From the BlogSubscribe Now

Bring Back the Fanny Pack, and Other Yard Sale Tips

Last weekend was our annual-ish yard sale, that beautiful day when we trade our trash for someone else’s cash. Can I say there is something so therapeutic about purging our stuff and regaining our space?

Here are my tips for a yard sale that helps you clear out your storage space, make a few extra bucks and probably rule the world.

Tips for garage sales: how to price your stuff, stay sane and make lots of extra cash!

Part 1: Purging and Preparation

  • Purge ruthlessly. I try to sell anything we haven’t used or worn within the last year and any clothes that don’t fit well. As yard sale day approaches, I tend to get a little overexcited and try to sell just about anything that isn’t tied down. I think Weston started to get a little nervous there at the end.
  • Careful: babies have hefty maintenance costs.

  • Wondering whether to sell it? I love these words of wisdom:


I’m talking to YOU, obnoxious singing elmo toy, and  YOU, heaps upon heaps of old tupperware!

  • Before the sale, make sure you have lots of coins and one-dollar-bills on hand to give change. We started with about $20 in ones, $20 in fives and $15 in loose change.
  • Buy the brightest, most obnoxious poster board you can find and write on it in a thick, black marker. I didn’t get any pics of our signs, but this is what they usually look like (except hand-written, of course):No cutesy fonts, no address, no long list of what we’re selling in 12-point font. Just a chunky ol’ arrow to follow. We don’t write the times of the sale on the sign, because we just put up the signs in the morning when we’re ready, and take ’em down when we’re done.
  • Starting at the nearest (reasonable) main intersection, put a sign at every place where someone needs to turn to get to your house, and make sure all your signs match.

Part 2: Pricing and Layout

  • Make sure all your stuff has a price tag! It’s in your best interest, because some people won’t ask how much something is; they’ll just leave without buying.
  • Can’t decide how much to charge? Aim for about 25 percent of the cost if you were to buy it new, 50 percent if it’s still new in package.
  • Group similar items, like they do at the store. My favorite time-saver: make a box of all your 25-cent items and a box of all your 10-cent items, then just label the box.

Part 3: Yard Sale Day

  • Start early, no later than 8 a.m. Most of the wild-eyed, yard-salers-on-a-mission (ahem: people like me) are out early and done by 9:30 or 10.
  • Bring these guys back in style:
    Please, please rock the neon fanny pack at your yard sale. We didn’t have one or I totally would have. The point is to make sure your yard sale cash is secured – not left on a table where someone could swipe it. You can never be too careful, and you can never have a neon-enough fanny pack. Words to live by.
  • Be ready to negotiate. Don’t be afraid to say no, and don’t be bullied into a price you’re not comfortable with. That said, this is a yard sale. If you don’t want to lug this stuff back inside, be willing to accept reasonable offers.
  • At around 11 a.m., bring out your wacky-waving-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube-man

    What I mean is, get ca-razy with your prices. Make everything half off, or just tell all your visitors to make an offer if they don’t like your prices. You can always say no, but after about 11, traffic slows significantly, and you’re more likely to get stuck with the stuff you didn’t sell.
  • When traffic slows and you’re feeling D-O-N-E, take down your signs. Otherwise, people will follow your signs to nowhere, which wastes gas and makes them want to egg your house. Do it for me. Do it for the environment. Do it for all things good and right.

Following these tips, we had a great day, made about $300 and cleaned out our storage spaces. Halle-freakin-lujah!

Have you had a yard sale this year? Any tips that I missed? Can we agree to bring back the fanny pack? I bet if we all do it together, we can make a difference.

Let's connect


  1. Hi Kelly!!! Thanks so much for following BudgetBlonde!!! And omg you are so my kind of girl!!! LOVE these tips. I posted a bunch of tips after our recent moving sale but I love your sign idea of not putting up any times, etc. Def. going to use that next time! Oh, and your blog design is really cool and streamlined. Did you design it yourself?

    • No! As an avid yard-saler, at least make one sign on the main thoroughfare that has the times/dates! 9 times out of 10 I will not follow a yard sale sign without them! (The only time I do is if it is a route I drive all the time and KNOW the sign was just posted, or I found the listing online/paper and KNOW for sure when it is.)

