Hosting Our Very First Yard Sale

Just as planned, we held our very first yard sale this weekend. It was lots of work, but it was also a total success. We got rid of everything and made exactly $425 in the process. Cha-ching. (This is the part where I don’t think about how much we probably paid for everything in the first place- although in our defense, a good amount of stuff was handed down or gifted).

We couldn’t have done it without the great tips we received from you guys. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of your advice that we put into action (and a few things that we learned along the way):

  • Start Early: We began prepping 2 hours ahead of the 8am start time so that we were ready for the inevitable 7:45 early birds (and boy did they flock to our house).
  • Advertise Smart: We thrice posted the sale on Craigslist leading up to Saturday. And that morning, we hung a bunch of strategically placed hot pink signs to lure people to our home. We even got compliments on our signage, saying that the consistent look, bright color, and “multi-family” claim (my sister participated too) made them especially enticing.
  • Look Big: We spread things out to fill our entire driveway – as you can see in the “before” above. Larger items went closest to the road, while the trinkets were displayed in the back.
  • Categorize: We grouped similar items – furniture together, clothes together, books & dvds together, etc. It helped shoppers browse and helped us sell more “sets” of things.
  • Set a Goal: We agreed ahead of time that our primary goal was to get rid of stuff, not make money. That way we didn’t hesitate to sell stuff on the cheap because it meant that we were meeting our purging goal.
  • Prepare to Negotiate: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. The few times that we didn’t come down low enough for buyers and they walked forced us to realize that we should have just met their proposed price. Staring at items that we could have sold (and wondering if they’d ever go) was torture.
  • Expect The Unexpected: People buy the strangest things. Some items that we almost didn’t put out (fishing line, tarnished mismatched silverware, pilled towels) sold faster than some of the items we thought would go the second we opened.
  • Stay Late: We advertised an 8-12 sale, but we were still selling steadily until around 1 so we stuck around.
  • Don’t Take It Back: To completely achieve our empty-basement goal, we immediately loaded the leftovers into the car and drove them straight to Goodwill. We didn’t want anything coming back inside.

And you know we love a good “after” so here’s ours… well, before we packed the car for the Goodwill trip (and before a neighbor came back for her previously purchased patio set). All that remained were some books, clothing, and shoes (nobody could fit into Sherry’s size 5). All perfect items to donate.

In addition to some moolah and an emptier basement, the day also gave us a couple of good stories.

First, we had the pleasure of selling our old screen door (the yellow one you used to see in our header above) to a couple of guys who were just starting to build a “green” home. The door met their goal to build using only recycled materials and they even talked about designing the house around its cheerful yellow color. We were thrilled that it would get to live on in such a noble, environmentally-friendly way.

Then we were visited by Buddy, a big friendly dog that got loose from his owner and wandered over to “terrorize” our shoppers. After some running and rolling, Sherry was able to wrangle him into our backyard while I set off to find his family. I returned (with an alarmingly carefree neighbor in tow) to find Buddy cooling off in our sunken-bathtub pond (which was covered, by the way, until Buddy jumped in for a dip).

A semi-wet Buddy eventually made it home safely, and the rest of the sale went off without a hitch. And the whole thing was actually kinda fun… but we’re in no rush to accumulate that much junk again.


  1. says

    Yay for you guys and the $$$ you made! We’re getting ready to have our own sale, too and can always use helpful tips!

    Thanks :-)

  2. says

    Oh congrats on your sale being a success! I find garage sales overwhelming to organize, but so much fun to shop at! It’s an addiction!

  3. says

    I love your blog! I’m having a yard sale this weekend and you have some great tips- I hope mine goes just as well! And I love reading about your house remodeling, we also bought a 1940’s house to remodel- dollhouse cottage- and we are almost finished- we are currently working on finishing our kitchen and existing bathroom.


  4. YoungHouseLove says

    Hey everyone,

    Thanks for your enthusiasm. We’re so happy to have fabulous people like you as our cheerleaders. It really makes all of this writing and posting and picture taking a blast!


  5. Amanda says

    I was just wondering in your Save It: Part 1 you said you have an annual garage sale, have you posted last years or just didn’t get around it in 2009? I enjoyed reading your first one so I was looking for more! ;)

    • says

      Hey Amanda,

      We actually brought some items over to John’s sister’s house in 2009 where she was having a garage sale (gotta love a joint “multi-family” sale). So we didn’t really post about it since it was at someone else’s house (and wasn’t nearly as big as the one we hosted ourselves here at Casa Petersik). Hope it helps!


  6. Javiera says

    Is Sherry really a size 5? So am I! Where does she get her shoes from? I wouldn’t mind buying her old ones! :)

    • says

      Aw, you’re sweet. After pregnancy I’m now a size 6! Isn’t that weird? I get most of them from Target and Marshall’s and Old Navy and DSW.


  7. Kim S says

    Hey guys, I’m perusing your old yard sale posts as I try to get up the courage to host my first one this weekend. Sort of last minute, I know, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while and this Saturday looks like it will be a good one (warm and sunny in central Florida for the rest of the week!). Anyway, I have a quick question: what do you typically say in your Craigslist ads? Is it just really basic (address, time, etc.) or do you post any pictures or even just list some of the items that you’re selling?

    • says

      Yes, we just list our address, the time, and we try to list a few categories of things to get people excited (ex: toys, clothes, furniture, accessories, etc). We don’t do pictures or anything though! Hope it helps!


  8. Michelle says

    It looks like it was a fun sale – just what I like! And all the beautiful greenery in the pictures makes it even more inviting.

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