Clear the Decks Organizing

Home Link
Hints & Suggestions Link
About Me Link
Tag Sale

How to Give a Tag Sale
(feel free to print this page)

Before the sale

  • An important point is to have a lot of "stuff"
    • People will drive right by a sale with just a few items - unless it's a neighborhood event where almost everyone on the block puts stuff out
  • If possible, get friends, relatives, neighbors to share with you
    • Go to an office supply store and buy enough packages of colored dots that each family has their own color
  • Several weeks or months before the sale start putting prices on EVERYTHING. You want to be able to simply take in the money - you don't want to have to decide on prices off the cuff
    • As a price guide, think "What would I pay for this item?"
    • Sales with a zillion 25¢ items will make a huge profit!
  • Study tag sale ads in your local paper. Each locale is different
  • Clean items as you price them. True tag salers realize these things are (mostly) used, but real dirt will turn them off


  • Check with the newspaper as to the best time day and time for the ad to appear
    • In the Springfield, MA area, place your ad in the Thursday-Saturday papers. Some people only subscribe to the Thursday paper
  • Don't waste words - don't say "Tag Sale" - if your ad is in the paper, people know what it is
  • Set the time for an hour EARLIER than the typical sale in your area. If most start at 8am, start yours at 7
    • They will show up and they will be frustrated
    • OR they will skip your sale entirely
    • So what if someone shows up at 6am - your stuff is all priced and true tag salers will dig through boxes.
  • DON'T ADVERTISE THE SALE IN THIS WEEK'S PAPER FOR NEXT WEEKEND. No one who tries to find your sale on this Saturday will be back!

The Day

  • Set up everything on tables, etc. Make it as attractive as possible. Big items can go on the ground - but be sure they show to their best advantage
  • Set up a table and cash box for your cashier
    • Keep an eye on it at all times - most people are honest, but you just need one bad apple
  • If this is a multiple family sale, make sure that everyone has a name tag with their colored dot on it
    • If someone wants to haggle (and that's part of tag saleing), tell them (for instance) "Go see Barbara blue dot".
    • Provide a notebook for the cashier with colums labeled with the dot colors and the name.
      • All the cash goes into the box and is divied up later. Probably the cashier should be the most obsessive-compulsive person in the group
  • DO NOT try to sell an item by telling people how much you paid for it. No one cares - after all it's out here in the sale and you're trying to get rid of it.
  • Also, DO NOT try any kind of sales pitch - most are turned off and will leave quickly
    • Don't ignore people, but a friendly "Good morning" and a smile is all it takes - let them browse alone
  • DO allow haggling. You don't have to have a sign saying "Prices can be reduced" or some such thing. Everyone who tag sales knows that's part of the game
    • If you're not comfortable, appoint someone to be your official haggler


  • Big ones! Huge!
  • Buy several brightly colored sheets of "foam core" at an office supply store (yellow is good)
  • and the fattest black marker available
  • Research your area and decide where you'll put the signs and what kind of attachment is needed (nails, wire, whatever)
  • You only need two words: TAG SALE and an arrow
    • Use the whole piece of the foam core
  • If there's an intersection or if you live on a long road, put up half sheets with the words and arrow, just so people know they're on the right track
  • Make sure the arrow points the right direction
  • Have some big nails and some wire so that you can put signs on telephone poles and road signs (check with your town hall if you're not sure if they're allowed on poles)
  • Designate a (trusted) person to staff the sale while you put the signs up a few minutes before your opening time (apparently the signs contain electronic beacons - as soon as they're up, people start arriving)
  • If you have, or can borrow, a wooden step ladder, staple signs on both sides and put it out by the street.

HomeAbout Me Hints & SuggestionsTag Sale Suggestions