Secrets to a Terrific Tag Sale

Got clutter? It really can be someone else's treasure. Here's how to make your sale a success.

By: Brooke Showell

It's a win-win. Selling what you no longer need means you can finally meet that goal of simplifying and decluttering. And if you do it right, you can pull in a nice stash of cash in the process. Here's how to sift through and organize your goods, attract local bargain hunters and visiting beach-goers, pick the best prices, and more.

Decide what to sell

From provincial art that didn't make it into your modern renovation to the ice-cream maker and beer mug wedding gifts you never even took out of their boxes, the possibilities for what you can offer at a tag sale are endless. Some prime candidates from your coastal digs: forgotten hobbies (the fishing pole you used exactly once), items that don't fit your beach house vision (a grizzly bear statue), and outdated technology. Weed it all out with these rules:

Sell anything you don't use, suggests John Trosko, a professional organizer in Los Angeles. Items you haven't worn, played or cooked with, displayed, or read in the past 12 months can go.
Choose a top 10. Keep only a small percentage of any particular category, such as board games, posters, picture frames, or candles.
Involve an impartial third party. Their support may be the boost you need to say goodbye to that sea horse sculpture.
Set a goal. "If you are having trouble parting with your treasures, create a goal with your family for what you'll do with the proceeds from the sale," John says.
Let it go. To ease anxiety, think about the new life your possessions may have. "People love that items that have become useless to them become useful to someone else," John says.
Don't get too sentimental. If you truly have a hard time getting rid of something you know needs to go (for instance, your child's outgrown baby clothes), John suggests taking a picture of it for memories.

Pick the right date

Choose a day when your area gets the most traffic—typically Friday, Saturday, or Sunday—or consider a two-day tag sale, with the second day dedicated to heavily discounting what you don't sell the first time around. Keep in mind that veteran tag-sale shoppers hit the streets early. Run your sale from about 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to attract the most shoppers.

Spread the word

Community newspapers and Web sites are ideal places to start advertising. Double-check the submission deadlines, and use descriptive words such as "elegant," "tasteful," "designer," and "beautiful." Ask to hang fliers at local coffee shops, markets, B&Bs, libraries, and other places both residents and weekenders tend to frequent. For larger sales, Web sites such as Craigslist and Tag Sell It ( are great places to reach a wide audience of bargain hunters. John suggests setting up a public event page on Facebook, where you can invite online friends and post photos of the goods.

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