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Promoting Your Garage Sale

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Having a garage sale can be be a lot of work with little reward if very few people show up. Promoting your garage sale will help ensure you have a successful sale. This is a guide about promoting your garage sale.


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By 3 found this helpful
August 24, 2011

As a rummage goer and a rummage doer, I've found that proper signage is very important. BIG arrows are necessary. Matching signs help, so that people know the sign they are following is for the rummage they are looking for. A little sign with your complete address isn't going to do it.

You really don't need the house number until the signs are closer to home. You might just need the street name, or subdivision name with arrows to get people in the general vicinity. Then, be sure to put a sign at the end of the driveway, or streamers on the garage, something so that people know that you aren't just cleaning out your garage. It's embarrassing to look through the garage stuff at the wrong house!

Key places to put signage are: at grocery store exits, freeway exits, health club exits, and main intersections in your area.


The last few years, I've noticed fewer people come because of an advertisement in the paper. Take advantage of the free online advertising: Craigslist, eBay classifieds, TV news station websites (that have rummage trackers), local Bokoo sites. Mention that you're having a rummage sale on Facebook or Twitter or other social media.

Because you don't have to pay by line for the ad, you can include more information about your large ticket items. You can also post a separate ad for a specific item (such as a sofa) and say that it is at your rummage sale. Sometimes people who come to look at something specific will end up purchasing other items as well.

All in all, you can advertise as much as you want, but if you don't have good signage, they won't be able to find your rummage. So, get out your super-huge Sharpie marker, or use black electrical tape and make your arrows REALLY BIG and then get ready for your really big turnout!

By C. B. from Milwaukee burbs, WI

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July 1, 20150 found this helpful

This is a great help for people who want to sell their items at a yard sale.

There is one thing I would like to add, if you are going to add your signs in front of someones else house, make sure you ask permission.

I get a lot of yard sales signs in my yard because I live on the corner house of a very public and busy street so I get Realtors and Garage sales guys pushing signs into me grass yard or stapling them to my tree all the time. I would have let them and helped them placed them if they would just walk up to my door and ask but instead they just put them in.

My retaliation is usually I will take them out and break them apart and throw them away.

But had they asked maybe I would be interested in viewing their garage sale and helped them advertise it more!

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By 4 found this helpful
August 23, 2011

Garage sales are a lot of work to set up and operate. Don't miss out on potential sales because folks can't find you. Follow local ordinances regarding these sales. Prepare carefully. Good luck.

Setting Up

Presentation is a key to garage sales. Make sure you have plenty of tables and display racks to show your merchandise. You can probably rent or borrow tables if you need more.



Make sure your signage is superior. A local shopper ad is great, but don't overspend on it. Use the suggested meat trays on a stake or brightly coloured poster board. Very little detail is needed on your signs. The letters should be large and bold to be seen by people driving by. Consider the speed of the street where your sign will be displayed. Something as simple as "G.S. - 1234 5th Street - Friday 8 to 4" is sufficient.

Don't try to write your offerings on the sign unless it is on a local bulletin board and then it should be typed or carefully hand-written. If needed for clarity, you could put an arrow of direction on your sign. Heavy black Marks-a-lot on a light colour background works best. If your signage is addressing a busy street, put the sign at least half a block back from where the turn off is to the street. Face the sign to oncoming traffic and put it before the turnoff, not after. If you place your signs on property other than your own, get permission.

Running The Sale

You should enlist enough help to properly run your sale. You would need a minimum of two people. One person can't properly run a sale of any size. If you only have 10-20 items, you might consider just donating them rather than going to the trouble of baby-sitting them all day; or run an ad on Craigslist.

Have a cash box of some sort and keep it close to the action, but not too close. Make sure there is plenty of room around it, so your lookers can look while your buyers are paying. Have writing materials and a calculator there.

Make sure you have plenty of change when you open up. Later in the day, people who started out with large bills will have smaller bills, and you will too. For a medium sized sale, $100.00 in change is not too much. Have ones, fives, nothing larger. You needn't keep all of it in the change box, but have it in a nearby secure location. Pricing things in 25 cent increments means all you have to have is quarters for coin change.

I like to see prices on all merchandise. You will too, or you will spend most of your time pricing things on the spot. Be prepared to bargain. If you are too firm on pricing, you will not sell very much. No price stickers means you will miss sales when you are busy.

Have some of your helpers either cashier or work the crowd. Engage your lookers, but don't hover. Let them look around and check back occasionally. Most of them are used to a self service atmosphere and some don't like to be bothered at all.

Open a little earlier than you advertised. Set up the night before if at all possible. Store your tables in the garage and move them out the day of the sale. Don't watch the clock on opening or closing.

If you still have customers buying at closing time, stay open until you have no one buying, if possible. This is your big chance to sell your stuff. Don't rush the buyers. If you are on a tight schedule, consider re-scheduling.