      Picture this: I drive down the road. I see a sign. I follow the signs and either: It was two months ago and they never took the sign down. It ended at 2pm and it’s 3pm. It is for the upcoming yard sale in a day or two.

      After so many wasted hours of this happening, I will now just ignore all signs without date/times.

      Imagine how many people like me do this? How many people are you failing to reach? Please, please don’t do this! I really want to go to your yard sale, but I’m not driving 3 blocks out of my way for nothing anymore.

      [One more tip: Post on Craig’s List. Some of the apps now will pull ads from online and tell you where to go on your phone.]

  2. I would add -Advertise your yard sale ahead of time. Craigslist has a yard sale section (free to post!) and it’s a great way to announce times, and list out key items like patio furniture, gas grill, baby furniture, etc. It helps draw buyers that are serious about buying a specific item.

  3. I love that quote too! Sounds like you had a successful sale! I agree about the early morning thing–my mom used to make us go with her and I grumbled about getting up so early, but now that I’m on the purchasing end of yard sale trips, and not the drag-along-behind-and-ask-why-we-can’t-buy-that-annoying-toy category, I totally understand. 🙂

    And I was totally just teasing my mom about the fact that she’s wearing a fanny pack in 9/10 of our trip photos from when I was younger.

  4. I really do think the fanny pack is coming back…I mean, the old couple in front of me at the ball game the other night had a matching set…

    Thanks for commenting on the ol’ blog! Your house is beautiful!!!

  5. Excellent tips! I was having an internal debate about whether or not I should price everything. You’ve sold me on it!

    My mom always had the rule to never bring anything back into the house after the sale. It went straight into the car and to be donated. And she rocked the fanny pack at yard sales!

  6. I would also add: Make that sign arrow the biggest, boldest thing on your sign, making sure that the > part is BIG! Many yard salers are older and their vision isn’t as good. If you just put a small > at the end of your arrow line, you may as well not have any arrow at all. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven around and around a neighborhood because I went the other way. I would also say, after you’ve put you’re sign up, walk about 100 feet away in both directions to make sure cars can see it with enough time to turn. Especially if they’re turning from a higher-speed road.

  7. Having my first one (not at my house) with friends in 2 weeks. Emailed them this post too. So maybe I also got you 3 new non-bloggers-but-blog-readers in the deal!

    Oh, plus i pin the heck out of it.

  8. Kris Lee says:

    Some other things to add:
    1. If you have clothing to sell, make sure it is displayed in sizes. Hanging preferably so that it is easy to see and look through. Also put together outfits w/accessories and display near the clothing, things sell REALLY well this way. When it sells, put another one together.
    2. Move things around, (in retail it is called re-merchandising). This way people see things differently and if they come back by they may stop and purchase something again simply because it didn’t catch their eye the first time.
    3. Have a designated cashier and place for purchases. This makes it easy to keep track of what is being sold (by the cashier) so that you aren’t being inundated by everyone trying to make their purchases and ask you questions all at the same time.
    4. Treat your yard sale like it is your own personal store w/a grand opening. Great signage, organized, clean, and have lots of “employees” helping you out.
    5. You can have a kids table that the kids get the profit on. Make sure they know that and they may be willing to sell things they have so they can buy a new toy they want. Great incentive to purge the kids rooms……
    6. If you have toddlers, take them to a baby sitter or to Gramma’s house. They get in the way and when they are tired/cranky, no body wants to shop at your “store”.
    7. Have your pricing already worked out. Don’t guess, make sure you have a bottom price and take any reasonable offer, especially if you don’t want to haul it to the thrift store. Also like mentioned know when to drop your prices; maybe even make an announcement when it is time.
    8. Have a consignment store in mind for those items that you think they would take and still make a few dollars, instead of donating everything. Useful for nice furniture items.
    have a fun day

  9. Dianne Suarez says:

    I ALWAYS have a free box, sometimes more than one. I continue to put things in it over the course of the sale, when there is a lag in customers. One year I passed out little notes giving the address and saying everything would be free after 12 noon. At 11:55 I removed anything too valuable or sentimental to just give away (hardly anything at this point). I watched 90% of my items walk away, saved myself several trips to the local charity shop, and had the satisfaction of knowing the “stuff” was going to others who could use it.

