Yard Sale

Clear out your clutter and cash in! While the kids are still home from school this summer, make plans to host a garage sale when the weather cools a bit. With a little presale prep, this activity can also be a great family financial lesson. 

Along with making posters using the back side of the Student of the Week poster from third grade and traipsing around the neighborhood with you while you make large masking tape loops to hang the signs with, your kids can raid their closets and cubbies for items to sell. Convincing your child that he’ll get money to purchase new toys from selling old ones he no longer is interested in or has mastered, is the trick to inspiring him to clean under his bed.  


Have a discussion with your child about pricing. Pricing a little higher leaves room for haggling. Give your child a roll of painter’s tape and let them make the prices. When shoppers arrive home and remove the tape, there will be no sticky residue left behind. If your child is ready to part with electronics (even broken electronics are often nabbed for parts) or gaming systems with games, have them do their homework. Check eBay for going rates.

Have your kids ask their friends to help out. Not only can they bring stuff to sell, they can also be an extra pair of hands. Price to sell. The point is to clear out the clutter. Make sure you have plenty of small bills on hand and let your child make change with your supervision. Also, there’s no sense in cents at a yard sale. If you’re thinking something should go for 50 cents, do 2 for $1 instead. Unless of course, you see a math lesson there. It’s up to you! 


Offering to match whatever your child earns from the sale could be an additional motivator. The more she sells, the more money she’ll make. If she knows there are matching funds, she’ll potentially work harder to make the yard sale successful. 


Group similar items together and display neatly. No one likes to dig through piles of stuff. Put the toys up front, attracting kids and their parents. A few days before, clean and check through all items. Nothing like a $3 pair of jeans with an inadvertent $20 bill in the pocket! Put books in a bookshelf and hang clothes on a shower rod.  


Be prepared to start early, especially if you are avoiding the heat. It seems around here, early birds love a Friday sale. But if that’s not possible with your kids’ school schedule, start early on Saturday morning. Late arrivals are interested in haggling or getting the lowest price. Make sure to communicate with your kids that it’s not over till it’s over. Packing up the leftover items into boxes and taking them to a nearby donation center for your favorite charity will avoid the “creep.” The “creep” are items left after the sale, which creep back into closets and drawers. 


Garage sales are most importantly a way to clear out clutter, which clears the mind. They are of course about making money. They are about contributing to reduction of waste and recycling. But they can also be a way of giving to others. Getting your kids involved in yard sales gives them an opportunity to donate funds to charity, especially one with which they can identify. Help your children establish ahead of time where they would like to see their contribution go. They may even pick out more of their toys to sell once they understand that proceeds will go to help out a less fortunate child.

Besides teaching your kids about supporting a valuable cause and stretching the budget, yard sales are kind of fun! Have your kids pocket their earnings and head out early on a Saturday morning to check out a few neighborhood sales. Turn up the radio, grab an ice cream cone and come home with some amazing steals. Did you know in 2010 at a Las Vegas sale, a man unknowingly purchased a sketch for $5 that some experts speculate is an original Andy Warhol drawing worth $2 million! Just sayin’! 


Less is more when it comes to advertising. Be concise, use bold marker font and don’t forget the arrows. We make the arrows and tape them on while at the street corner. This avoids the “oops!” moment.

Post for free on garagesaletracker.com. Snap a few pictures of your best stuff and post the details for the sale on Facebook, instagram or the Arcadia parents Google group.