By Dan M. from Lubbock, TX

Comment Was this helpful? 4
August 23, 20110 found this helpful

Something else very important to consider. As they say when starting a business one of the main points of success is location, location, location. If you live a couple miles down a road that is off the beaten path you really need to be creative with your signs. But, another alternative is ask a friend if you can use their garage or yard for the sale.

Another option, which is a bit more work but can help the sale be a success, is many cities have areas where people set up along popular roads. Some even have public flea markets (these are usually well planned and happen once a summer).

You may even know someone with a business that is closed or not busy on Sat and Sun who will let you use their parking lot. If it puts you on a main road or right off a main road it is worth asking about.

In my area there are actually two abandoned parking areas between towns that people set up on all the time. They are successful because they sit right on the main drag between these two towns and this drag is one of the major roads in and out of the state.

Like I said... location, location, location, and I'll add signage, signage, signage. I have been visiting yard and garage sales for over 30 years, and I go out of my way when someone has put up a good readable sign that stands out.

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January 29, 2009

Recycle a large clean white meat tray into an easy to read rummage sale sign. Use permanent markers or crayons to detail the wording.

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June 22, 20070 found this helpful

When having a yard or garage sale, it helps to list a phone number with your advertising in case folks need directions, etc.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 23, 2011

When having a garage sale, bright, clear signs are a must. I use neon poster board and paint on it with black paint. You can see them in time to stop at the sale without driving by and having to turn around.

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August 19, 2011

I am team captain for a Relay for Life Team and we have an annual yard sale. We always place an ad in the local newspaper, post flyers at local businesses, and post a notice on our company's website.

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By 0 found this helpful
December 19, 2011

I have found that if you really want a successful garage sale, use those bright green posters boards or signs. They really do pop when one is driving around looking for sales. Good luck and happy garage selling!

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By 0 found this helpful
August 29, 2011

I don't advertise in the paper because I hate to have super early shoppers. I arrange my stuff the night before, and cover tables with sheets to keep snoopers out!

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By 0 found this helpful
August 25, 2011

Use bright neon contrasting posterboard to make your signs (example: hot pink and hot green or flourescent orange). Have a box labeled FREE near the enterance and put a few toys, socks, etc. in it which is free for the taking.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 22, 2011

After helping out with several large garage sales in the past, I have some helpful tips. Get family members and friends to help out. Set up as many tables as you can, it much easier to display your merchandise.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
December 16, 2014

I live 12 miles from town. Any tips to help make my garage sale workable and easy to get to? There's only one exit off the interstate and then 2 turns to my road. Thanks!

By Leonna

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June 25, 20150 found this helpful

You need to find a friend in town who wants to have a yard sale. Pack up your stuff and take it to their house for a joint sale. You can have it already priced and that would be helpful.

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December 19, 20160 found this helpful

I love yard sales and will go out of my to get to one if its properly posted and signage is easy to find. Post on Craigslist,, Facebook Groups. Place brightly colored signs. Do not put tiny signs on the corner as they are impossible to see or read and never put your signage on city property.

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By 0 found this helpful
July 15, 2010

How do I advertise for a garage sale?

By Doris

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July 15, 20100 found this helpful

Place an ad in local newspaper and also in small hometown newspapers in your area.

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July 15, 20100 found this helpful

The key to a successful yard sale will be your signs. Make them big enough to say "Yard Sale" and a clearly understandable arrow. If the yard sale is a good distance away (up the street) put how many blocks or how many miles the driver needs to go. If you have enough room on your sign put your address.

It is key to have a sign on a well traveled road. If your house is really far out SE if you can find some place closer to a main road to set up your sale. I live way out in the sticks. I asked a little grocery store if I could set up on the far side of their parking lot. They don't open Saturdays so they said it would be okay, just clean up afterward.

Using a bright paper helps attract attention as well. People who see a sign in pink, yellow or orange have the suspicion it is for a yard sale. People out doing yard sales look for signs that stand out. Politicians have lots of signs out in our area right now and they deter a good yard sale sign that doesn't stand out because they are easy to read. The eye goes to them first, by the time the person refocuses to another sign they are right on top or driving past it.

On numerous occasions I have gone out of my way for clearly marked well placed yard sale signs. Even when I had decided to stop yard selling for the day.

I have been going to yard sales and doing yard sales for years and the signs are a major key to success. Just be sure to take your signs down when your yard sale is over or coming to an end. It is only polite.

And I have been saying yard sale but it applies to garage sales as well.

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August 10, 20100 found this helpful

Save money and time: list your yard/garage sale on I used to post signs early and a friend put an advert in the local paper. We did better when we just put the listing on craigslist with minimal signage on major streets. My daughter and I have a list of major intersections; we post on all 4 corners going each way at eye level from a car's view. We post the signs at 6 am and go to get coffee. Then we start hauling things out to the yard. We put a big sign on the back of the car and park in front of the house. Put on your apron, the one with a pocket in front so you can keep your sales cash safe. Let the early birds start buying, good luck

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