  10. carole steinberg says:

    I use an apron instead of a fanny pack. I post the address on the sign, I find you don’t need to write “yard sale” an arrow and the address works better. as the day goes on I put out a free box and start getting rid of the things that don’t sell.

  11. I hate when I am driving around looking for garage sales and the writing on the signs is so teensie!!! I skip those all together…they must not want to sell their stuff.

  12. Ab Glider says:

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It’s the little changes that make the most important changes. Many thanks for sharing!

  13. Heather Harris says:

    I am completely in love with your blog! Also, I wish I would have found your yard sale because those bubble lamps would be in my house!

  14. Ha! Another excellent post, another great quotable: “You can never be too careful, and you can never have a neon-enough fanny pack.” T-shirt maybe? P.S. I have been planning and socking items away for our next yard sale for nearly a year. Or has it been 10? It sometimes feels that way. How do you decide between just donating boxes of stuff/clearing it all out, and squirrelling it away/hoarding it for a future yard sale? I always struggle with this, and would love to hear your thoughts. P.P.S. Am loving all the Dave Ramsey stuff you’ve been writing about. We’re 100% on the DR train too! Val

    • We pretty much donate stuff when we think about it, but if it suddenly builds up and it happens to be yard sale season or getting close, we’ll just throw a yard sale. It’s not very scientific how we decide. 🙂

    • We typically gather items in totes from the end of one yard sale season to the beginning of a new one. Then we try to have a few sales throughout the season adding things to the totes as necessary. At the end of the season we take pretty much everything to donate. We then use our emptied totes to begin again.

  15. Love the tip about placing the sign so that people have time to see it and turn in. I just emailed it to my aunt- we’re having a yard sale at her house in a few days. If you ever do another yard sale post, or update this one, a little guide to pricing would be sooo helpful. And a guide to finding one of those mondo neon fanny-packs!!!

  16. I love it! We talk the exact same way! new follower!

  17. Noonie Boldon says:

    Price things only in increments of 25 cents, that way no dimes, nickels or, God forbid, pennies to deal with. With small items, group in snack sized ziplock bags and price together. Keep higher priced item and small things, and breakables near the checkout table. Block the driveway, use it for display for larger items.

  18. Make sure your items are clean! Putting out dirty toys, clothing and other items turn off the buyer, or they will offer you even less than what you are asking for.

  19. We go from “full price” to “half price around 11 then from 1-5 or we do “$5 bags!” everything that can fit into a paper bag is a $5 dollars. At that point if there is something that is more spendy and I can’t think to see it go for that cheap I bring it into the house and sell it in Craigslist later but the $5 bags are amazing. It’s crazy how people take away all our stuff so we don’t have to haul it to the thrift store and we get $5 from it 🙂

  20. We usually just donate all our junk when we clear out a room or something but I’d really like to make some extra money by trying to sell as much as possible BEFORE donating. Not sure I can get my family on board but how long do you gather your stuff before you’re ready to sell and where do you keep it while you’re waiting? Our house is so cluttered it would be a mess! Thanks in advance for your help 🙂 🙂

    • We just gather it until it starts to look like enough for a sale. 🙂 Usually that’s about once a year!

  21. I always drag a lot of items, usually bigger stuff, out on the drive way. This way people know where the sale is without having to make another sign and it looks like your garage is so full you make it appear as if you have more to sell!

  22. I always have some packing material and lots of bags and boxes available to pack breakables for my customers. It makes me really mad when I buy an awesome breakable at a yard sale and it gets broken before I’m home because it wasn’t wrapped.

    • Just wanted to add a point here. I have had many, many very successful garage sales and I think one of the reasons is that I made sure that everything is clean-that means glassware, dishware, silverware, cooking utensils, anything that could be put into a dishwasher should be placed there the night before or whenever you put your stuff out on tables to sell. People will more readily buy for the price you asked if your merchandise is clean.

