Yard Sale Prep

Hey, y’all! We are having a yard sale Memorial weekend! We have a lil bit of everything for sale. If you’re reading this and local to the Colorado Springs area, we’d be happy to sell you stuff if you want to get rid of it. We will of course pay you for what it was purchased. Just let us know!

If you’re hosting a yard sale for the first time, it can be an intimidating process. I think they are the most fun, eek! I can’t wait. I’d love to share some of my favorite tips to keep it cheap, organize, to set up, and to make that money, honey. And most importantly, to enjoy the process.

A month before:
(The stage we’re in for our next sale)

Step 1: Find out of yard sales are permitted in our area. Some places, like in Oklahoma City, you need a permit purchased through the city. The Springs allows any kind of sales for two days. Anything longer, and you’d need a permit.

Step 2: Choose a date. We chose ours based on when the most tourists visit the area. We have one of the biggest street festivals in Colorado on Memorial day in Old Colorado City called Territory Days. At these festivals, there’s a little something for everyone. Yummy treats, local artists selling their goods, and deals at all the bars on Colorado Ave in OCC. And because it’s Colorado, it’s the best place to see all the dogs. We hope folks will stop by before or after checking out Territory days.

Step 3: Make a list of needed supplies. Our upcoming supply list:

Tables – ask to borrow from friends
Something upon which to hang clothes – ask to borrow from friends or my work
Paper and ink for flyers
Bright posters for yard signs directing customers to you
Stakes to hold posters in the ground
Staples/glue, something to affix posters to stakes
Fat Sharpies – already have
Rolls of circle stickers to mark prices on items – different colors for different prices
Signs/posters to advertise items/prices at your sale
Credit card reader (this is an investment for us, as is the cashbox. We have our own businesses, so we’ve been wanting one of these for a while. Not necessary for all situations)

Step 4: Advertise, advertise, advertise. Create signage: my husband is brilliant with graphic design, so he’s doing that piece. Reach out to your friends, your realtor, your teacher, the guy down the street who you met on one of his daily neighborhood walks. Ask them if they can donate anything or if you can sell something for them. If you offer this, be prepared to give them what it sold for. Let them know they can give you a price range in mind, but you’ll sell it for the most you can make and give them that. Good boundaries up front, always recommend.

Post on Craig’s List, Nextdoor, Neighborly, Instagram, Facebook Marketplace, whatever social media you connect with.

Think about your target audience. Who is going to buy your shit? How can you reach them? Malcolm and I post our flyers in coffee shops, community centers, senior citizens centers, etc. I once posted an ad on Craig’s List for a garage sale I did with my grandma, and we got hundreds of people just from that ad. I billed our stuff as “unique vintage finds” because my grandmother had a treasure trove of items she curated throughout her lifetime. We made a lot of money that day, much more than we expected. What a fun memory with my grandparents.

Step 5: Now that you know who will buy your shit, it’s time to decide HOW they will buy it. Most garage sales are cash only. We open it up to cash, Venmo, Paypal, credit cards, and trade. Since we live down the street from an organization helping our unhoused neighbors, we want to ensure equal access. We allow trade or working the sale as payment. I’ve never heard of this for a garage sale, so it might not be your bag. The point is to consider how you will accept monies.

Step 6: Begin collecting items and decide where to store them beforehand. Where will give you enough room that will not interfere with daily household happenings? I find thinking about this now will save you a lot of grief down the road. To organize, I put everything in one large pile and sort by what still gives me joy – keep and what does not – donate, the KonMari method of tidying and releasing what no longer serves us.

Two weeks before:

Step 1: Make signs and flyers. Think about what appeals to your target audience. Do they like neat, orderly information, or do they want colorful with fancy designs? Do they want minimal information, or all the information? Make them eye-catching and fit the style of your stuff. This is a great place to set the boundaries of your sale. Do you accept offers, or are the prices stated firm? What kind of currency is acceptable? What time, and decide if that’s firm or not. Some people like to stay and chat. I like to pack up so I can go inside and count my dolla dolla bills.

Step 2: Post on socials that the sale is two weeks out. Ask people again to donate or allow you to sell their items. If they saw the first post, hopefully they’ve been thinking about it for a while. People get attached to their stuff, so I like to give room for processing the loss.

Step 3: Optional – if you have time and energy, look for big ticket items that are free in your area. Is there a free bed that you could polish up and sell? A gorgeous piano that just needs a buyer? Collect those items.

Step 4: Design your set up. How many tables will you actually need? How will it be organized? I recommend: Kitchen items in one spot, books in another, clothes in another. Electronics separated and close to where you’ll sit for most of the time. Put higher priced items near the back of the sale or wherever you’ll sit/stand. You could also sort by prices if that makes sense to you. If you do it this way, you won’t need stickers for different prices, so that’s a plus.

Step 5: Wipe down/launder all items for sale. I recommend using pleasantly fragrant cleaning supplies and laundry detergent so people’s noses will know they’re clean. Clean items are much more inviting than dusty items that will get hands and clothes dirty. It’s worth the effort, trust me. However, if you are going to have a free section, which I recommend, those items can go as they are. Save your energy.

I’ll write more as we get closer to our sale. Wish us luck!



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