How to Have a Successful Garage Sale Pt 2 – Advertising

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On Tuesday we talked about how to prepare early for a garage sale. While preparing early is super important, all the best preparations in the world won’t mean a thing unless you get people to stop by your sale.  I truly believe we should work smarter, not harder, so here are my best tips to make the most of your advertising dollars and time. For these examples let’s say that you’re having a sale on Friday, April 13th and Saturday, April 14th. (If you’re here in Tyler you don’t want to do that because you want to be shopping at the CCC sale instead)

  • First, call ahead to your city to find out what the regulations for garage sale signs are.  Some have fines of up to $150 for violations! Some cities only allow their rentable signs to be used :-(
  • Once you know what the regulations are, you can make signs (if applicable).  You want a sign at every heavy traffic area into your neighborhood, and a sign at each turn to get to your house from their.  Use large bold letters that say “SALE” and the “STREET” name.  That is all the info a person can get while driving and all they need. They’ll turn at the sign if they are out garage saling.  Your signs should be tall so they can be seen above any other signs that may be placed in the same area. If you don’t have stakes, you can attach half a posterboard to the side of a box and set it out with a large rock inside it.  Put your larger words at the top. It’s also nice when the signs are all the same color or all have a balloon attached, especially if you live several turns off of a main street. Signs can take more time than you think, so it’s important to make them a couple of days in advance. I wouldn’t recommend putting them at major entrances to your neighborhood until you’re ready for people come to your sale- I’ve had people come as early as 5:30 am when I put them up early!
  • Consider running an ad in your local newspaper, but be sure you have a large enough sale to warrant paying this cost (it’s sometimes as high as $20 for 1 day!).  I personally wouldn’t pay for a newpaper ad because other advertising is free and just as effective. You’ll need to call ahead to know when the deadline for getting the ad in is.  These ads are usually more expensive if you have more words so keep it short and sweet while listing only the largest categories and items.

  • The morning before your sale post it on craiglist.  Using craigslist is free and draws a lot of traffic.  Post only the first day, times and address in the title.  (Friday, April 9th 7 am – 3 pm 123 Main Street) Make a vertical list of the types of items you have, listing specific items that are larger or that you have lots of.  Don’t list specific sizes of clothes for kids.  Just say “baby girl clothes” or “girls clothes”.  You want them to come look at all the other items you have, not just one or 2 specific sizes of clothing.  Phrases like “early birds pay double” are effective for me :-) I stick to it too! You can click on this image for an example. If you live in a larger city it helps to say things like “near the zoo” or “near the mall” to give people an idea.
  • The day before, post your sale on your Facebook page and e-mail your
    local friends
    .  They may want to come buy things for their own kids!  I
    like knowing the people I buy something from because it’s an extra bit
    of protection.  Friends don’t want to sell a friend a bum item.
  • At the end of your first sale day, remove signs from major entries into
    your neighborhood and put them back up when you’re ready for customers in the morning
  • Also at the end of your first sale day, copy your original craigslist posting and
    delete it.  Make a new posting stating the day, times and address in the
    title, and a list of remaining items. 
    Make no mention of the previous
    day’s sale because many will interpret that as “picked over” and skip
    your sale.
  • After your sale is done, remember to remove your signs.  We usually leave them up until we’re almost through packing up.  If we’re still working, it’s nice to make a few extra bucks! Remember to save your signs for the next sale! 

Next week ,I’ll give you tips for how to best set up your garage or yard sale to optimize sales!


    1. I never realized that some cities fine you for putting up a garage sale sign. That’s very helpful to know. I still have to check, but thanks for potentially saving me a big fine!

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