Whether you call it a yard sale, rummage sale or a garage sale, the premise is the same: You're going to free yourself from objects you no longer use in exchange for cash. You get to clean out some space, and hopefully put the acquired funds to work for you. This all sounds great, until you suddenly remember that one time you had to waste away in the front yard as a kid, while your old toys got pawned off one by one. Here are the essentials to ensuring that you throw a yard sale like a boss, and the unsuccessful yard sale days are a thing of the past.

1. Organize all your stuff

Separate the stuff you're selling from the stuff that is just trash/recycleable material. Put all the VHS cassettes in one box. Keep all the toys together. Think about it — you're basically creating a store for one day. Do you like shopping in places with random junk strewn all about? No. Be a good store owner and organize everything. You'll sell more and you'll sell it more quickly.

2. Advertise

Spend the time and cents to do basic advertising. Facebook yard sale pages, Craigslist or other online venues will draw in people who may never have left their houses on the day of your sale. Put up large, legible signs to direct people to your sale. Don't write with pink marker on green poster board. Black marker on white poster paper in large letters is clear and legible. Give people the details of place, date and time range. Then watch them line up.

3. Set realistic expectations

Yes, you bought that lava lamp in 1985 for $50 and inflation sure has taken its toll. But, truth be told, it is not worth more than $10. By setting realistic price expectations, people are more willing to buy items. People (like my grandpa) often sit for weekends waiting for someone to buy their old, used stuff at full price. You don't have time to waste like that, and you aren't getting $50 for your one-armed out-of-the-box Yoda toy. Sell it for a fair and realistic price.

4. Call in reinforcements

A barebones sale is an unattractive sale. As a consumer, I probably won't stop my bike ride or walk to look at seven T-shirts fading in the sun. I want to see a lot of cool stuff from your basement. If you don't have enough to stop potential customers, talk to your friends and neighbors. You can hang out, listen to music and make some money together.

Follow these four steps and you will find yourself wondering how you could let so many yard sale opportunities slip through your hands in the past. Now, get your stuff together and prepare to increase your cash flow!

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