10 Things About Tag Sales You May Not Know

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So, we had a tag sale this past weekend. Or garage sale. Or yard sale. Or whatever your particular region likes to refer to these things as. I tried to do lots of research before putting it all together. The thing is– we’re not tag sale people. We’ve never had one before and, to be honest, we don’t shop at them. I have NOTHING against tag sales. It’s just not “my thing”, if you will. So there you go. I definitely needed help.


And I found it! Lots of super resources out there. I leaned particularly hard on the advice of Crystal and Myra.


Here are ten bonus things you may want to know that I’ve learned from my time in the trenches:


  1. Quarters are essential. If there is one unit of money I feared would be depleted, it would be quarters. We started with a whole roll, but they seemed to go fast. Now, by the end, we had over $14 in quarters. So… it all worked out. But make sure you have enough.
  2. Bags are easy to steal. I know this sounds awful, but it’s the honest truth. If you go through the self check-out, you can take some extra bags. I rationalized this by pointing out that the reason I didn’t HAVE abundant grocery sacks was because I use reusables all the time. So… it all works out in the end.
  3. You never know what people will buy. I came this close to tossing a few cans of air freshener that I just never, ever use. I don’t like the way it makes me want to hack and gag. But, hey, I threw 25 cent stickers on them and put them out. They went in the blink of an eye. I’m glad they’ll get used and I made a buck. Win-win.
  4. Your faith in the human spirit may be reinforced. We had people buy clothing for a foundation in Brazil. Another bought books to send to impoverished countries where there’s no such thing as preschool and those board books are treasured. I was so, so happy that I’d priced things “way too low” when I saw these kind souls.
  5. Your faith in the goodness of people might be shattered. A friendly, chatty lady whose company I had enjoyed stole from me. Just a few dresses, only a couple dollars worth of merchandise. But it hurt and upset me.
  6. You may hear heart-warming stories. I loved hearing a great-grandma tell me how she scours tag sales looking for “talking animals” (aka those noisy stuffed animals we parents usually hate). She lines them up on the back of her couch and her toddler great-grandson loves to push them all. Isn’t it awesome to have a great-grandma to do that? Most of us mommies would never put up with that racket. ;)
  7. You may hear sad stories. Like the mother of a 19-month old looking for a second bathtub, potty seat, and toys because she and her husband were separated. That broke my heart.
  8. Sometimes talking helps. Pointing out a sun hat that was handmade and cherished helped. Mentioning the Baby Einstein videos made one young mom’s day. You know what you have and you can help people find what they need/want. So talk away.
  9. But sometimes you should shut your mouth. We sold all of our kids’ clothing, but most of the adult clothing we got rid of was my stuff– and mainly jeans. The people who bought them? Were teenaged girls. They don’t want to hear about how those jeans were worn by some 35yo mom of three. I kept my trap firmly closed even when I would have loved to say, “Oh, I used to love wearing those with a long white tee!”
  10. There is value way beyond what you earn. Yes, we came out ahead with this tag sale. And that’s great. But we honestly ended up donating almost as much as we sold. Still, it was so very, very worth it just to have all that STUFF out of my house. Most of it was totally out of sight, but it was still there, taking up air and space and I’m so grateful to be done with it!

Would I do it again? Absolutely. But I hope to not have to for a good long time. :)


(Oh! And also? Lemonade Stands are wildly successful. Our kids did super well. I can’t even tell you how many people bought nothing from us but still got lemonade.)


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15 comments to 10 Things About Tag Sales You May Not Know

  • Carrie

    I’ve discovered the wonderful world of Freecycle. I post stuff I need to get rid of and people come pick it up! I can get rid of a couple things at a time and don’t have to fuss with price tags, signs, and the crazy making. Last tag sale we did we ended up losing money (after placing an ad in the paper) and wasted a whole weekend for about $20 in sales. Now no muss, no fuss, and less clutter!

    • I am SUCH a chicken, Carrie. I’m terrified of weird people coming to my house, which has always made me leery of Craigslist stuff, too. But I know people have had great success and I suppose you could just limit the “pick-up times” to those when someone is there with you. Or get a little braver. ;) (We didn’t do a newspaper ad, actually– just signs and a free Craigslist posting.)

      • Carrie

        I limit the pick up times to daylight hours and I just leave most things on my doorstep, although I have had to let one family in as I couldn’t carry that big old microwave up the stairs! I’ve only had good experiences, thankfully. You’ve reminded me that I have a bunch more stuff to post … next week ;)

        • I think I would have to limit pick-up times to evenings and weekends when my man is here… all we really have left is furniture, so I can’t really haul it out to the porch. ;) I love the idea of just getting it all out, though! That huge Goodwill run we did after the sale felt great, too.

  • I’m snickering at your suggestion to steal grocery bags.
    I did that once… I was probably 6?
    Stuffed them under my shirt, and marched my way to the car.
    My mom heard them rustling and made me march back inside to return them.
    So, while I won’t be snagging grocery bags for a yard sale, I do love this list of advice-
    Connection. It’s about making a connection with a stranger and sharing what’s ours to share. :)

  • My Aunt Mary Louise is the Queen of yard sales! I remember helping her 2 or 3 times during the summer. I usually donate or craigslist most of my stuff. I’m just not a fan of clutter. My friend keeps inviting me to join her yearly yard sale but I hate standing out in the heat all day. Maybe this summer I’ll give it a try.

    • We have a couple of furniture items remaining that we’re pondering putting on Craigslist. (As I mentioned earlier– I’m super chicken about people coming to the house if my husband isn’t here!!) It was HOT on Saturday– kind of brutal. On the plus side, I think it likely boosted lemonade sales. ;)

      • I don’t like the idea of people coming to our house either. For things that are easy to transport- we meet in a public place like a fast food parking lot. I’ve only had someone come to my house once, and my husband dealt with them. I waited in another room with the dog and a cell phone. They were normal but like you I was freaked out with someone coming to my home.

  • Off to grocery bag jail with you!! ha ha!
    I can’t believe somewhat talked you up then stole dresses. People are so weird. I have never had a craigslist person come to my house. I meet them in a busy parking lot in the day light.

    • I think that’s definitely the smart way to do it, Heather… we just have giant furniture left, so I can’t really do it that way. I can only imagine the other hardened criminals I’d meet in grocery bag jail… ;)

  • mlearley

    We did a Yard Sale last summer and I was trying to get rid of duplicate baby stuff. No one wanted to pay very much for my stuff…basically wanted it for free. We had a lawn mower with a “make an offer” sticker on it and this guy offers me $5. The thing worked but we got a new one, so we didn’t need it. I was insulted by the $5. So I’ve decided no more Yard Sales. I did a consignment sale this year instead and made out a lot better. Then most of my stuff that didn’t sell we donated.

    • I was insulted that beautiful dresses I’d priced at 25 cents apiece were STOLEN! :O But I hear you. It can be frustrating. We had a lot of stuff and I had no interest in hauling all of it out of here, so this worked this time. I hope not to get to that point again. It was almost all baby/toddler/kid clothes… I had 15 giant box/tubs full of that stuff. Way too unwieldy. (And all of that stuff sold! :))

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