  23. Sell hot dogs chips and drinks at your yard sale 🙂

    • Great tip, thanks!

      • Rosemary says:

        We stage our garage sale…. like if we have living room furniture, we set it up like a living room, put flowers or books decoratively on the table and so on. When we started doing that, those kinds of things started selling crazy! We were always having to re-stage.

  24. I am so in love with this post! Besides being 100% true it’s witty and fun! I feel so motivated to shove my yard full of stuff and rock a neon fanny pack now!

  25. One of the best things I have found for having a garage sale is an app called Garage Sale Checkout. If you have not seen this you should check it out. It helps tremendously when having sales with multiple families. It takes away all the sticker counting at the end of the sale. I love it!

  26. hi ! great tips! thanks for sharing! we are having a yard sale in sept. can i share some ideas? i’m going to put up a “free item” table at the end of the driveway. everyone will have to walk past everything first before getting to the free stuff. 🙂 i’m also going to have coffee and munchkins for the early birds. and bottles of water for sale for the not so early birds. 🙂 there will be a “quarter” table. and yes a great idea to organize things together….like kitchen, tools, books, etc. fanny pack is a MUST. 🙂 thanks ! enjoy!

  27. Jennifer Wyatt says:

    I definitely bargain with my peeps. I also give one free item away with every purchase. I wear an apron for my money. Pockets work great! Im having a sale this Saturday!

  28. Michelle Beteta says:

    I have used a fanny pack for years at garage sales to keep the cash safe as suggested. Agreed. Great tips in your post and the responses. With two growing kids, garage sales have been an ongoing occurance at our home. I’d say the key to my success out of the tips already mentioned is the re-merchandizing throughout the sale. I want to make it easy for my customers to see the merchandise.

  29. Great tips! One extra I’d like to add is, anything left that you don’t want to haul back inside, leave at the curb and post for free on Craigslist. That stuff will disappear in a flash, and you don’t have to haul that junk to the dump or store it. 🙂

  30. Rayelove says:

    When you go to a yard sale. ..I find all kinds of things I can’t live without. That said I walk around with whateverit is, in my hand for awhile. Saying to myself ‘ok who will (feed, water, clean) this. Most times its me, so that being said, most times I put it down. One big reason not to buy is……dusting. Hope that helps someone out there. 😉

  31. I followed your tips and did a few other things and had a super successful sale! One thing I would say is to capitalize on social media. We created an event page about a week before the event and shared it once or twice a day to the local buy & sell/swap shop pages. We added pictures of some of the bigger items/toys we were selling. Once we got all the clothes laid out on tables, we took pictures and added them to the group page. My sister and I made over $1400!

  32. I’ve participated in a neighborhood-wide annual sale for three years now. This past year, I handled the social media aspect of advertising for it and I do believe it helped – we have multiple county FB pages for all purposes and I just listed the sale on every one of them, Craigslist, and an online garage sale site.

    Some of the things that I’ve done through the years is have a “free with purchase” box OR they can buy the stuff in it for a nickel if they don’t want to buy anything else. That box is always empty at the end of the day – even with my throwing more stuff into it as the day goes on.

    This past year (I’ve gone from just selling stuff my mom didn’t want to actually clearing out her house as she passed away recently), I did a table specifically for the guys that had a bunch of duplicate tools of my dad’s, as well as a bin full of…stuff…that I didn’t know what it was AT ALL or was just odd bits and pieces of things of my dad’s – like what you’d find in a junk drawer – 3 screws left in a package, bits and pieces of cord and rope, chain from hanging lamps, old electrical cords, doorstops, just junky stuff. I priced the bin at 10 cents each. EVERYTHING SOLD. And the guys had a BLAST looking through it all while their ladies shopped my mom’s hats, shoes, bags, kitchen stuff.

    I also put out all the old plastic pots that plants come in from the nursery – usually “free to a good home” or very cheaply priced.

    And we (the neighborhood) usually decides ahead of time who to donate to – they’ll send a truck out later that day or the next day and take our stuff for us so all we have to do is pack it up and leave it out. They’ll give us a receipt that we can complete as to value, for tax purposes.

