5 Reasons NOT to Hold a Yard Sale

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It’s June and summer yard and garage sales are getting into full swing. I used to love scavenging yard sales to find good deals on things I thought I needed, but after hosting and helping with the sales myself, I hardly ever recommend to others that they hold their own. Here’s why:

1. Yard sales are time consuming. Between the time you spend sorting out the stuff you want to sell, advertising the sale, marking prices on your stuff, and the time you spend the day of actually running the sale, the time investment may well be worth far more than the stuff you’re trying to sell. As the saying goes, time is money.

2. Yard sale success can be determined by the weather. Do you have a garage or other backup space you could actually move your stuff to if it rains? Yard salers often come out in droves when the weather is nice but often not as much when it’s raining or really hot. True, you can always postpone your sale, but this will only add to your time investment (see #1) and procrastination (see #4).

3. Yard sale preparations can take up a lot of space. If you’re trying to declutter and make space for your new organizing systems, where are you going to store all the yard sale items before the sale? Depending on how much decluttering you actually have to do, you may need to get the stuff out of your home in order to make space for the stuff you really want to keep to get organized. Is it more important to make money or is having your home be a warm, inviting, clean, clear and organized space a priority? Getting your unwanted items out the door and to a donation shop may help you realize your goals much more quickly.

4. Yard sales can lead to procrastination. Once people understand how much time and effort really goes into one of these events, some fall into a cycle of procrastination. They start saving things for the yard sale but keep putting off the yard sale because they aren’t ready yet, so the stuff just stays in the home. Instead of getting the clutter out of the house it gets shifted from one area to another in “preparation” for the sale. Plus it can lead to backsliding – the person decides “Maybe this [item I was going to sell] is really worth keeping,” and around and around in the cycle they go.

5. Yard sales lead to a trip to the donation shop at least 95% of the time. I have yet to meet anyone who sold everything at their yard sale – every single one of them still had to make at least one trip to a donation store after the sale was over – that is of course if they actually got rid of the stuff they didn’t sell at the yard sale. Another pitfall of yard sales is people not getting rid of the leftover stuff and it ending up back in the home, which only perpetuates the cycle of clutter.

If you’re really ready to move forward with clearing your clutter, I encourage you to get the stuff OUT of your house as soon as you can – whether that’s to a donation shop, a consignment shop, or in the trash or recycling – the more you can open up your space, the easier it will be to figure out the best organizing systems for you.

Are you hosting a yard sale this summer? Tell me about your experiences in the comments below!

About the author:

  • Karrey

    See, I love holding a garage sale every year or two because it coincides with our regular “big purge” that we hold every so often, to get rid of the things we barely/never use. The purge happens whether we have a garage sale or not, and we generally wait to hold one until we have a collection of things that’ll be worth selling rather than donating.

  • TracyKPierce

    Karrey, it sounds like you have a good system in place and I applaud you! From what you’ve said it sounds like doing the sale is something you actually enjoy and have a plan of action for pulling off, this is quite different from a lot of the people I talk to. I wish you the best of luck with your sale this year!

  • I’ve been involved with and attended quite a few garage sales over the years, and I’ve found they’re only worth holding or attending if there are some really good items available. It’s disappointing to go to a sale and find it’s no more than a table of unmatched glassware and well-worn board games (probably with pieces missing), and that type of sale is highly unlikely to generate enough sales to make it worth the time and effort.

  • TracyKPierce

    Janet, I totally agree with you. Again this all comes back to people believing their stuff is worth a whole lot more than it really is, which is fairly common.

  • ohsolinda

    We recently had a very successful tag sale, but the weather (as you pointed out in #2) can be an issue. Day 1 was gorgeous and we had tons of people (nonstop) all day. Day 2 was not so great. It poured almost the entire day and had very few visitors. We did manage to shelter some of the wares, but things were cramped and not as conducive to shopping. All in all Day 1 made up for Day 2, but no question that the weather plays a big part in the outcome.

  • TracyKPierce

    I’ve been to many sales when the weather turned nasty and the crowds were significantly smaller than on those beautiful days. Thanks for sharing your experience, Linda!

  • Rie Brosco

    I LOVE this blogpost. May I reprint it (with appropriate author designation, of course)? I am always having this discussion with my clients. Thank you for putting it so succinctly.
    Rie Brosco, Professional Organizer and Owner
    RieOrganize!
    http://RieOrganize.com

  • TracyKPierce

    Rie, I sent you an email with a few questions about this, when you have a chance please reply to it and tell me more! Thanks!

  • AmethystMahoney

    I’m with Karry. I do my sales to coincide with my big purges, or in the case of moving to Omaha, after a move across the country. Considering what I make on them (close to 4-figures every time) it is NOT a waste of time! 🙂

  • TracyKPierce

    You are definitely more organized than the majority of people I run into having a yard sale, Amethyst! That’s great that you’re able to make that much money – you must have some really nice items available for sale.

  • Kimberly Eldredge

    I’ve collected SIX boxes of stuff for a garage sale. Then I looked at my life and my short term business & life goals. Frankly, the sale just isn’t in the cards. It’s not worth it! It’s not junk (I’m good at tossing) but even with six boxes, it’s not enough for me to give up two or three whole days to have the sale. To Goodwill it goes!

  • TracyKPierce

    Kimberly, yes, 6 boxes hardly seems worth it! Plus you can at least get a receipt at Goodwill and write it off on your taxes next year. Thanks for sharing your story with us!

  • Looking for person or company who does garage sales or moving sale.

    I have a 2 car garage full of new and used construction equipment,
    boating items, galvanized hardware and brass fitting. I am looking for
    someone to hold a garage sale for 50% of the sales. You can use my
    property or yours which ever works for you. Please contact Bart at
    516.462.3750.

  • TracyKPierce

    What’s your location?

  • Freeport, NY

  • TracyKPierce

    That’s beyond where I’m able to travel to at this time, but if you go to:

    http://www.napo.net/publicdirectory/

    and search by your zip code you I’m sure you can find someone who will be able to help you. When I searched within a 10 miles radius it came back with 12 different organizers in your area. If none of them can help you directly I’m willing to bet they can refer to a company in your area who specializes in this. Best of luck, Bart!

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