14 Dos and Don'ts of Yard Sale Display

Garage Sale Display Ideas and Tips

family at garage sale
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Displaying your merchandise is a crucial part of holding a successful yard sale. Yard sale goods that are clean, organized, and well-presented sell better. If you're looking for garage sale display ideas, start with these 14 do's and don'ts:

1. Do Buy or Borrow Folding Tables (or Make Some from Sawhorses and Plywood)

If you borrow your breakfast table from the kitchen, that's the one thing every shopper will want to buy, even if it's clearly marked “not for sale.” They'll ask about folding tables too, but not as often.

2. Do Group Like Items Together

When you group like items together, the goods look more abundant and makes for a better display. Also, shoppers looking for something specific can find it faster, and they're more likely to buy multiple pieces.

3. Do Clean the Goods Before Displaying Them

Dusty furniture, sticky glassware, and stinky, stained clothing scream of neglect. Clean, well-tended pieces appear more valuable.

Spritz old coats, draperies and curtains, and upholstered furniture with something to get rid of the musty smell if they've been in storage. Make antique wood furniture shine with a fresh coat of wax.

4. Don't Go Overboard Cleaning and Prepping the Merchandise 

It's one thing to polish the copper and wash the dirty clothes, but don't iron the outgrown onesies or refinish the furniture. You won't make enough money to recoup the time you invested.

5. Do Display Small Valuable Items Close to the Checkout Area

Keep valuable objects close to the house or at the checkout table so you can keep an eye on them, especially if they're small or fragile.

If you don't, jewelry and real silver may walk away when you're not looking. And, delicate ephemera (vintage paper items) may be damaged by shoppers that don't appreciate its value.

6. Do Place Breakables Out of Children's Reach

Some shoppers let their children run wild -- and those who do will probably refuse to pay for your now-broken collection of carnival glass.

7. Do Display Big Showy Pieces Closest to the Street

Place desirable sale merchandise at the street end of your yard or driveway, especially seasonal items and large pieces (such as furniture). Even if you're setting up most of the merchandise in the garage, it's makes the sale look bigger and better, and it gives drive-by browsers a reason to stop.

8. Do Display Adult and Big Kids' Clothing on Hangers

Hang the clothing on racks and arrange it by size. It looks better, it's easier to look through, and it's less likely to end up on the ground.

9. Don't Place Tables and Clothing Racks Too Close

Don't place tables and clothing racks so close together that shoppers can't comfortably get through. Not every shopper is a size two.

If space is an issue, you don't have to cram everything into the garage. Spread out across the driveway and yard. It makes your sale look bigger anyway.

10. Do Display Baby and Small Children's Clothing on Tables

Fold and stack baby and young kids' clothing on tables, and arrange it by size and type. It takes up less space than hanging them, and little pieces are easy to straighten and refold.

11. Do Have an Outlet or Extension Cord Handy

Customers expect to check electrical items. If you don't have an outside outlet, run a heavy-duty extension cord from your house or garage. Keep a light bulb on hand for testing lamps too. 

12. Don't Sell Merchandise That's Damaged Beyond Repair or Recalled

Don't sell dangerous or destroyed merchandise. The money you'll make isn't worth it.

It's fine to sell a nonworking vintage radio to someone who wants it for display, but be honest about the condition. Don't tell a shopper the toaster works if it doesn't. That customer you con may turn out to be the HOA president, your child's soccer coach, or your new boss.​

13. Do Remove All Non-Sale Items from The Area

Remove all portable objects from your garage, porch, or yard before the sale. If you don't, every other shopper will ask for a price on your potted plants and garden hose.

If you can't move it, mark with a sign that says “Not for Sale.” Some will still ask, but not as many.

14. Do Straighten and Rearrange the Tables During Downtime 

Yard sales get hectic and shoppers make a mess of the merchandise. When you have a moment, do some straightening before the next wave of shoppers arrive.