10 reasons to skip the yard sale

From trampled flower beds to piddly profits, hosting a yard sale can be a disheartening experience. Sure, there are ways to make it more fun and profitable, but if selling stuff in your yard is simply not your cup of tea, consider this your official permission slip to let yourself off the hook this year (and maybe forever).

1. You have to store all that stuff somewhere until sale day. When you store up things “for the yard sale,” you’re far more likely to end up keeping the items than if you got rid of them right away. And if you don’t have a spare room or garage to store the items waiting to be sold, you could be tripping over piles for weeks.

2. Big-ticket items fetch higher prices in shops and online. Yard sale shoppers are notorious bargain hunters, so if you were hoping to get a decent amount of cash for a few bigger-ticket items (for example, antiques and musical instruments), you might want to consider some other options — such as Craigslist or a local consignment antiques shop — instead.

3. Ditto for quality new and vintage clothes. Selling clothing at a yard sale is a tough business. If you have a mountain of clothing and accessories that you’re ready to part with, you would probably do better bringing your haul to a local consignment shop. You can offload all your clothes (and bags and shoes) at once and likely make more money than you would on the same items at a yard sale.

4. You feel comfortable selling items online. If you’re already pretty savvy when it comes to navigating online sales sites such as eBay and Craigslist, it can be worth focusing your efforts on selling a few of your best items online. You could potentially profit more from a few online sales (antiques and collectible items do especially well) than from an entire yard sale. If you decide to sell online, take high-quality, close-up photos of your items in good light and include relevant keywords to help shoppers find your item.

5. You don’t have time to set up and run a sale. After deciding what to get rid of (no easy feat in itself!), you will need to price the items, advertise your sale, remember to pick up small bills for making change, haul everything outdoors and set it up in an appealing way, and … sit there all day selling your stuff. Not to mention the fact that there will inevitably be items left over at the end of the day, and you will still have to take those to a donation center. If you simply don’t have the time for all that, a yard sale is probably not the best choice for you. Instead, try getting a free charitable pickup (see No. 6), or sell your top items online instead.

6. You have enough stuff to warrant a (free) pickup from a local charity. Taking the tax deduction associated with charitable giving may actually be a better deal than the small amount of cash you would make at a yard sale. Plus, if you have larger items (such as furniture) to donate, many charities will schedule a free pickup at your home. Just remember to check ahead of time with the organization to be sure it’s tax deductible, and ask for a receipt.

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7. You live in an off-the-beaten-path location. Yard sale success often relies heavily on foot traffic, so if your home is hard to find or not on a main road, it may not be worth your while to hold a yard sale. If you choose to hold one anyway, be sure to advertise well in advance and place clear signage on the nearest main road as well as at the entrance to your home.

8. Your homeowners association has restrictive rules about yard sales. If you belong to a homeowners association, it’s a good idea to check the guidelines before committing to a yard sale. Some HOAs limit the number of yard sales per year or have other restrictions about how and where you can display your items.

9. The weather in your area is unpredictable. After all the hard work and planning it takes to get ready for a yard sale, waking up to a summer thunderstorm on sale day can be incredibly frustrating. And if the weather is too hot, your yard sale may not get much foot traffic, resulting in lots of items left over at the end of the day.

10. You just hate having yard sales. Do you despise sitting in the sun all day haggling over 25-cent price tags, making change and watching crowds of shoppers trample your flower beds? Give yourself a break and forget the yard sale.