How to Have a Yard Sale Without a Yard

If you’re looking to get rid of your extra belongings while making some money in the process, then you might be interested in a yard sale. Of course, not every apartment has a yard, so you might be wondering if having a yard sale is even possible. When it comes to yard sales, a “yard” can be more figurative than literal, so yes, you can have a yard sale without a yard – here’s how to do it.

Have a stoop sale

Many apartment buildings have a stoop – a staircase that begins at sidewalk level and ends at a platform in front of the door to the building – and some houses divided into two or three apartments may even have a porch. Both these settings provide great locations for stoop sales.

A stoop sale achieves the same objective as a yard sale, but it uses a structure that’s far more common in apartment settings. Line your stoop with items you’re looking to sell – kitchen appliances, books, clothes – just as you’d do in your yard. Establish your sales prices ahead of time, and set them low enough so that passersby will be more likely to drop spare cash on your objects. 

You can attract passersby even more easily if you set up shop on the sidewalk, though doing so may take up precious pedestrian walking space. If you’re one of the few people whose apartment comes with a garage that’s entirely yours, you can host your sale there too (but be sure to move your car first). If you’re selling few enough items that you can easily transport your belongings in one trip, consider hosting your sale at a date and time that puts you in proximity with crowds, such as near a church on a Sunday late morning or early afternoon.

Law and property considerations

Regardless of how you set up your stoop sale, you’ll need to check whether you’re legally able to host a one-day sale. Does your landlord allow it in your lease? Does your city require you to secure a permit for your sale beforehand? 

Even if you have the legal all-clear, you might want to run your sale by the tenants of your building’s other apartments, because it’s their stoop too. If you’re lucky, other tenants might want to sell things as well, and your stoop sale can be a communal affair at which you and your neighbors take turns manning the table.

Stoop sale item best practices

For any one-day sale, whether a stoop, sidewalk, yard, or garage sale, there are certain best practices you should know. First, set a date, time, and place well in advance so you can properly prepare and advertise your sale. Once you’ve established the setting for your sale, print flyers and tack them onto telephone poles near the location (flyers with tear-off tabs work best). You can also post about your sale in advance on classified ads websites and social media platforms, whether you use your personal pages or relevant groups.

Going into the sale, make sure to establish a target and minimum price for each item you’re selling. You might want $15 for your old toaster oven, but yard sales are prime locations for haggling, so you might have to sell it for your $5 minimum and just be happy you’ve made a sale. You should also be certain to sell items that won’t scare people off – bedbugs remain prominent throughout the country and can hide in not just mattresses, but linens, pillows, and other upholstered or wooden furniture items. Offensive materials such as profane or ideologically disagreeable graphic t-shirts, paraphernalia, and media can also keep people away from your sale. Just use common sense and you should be fine.

Have a virtual sale

If any of the above considerations make you not want to have a yard sale without a yard, you can always turn to the internet. There, you can find all manner of e-commerce websites, classified listings websites, and social media sales and trade pages where you can achieve the same goals as a yard sale without all the logistical and legal hurdles.

The online route is especially useful for expensive items that might be more valuable than you realize. Going the online way places your most expensive items in front of buyers who are actively looking for them, and it offers you the added convenience of scheduling pick up or delivery at a time that works for both you and your buyer (or shipping at your convenience if your sale is long-distance). Plus, online, there’s a market for virtually every kind of item, so if you find the right target audience, you can sell just about anything.

What do you think is the best way to have a yard sale without a yard? Have you done it before? Share your experiences in the comments!

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