Host the Best Yard Sale Ever

Bring in extra cash and unclutter you home by having a garage saleABC News Photo Illustration
A successful yard sale can help clean a cluttered home and bring in extra cash.

Yard sale, garage sale, rummage sale or tag sale -- no matter what you call it, it can help you clear out the winter clutter and scoop up enough cash for a summer treat.

But as with any business venture, success isn't guaranteed.

Special correspondent Cameron Mathison of "All My Children" and "Dancing With the Stars" tried one in his own home, and shared with "GMA" his secrets for making a sale fun and profitable.

VIDEO: Host the Best Yard Sale EverPlay

Clean the Clutter

A yard sale is a great incentive to start your spring cleaning. As you clean out the attic or basement, put things aside that you don't use anymore but that can be sold. Be objective when deciding what goes and what stays.

"You need to let go of things," yard sale expert Trish Suhr of the Style Network said. "There's stuff that you're never going to use again."

It can be difficult to part with some things, especially clothes. If you haven't worn something in a year, it's time to let it go. Waiting for stonewashed jeans or hammer pants to come back in style just takes up room that could be used for more wearable fashions.

"It's often helpful to have a friend or partner go through the closet with you," Mathison said, "to help you make some tough decisions."

Old sporting equipment and electronics are perfect for a yard sale. Remember to wipe clean the hard drive of any computers you plan on selling and to uninstall any software that might have stored usage details.

As for the kids' stuff, Suhr cited baby clothes and toys as the most popular yard sale items. But for a child, getting rid of these things might be tough. When you survey the house looking for items to sell, to lessen the blow you might not want the kids with you.

The other option is to make the entire process into family fun. Give kids a goal and put them in charge of which items they would like to sell.

Once you know what you want to sell, the next step is finding people who will buy.

Finding Your Customers

Send out e-mails announcing your sale to friends, co-workers and parents' groups, then ask them to forward that note on to their family, friends and colleagues.

Mathison invited his co-workers at "All My Children" and the parents of his children's classmates.

Send out your invitations a couple of weeks before the sale and follow up with a reminder a day or two before it happens.

Successfully Sell your Stuff

The presentation of your items will affect how successfully they sell. An appealing display is likely to increase your sales.

"Hang clothes up like they do in stores," Mathison said. "Clothing racks are available at home stores, or you can rent or borrow one from a store near your home."

Decorate your space with balloons, cover tables with brightly colored tablecloths, and put your best merchandise out front.

Keep the area and your items for sale clean. No one will want to buy dirty clothes or toys. A quick dusting could help you make the sale.

It's even more important that your dealings aren't dirty. Be honest with the buyers. Remember, they know where you live! If something is partially broken, be upfront about it. If the tape deck in a boom box is broken, someone who only wants it for the CD player might buy it anyway.

Make Sure the Price is Right

When it comes to pricing, be a savvy seller. Don't price anything too high or you'll be left with a yard full of your stuff, but don't go too low either. A trip to a thrift store might help you price some items if you are unsure about their worth.

Put a price tag on everything. Some buyers will walk away from something they want rather than ask for a price.

Before the sale, gather the change lying around the house or collected in jars. If you're short, a quick trip to the bank can set you up. Having plenty of change on hand will ensure no one walks away from a sale because you couldn't break their $20 bill.

After you have customers for your sale, make sure they stay! Happy customers will shop longer, so play music, make some treats and have the kids help serve lemonade. Make it more comfortable to stay and spend than to leave empty-handed.