Terrific Tag Sales

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

Every yard sale host hopes for a perfectly sunny, prosperous day. Yet, many end their sales with unsold items and hours spent without meeting sales goals. There are a few strategies that will give sellers the results they expect.


Price Your Items Carefully

Know your market and know yard sale pricing. Your lamp might be a designer style that you paid a good deal for originally, but at a yard sale it's just a lamp. Lamps can be purchased for as little as $12 at large box stores, so a lightly used lamp should be priced at half that amount at a yard sale.

Keep things simple and rounded. People like to pay quickly and simply. Price your items as rounded dollar amounts and avoid the $1.50 style pricing. For lesser items under $1, consider combination pricing. Instead of putting $0.25 price tags on dozens of items, place them together as a 4 for $1 table. While someone certainly could purchase one item, this type of pricing encourages multiple purchases, leading to high revenues and less remnant items after the sale.


Offer Sales at the Sale

Nothing attracts people to stores more than sales. While the theme of your day is a sale, turn it up and add sales to your sale. When pricing the 4 for $1 table, consider offering the items as $0.25 or 5 for $1. The last thing you want at the end of the day is a yard full of leftovers. It may even encourage someone to purchase $2 worth of items to take advantage of the sale.

As your yard sale nears its end, start to offer percentage sales. During the last hour of your sale, put up a sign that says 25% off every purchase. In the last portion of the sale, mark things down to 50% off. The math could get tricky, so keep your calculator handy and do the markdown on the total.

Be Willing to Haggle

Haggling is expected at a yard sale. While some people are comfortable negotiating prices, others are happy to pay the prices on the tags. Be prepared for those who want to pay less than the marked price. To counter this, like all great street vendors and car salesmen, mark up your prices a bit. If you're selling a patio set for $100, decide ahead of time where your bottom line sits. You don't want to feel pressure with negotiating, but you want to make your customers happy.


Don't tolerate haggling on low priced items in your under $1 box. Haggling is reserved for large ticket items.

Make Money on Everything on Your Lawn

At the end of the day, you can guarantee that you get some money for every item on your lawn. Whatever is left should be packaged and inventoried. Then, take it to the local Goodwill Store or similar drop-off location. Have the manager or attendee sign your drop-off inventory, and then stash the list in your tax folder.

At the end of the year when you file your taxes, research the government values attached to each item and declare your donations. You may not have sold it for the amount you asked, but you can make a few pennies from your deduction, and someone else benefits from the donation.

A yard sale with lots of household goods for sale.

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July 18, 20121 found this helpful

Good practical advice.

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May 9, 20210 found this helpful

Thank you so much for such great and useful information. I haven't had a big sale for some time and have one planned for the Holiday Memorial Day weekend 2021. I have a lot of brand new items that I would like to get fair market value for. These were Business related larger ticket items that I had for a business that never got started. Could you by chance recommend what sites to put them on or how to sell these items should they not sell at the yard sale?


I actually had planned to have an Estate Sale listed in leu of a yard sale because of having so much stuff. We do plan to move but "Moving Sales " I've had in the past tend to bring out a lot of Vultures and it was really horrible. I always say that no reasonable offer will be refused but that doesn't stop them from seriously low balling you. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you so much for your time and patience.

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