USAA Tips: Is a yard sale worth the hassle?

Content provided courtesy of USAA.

The spring and summer seasons are a great time to start clearing out the excess clutter in our homes. Feeling as if we are getting a fresh start, clearing out the things that we no longer use or need. With the same thought of getting rid of the old we ponder selling our stuff and making a bit of money at the same time. Sounds like a good plan, right?

Another great reason to have a yard sale is that it can sure be a great way to make some extra cash to tuck away into savings, however with yard sales, comes a few hassles. Before packing up those boxes and marking them for sale, consider these three things:

Think of the time involved. Having a yard sale is more than just putting some things on tables the day of the sale. Think about how many items you have to sell and the earning potential for each item. If you don’t have high priced items, will it be worth it? Will you need to price out your items individually? How much time will you spend putting up signs to your sale? Ensure you value the time it takes to clean, set-up, sell, and then clean up again afterwards. Because let’s face it, not everything sells.

The cost of having a yard sale. Make a list of the total costs involved; the last thing you want is to come out not making a profit.


  • Ad in the paper advertising the sale

  • Cost of supplies for sale stickers, tape, bulletin board for signs, etc.

  • Do you have to take off work to host the sale?

  • What about childcare costs?

  • City permit for the sale

  • If you’re throwing a community sale, how much for the table?

In the end, if your costs aren’t too high, you may make a profit. Also, consider throwing the sale on Saturday and Sunday. This will help if something doesn’t sell the first day and the weekend is always the best time to get people out and buying.

What if you have a yard sale and don’t make much of a profit? Nothing is more deflating than putting in all the time and effort to walk away with not much of a profit. A great way to try and sell what hasn’t sold is to either sell it at a consignment shop, place it for sale in the newspaper, or a Facebook yard sale group. If you don’t want the hassle of selling and just want to get rid of whatever is left, consider making a donation.