Ten Things I Learned from Having a Yard Sale

posted in: blog, family, parenting, rants | 1

We had a yard sale last weekend.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term “Yard Sale,” it’s basically taking everything you’ve ever bought your children or received as a wedding gift and put it out in your front yard to try to sell to strangers.

Essentially, it’s 5 to 6 hours of hell.

That said, here are some things I learned from having it:

1) Yard Sale Planning sucks

The first step in having a yard sale is saying, “Let’s have a yard sale!”

The second step in having a yard sale is picking a date to have it. In all cases, this is probably moot because any day you pick will probably end in rain. This is similar to the phenomenon of planning to grill outdoors. I haven’t used my grill on a non-rainy day since 1997.

The third step in having a yard sale is putting up posters all over town and making sure you have the right date and draw arrows on the posters so people head in the general direction of your yard sale and don’t end up at, like, a dumpster in the back of a Costco.

The problem with putting up signs is that a million people have also used the same telephone poles you’re using to put up signs for THEIR yard sales, so every pole in town is riddled with nails and staples leading me to item #2:

2) Tetanus shots hurt

3) Your Kids Suddenly Want to Keep Everything

That Barbie doll you gave your daughter when she was 3 that she hasn’t played with – or even remembered she had – for the last 5 years?

Well, she just spotted it in the 50-cent bin and now it’s her favorite thing that she wants to keep and play with and hug forever and ever and OHMYGOD WHY ARE YOU CRYING YOU DIDN’T EVEN KNOW YOU STILL HAD THAT TIL JUST 3 MINUTES AGO.

Repeat this with every single toy they see for sale and you get the gist.

4) Your Kids Suddenly Want to Sell Everything

After you convince your kids to sell that thing you were originally going to sell, and it sells, they get hooked.



That’s the sound of your children running back to their rooms and emptying every draw and searching under every nook and cranny to pull out things to sell like that thing YOU JUST PAID $200 FOR LAST CHRISTMAS I DON’T THINK SO KID.

5) People Will Buy Anything

This is really weird.

To watch someone pick out your old sneakers that have a hole in them and pay you a quarter is just weird.

And gross.

It’s weird and gross.

But, hey, a quarter is a quarter so enjoy your hole-y foot fungal ridden Adidas, dude.

6) People Will Argue About the Price of Everything

I had my first guitar out front for sale. It was a Fender Squire, black, that I paid $100 for. Not a great guitar, but not a bad one, either.

At two years old, I had it priced for $60.

No one bought it.

This was fine, because I could get the same amount for a trade-in at the music store I take lessons at, so I brought it back inside the house and put it away.

Later that night (3 hours after the yard sale FINISHED), my doorbell rang.

It was a Spanish woman who was at the yard sale earlier. She barely spoke English.

Me: Hi.

Her: Hi..you…still have…um… [makes strumming motion with her hands]

Me: My guitar?

Her: YES. Geetar.

Me: I do.

Her: How much?

Me: $60.

Her: Oh. My son say too expensive. He give $30.

Me: Your son is not getting my guitar.

Her: Oh. Okay.

This happens for almost everything except what you put into a FREE bin.

Which leads me to…

7) People will take anything if it’s FREE

I was told to put a box out at the curb marked “FREE” and put stuff that probably wouldn’t sell for more than a dime.

We found anything and everything we could to put in that box.

Essentially, it’s a box full of shit we would have just thrown out but – sure enough – people went rummaging through the bin and pulling stuff out and then they’d take their free crap and put it in their cars and drive away, saving me the money it would have cost me to have it picked up.


Although, in hindsight, my wife wasn’t too happy about me putting the 7-year old in the box but whatever.

8) Hours of Operation are Irrelevant

Our signs said our yard sale would be from 9 AM to 2 PM.

This means we had to start setting up around, like, 7 AM because we had a lot of crap.

At roughly 7:01, people started showing up and looking through things as I was out in my pajamas setting up tables. This is a good look for me, but not for everyone.

If you’re planning on having your yard sale earlier than 9 AM, plan on people showing up and camping on your front lawn overnight.

9) Go Through Your Shit Before You Try to Sell it

My favorite moment of the day.

My wife had put out some old pocketbooks on a table for sale. She was in the house, leaving me outside with the kids when a man tapped me on the shoulder.

Man: There are some things still in this pocketbook.

Me: Oh. Okay.

I took the pocketbook from the man and opened it up and looked inside.

There, in all their glory, were three MaxiPads.


So, you know, that was awesome.

10) Even with Finding Feminine Hygiene Products in Stuff You’re Selling It’s Still Worth It

Overall, in 5 hours we made just under $600 and managed to get rid of a ton of junk.

The extra bonus part is that what we DIDN’T sell actually still has prices on it so if/when we want to do this again, we just have to put it all back out and hope the next wave takes it so we don’t have to chuck it all.

We gave each kid a 5% cut of the profits for helping out, so we still managed to profit $500.

Of course, we sold $15,000 worth of stuff but at least I can walk around in my basement now. Extra bonus is my wife has three MaxiPads that she won’t have to go out and buy.

Silver linings, people.

Silver panty linings, but whatever.

  1. Brett Minor

    I have never attempted a yard sale as an adult, but I remember my parent having one when I was 12.

    My dad ran people off the property who showed up before the posted time. My mom had a nervous breakdown because no one would just read the prices on the stickers. My brothers and I got to work a little hot dog table, but had to eat all the hot dogs because no one bought any. At the end of the day, my dad talked a guy into buying everything we had left for $50.

    It was awesome. We never had another one.