave. That’s why it’s smart to have a $1 table. Most shoppers have a hard time passing something up if it’s only $1, and those dollars add up quickly.” 

— Bonnie Joy Dewkett,

Offer Discounts Before Closing

“I always post a sign that in the afternoon my prices will be discounted at a certain time, like from 2 PM to 4 PM. Then throughout the sale, I also mention to people that the prices will be half price after 2 PM, just in case they didn’t see the sign. Inevitably, people always come back. Plus, my sign might catch the attention of anyone driving by, bringing in even more customers who feel like they’re getting a really good deal.” 

— Kathy Ozzard Chism

Go Big With Eye-Catching Signs

“The first thing every sale needs is good signs. Shoppers have to be able to read from a car traveling 45 to 50 miles per hour, so have them placed at eye level. Ideally, you want the letters to be about 5” high, written with black marker—those little signs from the hardware store aren’t going to cut it. Write your address, the date and the start and end time of the yard sale. Be sure to place the signs at high-traffic intersections near your neighborhood or by a nearby grocery store to really get people’s attention.” 

— Jacqueline Gilchrist,

Find Buyers for Broken Items

“Many sellers make the mistake of thinking buyers won’t want an item because it’s broken or too weird. Yet many sellers say they are so surprised by what ends up being purchased. So the best advice is to put out everything for sale. Someone might buy a broken cordless phone for the battery or a broken VCR for the remote control. Of course, if you’re selling working electronics, it’s always a good idea to have an outlet available for customers to test the item before buying.”

— Steve Sultanoff, garage sale expert, clinical psychologist and professor at Pepperdine University

Keep Shoppers Happy With a Children’s Area

“Many customers have kids with them, so I like having a children’s section at the front of the sale so it’s the first thing shoppers see. Often, customers will grab toys just to keep their child happy so they can shop in peace. This also keeps kids away from breakable items or book shoppers, who typically don’t want to deal with a lot of noise while they browse.” 

— Eric Michael, author of Garage Sale Superstar

Sell Refreshments

“It’s a great idea to sell drinks and baked goods at your sale to make extra money. Everybody loves a beverage and a little something to snack on, especially in the morning since many shoppers don’t bother eating breakfast before heading out to garage sales. Plus, people are more likely to stick around longer to shop if they feel welcomed and comfortable. And if it’s going to be a really hot day, you can also plan to sell iced tea or lemonade, or pick up a case of bottled water at the warehouse club and toss it in a cooler with ice. Then sell the bottles for $1 each. You can get a case of 45 bottles for less than $5 at Sam’s Club, so even if you only sell 20 bottles, you’ll still make a nice profit.”

— Eric Michael

This story originally appeared in our print magazine

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