    I was able to set aside some space in the garage for next year’s treasures and I’m avidly adding to it with every room cleaned out!

    Now to figure out how to get rid of all the expensive stuff that I don’t WANT to put out for the yard sale…….. 🙂

  33. Sandy Weaver says:

    I’m always looking for more tips to run a yardsale with. I like to do one a year. I’ve actually made up my signs for the main corners with the announcing “YardSale” with the times on it (same times and days of the week every year, and an extra space to tape an extra small square of my neon green posterboard with the dates written on it (those I cut off after to clear them for the next sale) and also a Huge Arrow at the bottom outlined in bold black and inside the arrow I have written FOLLOW Me that is also something that I can add/tape on (depending on which way to turn). then ever eighth of a mile on the roads between the signs (my community is somewhat ruralish and sprawls for several miles over a main 2lane highway) I hang an arrow-shaped sign in my neon green ,the arrow-sign itself well outlined around it and the only writing in them in black and bold lettering FOLLOW ME. I have arrow-signs for turning right and turning left and for going straight on. At the end of my driveway I have made a Very Colorful Full posterboard-size sandwich sign that sits on the ground with my conspicuous outlined neon green arrow pointing at my house and the whole sandwich sign announces YOU ARE HERE! and in slightly smaller letters Yard Sale. I mention the signs 1. because I get wonderful people to the sale that say over and over Welove your signs! and we simply Had to follow them to see where they went to! and 2. because I make them (and I have made plenty of them for going every which way) with the ability to temporarily tape arrows and dates, and have a full complement of my arrow-signs for “following” in each direction, I put them up and take them down on those days religiously and save them all for next times (they all fit inside the sandwich sign folded flat at the back of my closet to store). I normally have a set of signs from 10-15 years. 🙂 and it doesn’t matter if I move during that time since I have plenty of arrows to point in any direction needed, and because I do make the signs rather generic. I was a military wife for his whole career and since I didn’t want to make a whole new complement of signs every year, I found this worked well for me 😀 Other than just that little extra idea, I have been using all your other ideas all these years (I’ve worked in retail and merchandise displays most of my life so yes, I fully understand display and pricing and money handling) and have had wonderfully successful sales. the least I have made has been 250 and that was 35 years ago; the most was almost 1000 though I do have to admit that we were getting ready to move overseas so most of the household full of things were getting sold off.

  34. Leslue minot says:

    Keep a sharpie and roll of masking tape in your apron to price things. The masking tape doubles as a classy bracelet.

  35. Carol S. Lawson says:

    We used to have yard sales in Southern California. % families and we would bring in up to $10,000. Of course, some would buy just for the sale. Our part usually brought in between $ 700 and $1100 total. We had them after everyone got their government checks on first and third of the month. We had them Fridat, Saturday and Sundays. People called all their friends and family to come to them. We had a blast. We would give everyone a ticket and draw names for a gate prize. One lady came from another city because a friend told her about it, and she won a lifesizes Santa. She didn’t even buy anything. She came to all our sales after that and brought friends. She always bought something too.


  1. Phanny Packs Make says:

    […] Bring Back the Fanny Pack, and Other Yard Sale Tips Please, please rock the neon fanny pack at your yard sale. We didn't have one or I totally would have. The point is to make sure your yard sale cash is secured – not left on a table where someone could swipe it. […]

  2. […] tips on how to find the best sales, when to shop, and more? Check out this post! If you’re throwing a garage sale, here are my favorite tricks to make that process a smidge less painful. Do you like to shop garage and yard sales? What are […]

  3. […] Proud This is the time to bust out that 1980s fanny pack. Having your money on hand means you can move around your sale and talk to people without worrying about cash. The last thing you want to worry about is someone […]

  4. […] yard sales. I wrote a post on my best tips for throwing a yard sale. I LOVE trading all my clutter for a little extra cash! It’s a lot of work, but SO worth […]

Speak Your Mind


Back to top          Privacy Policy          Copyright © 2013 View Along the Way. All rights reserved.          Contact Me