The Comptroller of the Treasury in Maryland allows you to have up to three yard sales a year without collecting sales tax, says Esther Dutton, revenue examiner.
West Virginia considers yard sales to be isolated transactions, and you can hold four per year without having a license, says Marylou Weller, taxpayer service representative for West Virginia Department of Tax and Revenue. Each sale can't last longer than 48 hours. To have a fifth sale, you must get a license from the department and must collect sales tax.
There's no state law regulating yard sales in Pennsylvania, says Rob Gardner, taxpayer program development specialist for the Department of Revenue. He says you can have one sale a year in Pennsylvania without having to collect state sales tax.
Check with your local government to see if any other permits are needed, as rules vary.
For example, Hagerstown requires no special permit for yard sales, while Charles Town, W.Va., requires that temporary sign permits be issued to place yard sale signs on private property.
2. Prepare to sell
Look in your closets, drawers, attic and garage and decide which items you'd like to sell.
Show no mercy - if you got a battery-operated screwdriver for Christmas three years ago and never took it out of the box, it might be time to let it go.
Jackie Cornelius, a McConnellsburg, Pa., resident who has been having yard sales for about 10 years, says being organized is the key to success.
Cornelius devotes a section of her attic to storing items to sell, and she prices each item before she takes it to the attic. When it's time for the sale, everything is ready.
Cornelius says clothing and books are popular with shoppers.
You might hate that purple chenille rug, but that doesn't mean somebody else will.
"Things you think are junk are someone else's treasures," she says.
3. Choose a location
If you're going to have your sale outside, have a backup plan in case of bad weather, Cornelius says.
Consider setting a rain date, or choose an alternate spot.
Cornelius has a garage, and if it rains, she has her sale there.
4. Price the items
Put prices on all your merchandise, says Tracy Hoover, co-coordinator of Washington County Hospital's Kids' Stuff Yard Sale.
"People hate to go up and ask," Hoover says.
The Kids' Stuff sale, which is Saturday, May 16, from 7 a.m. to noon at Robinwood Medical Center parking lot, features clothing, toys and furniture for children ages birth to 16. Hoover recommends marking sizes on clothing.
Cornelius says she doesn't have a system for determining prices. When she's in doubt, she puts a lower price on an item.
"My philosophy is that this is stuff I'm going to get rid of," Cornelius says.
5. Spread the word
Run an ad in your local newspaper a week before the sale. Include the location, date and rain date if one is planned, and describe some of the items shoppers will see.
Use signs or posters with bold lettering. Balloons also can help call attention to your sign.