How to Have a Tag Sale

Get rid of your junk while making extra cash? Sounds like a good idea to us.

Money Sense

If your house is overrun with things you no longer use or want, have a tag sale. Getting rid of unwanted stuff will set your spirit free. Here's how to get started.

1) Don't lie to yourself.

If you haven't used it or worn it in over a year, get rid of it. Go through your basement, attic, closets and drawers and place unwanted stuff in cardboard boxes. And while you're at it, ask your friends and neighbors if they have anything they'd like to contribute. They might appreciate the opportunity to unload their closets—and can maybe help you staff your sale on the big day.

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2) Create an inventory list.

Although it might be tempting to just throw everything on the front lawn and hope for the best, you'll want to compile a list of everything you're selling and how much you plan to sell it for. Group your items into categories and keep them at similar prices. For example, hardcover books are $1, kids' toys are $3, etc. An inventory sheet will also help your sales staff check prices and mark off items as they're sold.

3) Price things right.

If you want to get rid of things, price them to sell. If you're selling valuable goods, consider pricing them at ΒΌ of what you paid for them or less. People come to tag sales searching for bargains, so if you're looking for a high ROI on certain items, consider placing them on Craigslist or eBay. One more thing: Your customers will definitely haggle on price. Have fun with it and be friendly during your interactions.

4) Find out if you need a permit.

Some towns require authorization. Call your county clerk's office or the local police department to see if you need special permission to set up shop in front of your house. Paying a fine would be a real bummer.

5) Advertising is key.

Advertise a few days before your weekend sale. In addition to posters hung up around the neighborhood, advertise your sale on Craigslist and in the local PennySaver. Mention the highlights (bicycles, kids' furniture, vintage jewelry or amazing prices) plus the date, location and time. A thought: You might want to take a look at the 10-day weather report before committing to a date.

6) Be a good retailer.

Make it easy on yourself and your customers by labeling the price of things on tags or blue painter's tape. Keep your shop neat and display things on folding tables. (You can either borrow tables from friends or rent them.) Hang clothing on portable coat racks for easy viewing and give your customers a friendly welcome when they stop by. Another idea: Play some fun music that would appeal to lots of people (think Beatles not Beastie Boys) to keep the shopping vibe upbeat.

7) Play it safe.

It's wise to keep your money on you, especially if you're attracting a large crowd—an unsupervised cash box could be tempting to a sticky-fingered visitor. Also, if you're having the sale in front of your home, don't feel obliged to let strangers into your house to use the bathroom (however, you might want to make an exception for young children).

Ryan Homes Question: Have you ever had a tag sale? Do you have any tips to share?