Three secrets to a successful yard or garage sale

Don't Waste Your Money

We are now in the peak of yard sale season.

But how you set up that yard sale can make the difference between making just a few bucks, and several hundred dollars.

Many Yard Sales Go Slowly

Like many homeowners, Terry Lyon had dreams of making $200 or $300 at a yard sale.

So she set out dozens of old possessions from curios, to paintings and books, to a vintage typewriter.

"It's a Remington noiseless," she said. "The kind they used years and years ago."

But things were moving slowly. So we turned for advice to a yard sale veteran, who says she has figured out what works and doesn't work when it comes to a garage sale.

Veteran Gives Advice

Amy Hill throws regular sales, taking in at least $150 each time.

"I try to have one every year," she explained. "I just pile up all the stuff as soon as we are done with things, as soon as the girls outgrow them."

Her biggest seller: Clothing.

"Clothes sells very well. Kids clothes especially," she said.

So Hill shared her three big secrets to success.    

1. Advertise

Her first tip: Advertise everywhere. If people don't know about it, they won't stop by.

Take out ads on Craigslist (www.craigslist.com ), Garage Sales Tracker (www.garagesalestracker.com ) and Garage Sale Cow (www.GarageSaleCow.com ), which are free.

Also, she recommends picking up a garage sale kit at at Target or Walmart.

It has everything from street signs to price stickers, ranging from 25 cents up to $10, and extra blank stickers you can use.

2. Organize

Messy stuff wont sell. Hill hangs old clothes, rather than stacking it, and puts similar items together.

She says someone looking for adult shirts will not want to look through toddler jumpers. And hanging makes it look more attractive.

She also suggests you set your other items out on tables if you can, to make it easier for people to sift through it.  

No one wants to bend down and look at items on the ground. She says don't make shoppers do extra work by spreading things out on the driveway (unless its a large item like a bicycle or lawn mower).

And she says don't hide your best stuff in the back of the garage. In fact, don't hide anything in a garage. People want to browse a clean, open "yard" sale, not a dark garage.

Also, she puts flashy items, like kids bikes, scooters, or even Tickle Me Elmo down near the street where passing drivers will see them.    

Things hard to sell? Old glass TVs: Hill says no one wants them, or computers more than five or six years old.

"The computers are the things they look at and keep walking," she said.

If you must put out electronics, she says, ideally have them plugged in and working.

3. Price Correctly

Which leads to her third secret: Don't overprice your stuff.

She says most people stopping by a yard sale want to pay $5 to $10 for a nice item, not $50. If you plan on charging more than $50, she says you will typically do better on eBay or Craigslist, where many more people will see your ad.

And Hill says make sure you have plenty of items for less than $2, or people will think you are being too greedy.

Bottom line: She says have your items organized, appealing and reasonably priced -- and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you can make off your unwanted stuff.

One Last Piece of Advice

Get your neighbors involved. If you hold a neighborhood sale, with at least three or four homes participating, you'll get many more shoppers. Some folks will drive a half hour or more to hit a street sale.

That way your things should sell faster, at higher prices, and you don't waste your money.   

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