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How to Advertise Your Yard Sale

a yard sale sign in a front yard, pointing up the driveway
Alexey Stiop/Shutterstock

Yard sales are a great way to get rid of the stuff you no longer want while making some money. To have a successful event, however, you need to advertise in the right places and let people know what you have available.

Writing Your Ad

Before you even start advertising your rummage sale, you need to have an ad written. What will you share in your ad? There are some necessities, and there are some ways to get around certain overused things that people put in garage sale ads.

What Are You Selling?

What you’re selling at your sale will be what draws people in. That’s why it’s essential to include a list of some of the great stuff people will find at your sale. Popular items often include children’s and baby’s clothing, women’s clothing, video games, movies, electronics, hunting and fishing supplies, and crafting supplies.

furniture laid out for a garage sale, including tables, chairs, and dressers
Ralf Broskvar/Shutterstock

If you’re selling specific things, like name brand clothing or Avon collectibles, include that in your ad. People looking for these items will be more likely to check out your sale if they know you have some stuff they’re already interested in.

Take pictures of the stuff you have. Photos in garage sale ads, especially in this internet age, are essential to attract people. Pictures don’t have to be fancy; just shoot some with your smartphone while you’re tagging stuff.

Where Is Your Sale?

This is where things can get tricky. You may be worried about sharing your exact address all over the internet for the entire world to see in light of the (remote but scary) reality that murders and robberies do happen as a result of such things. When you’re advertising on sites like Craigslist, you can opt to leave out your full address and just put crossroads in the ad itself. Major crossroads are beneficial even if you are using your address, as are any well-known landmarks that will help people find your sale. Then, to help people zero right in on the sale, the day of you can put signs at the intersection leading them to the sale. After the sale, pull the signs down—we’ll talk more about signs in a moment.

If your sale is running for more than one day, you run the risk of someone returning to your home to take what they want anyway. Keep your sale items indoors during off-hours for extra protection.

The thing is, people don’t like going on a wild goose chase to find a yard sale. Not including your address could cause you to miss out on potential sales. If you’re worried about someone stealing your items or breaking into your home, don’t include expensive sale items in your listing.

Some garage sale websites and Facebook events, great places to advertise, require actual addresses. You may also need to include your house number on signs, depending on your city or communities rules.

When Is Your Sale?

You also need to make sure you’re letting people know when your sale is. What are the dates and the days, and what hours are you selling each day. Are you willing to do early sales? Is your sale weather pending? Include all of the details. If you plan to be open during a light rain, put it in the ad, so die-hard shoppers know you still be open.

Where to Advertise Your Sale

Once you have photos and all of the ad details, it’s time to start advertising your sale everywhere you possibly can. The more places you advertise, the more people will see your sale.

Craigslist

Craiglist charges for some posts now, but posting your garage sale there remains free. It’s one of the first places many people search for sales when they want to rummage and thrift through other people’s former treasures.

Posting your ad on craigslist does more than find individual shoppers; some apps pull ads from there to share in their yard sale listings. Get your ad up within a few days of your sale to ensure people see it in time.

Craigslist still caters to bigger cities, though. If you live in a small town located a half an hour or more away from the nearest city, you may not attract many people.

Local Newspaper

Big cities or small towns, your local paper is still a great place to advertise your rummage sale. This isn’t a free option. You can expect to spend around $25, at least, on your ad. While there are lots of people who don’t read newspapers anymore, there are still those that do. Plus, if your newspaper has an online entity, your ad will show up there as well.

To find out when you need to submit your ad by and how much it’ll cost you (there is usually a set word limit), call your local newspaper office or look them up online. You want your ad to be in the paper at least a day or two before your sale.

Social Media

A great way to attract friends and acquaintances to your sale, people likely to have some of the same interests and tastes as you, is to start a Facebook event. FB events are free. You can list all of the general garage sale info in the information portion of the event, then post photos of what you have to sell in the discussion area.

Facebook events aren’t the only social media advertising you should do. Make posts on FB, Twitter, and even share pictures on Instagram. Any social media site where you’re friends with people who live in your area will boost the impact of your sale.

If you want to invest a little money into your social media advertising, you can boost your yard sale event for as little as a dollar a day on FB to reach at least a few hundred extra people in your area who may not be on your friend’s list.

Nextdoor.com is a new social media site that focuses on neighborhoods and offers another free place to advertise rummage sales.

Yard Sale Websites

interface of the Garage Sale Finder website
Garage Sale Finder

Yard sale websites offer free advertising depending on how much reach you’re looking for. They offer paid packages that will reach more people. If you’re already advertising on craigslist, social media, and in your local paper, you can stick with the free versions of these sites.

The bonus many of these sites offer is that some of them have apps. People love apps, and garage sale listings right on your phone make finding all the best sales so much easier.

Here are some garage sale sites to check out:

You might not think it’s worth going to the extra effort—beyond say using Facebook—but the kind of people who are using garage sale tracking sites are the kind of people who are very into garage sales. It’s worth reaching out to them.

Signs

If you place ads but don’t put signs out to direct people where your sale is, fewer people may search you out. You’ll also catch people who don’t check for sales and like to stop when they see one on their usual driving route.

You can buy signs or make them yourself. Garage sale signs are available for as cheap as a buck a piece at dollar stores. You can also purchase poster board and create your own with some markers. You’ll need permanent markets for the store-bought ones anyhow so that you can add your rummage sale info.

Some things your signs should include are arrows pointing which way the sale is, the words “yard sale” (or “garage sale,” “rummage sale,” “estate sale,” “moving sale”), your address (or at least street name), the days of the sale (Friday to Sunday), and the hours of the sale. You can include exact dates if you want.

Make your sign stand out with flitter, balloons, or other things that blow in the wind. Use eye-catching colors. Make sure lettering is big enough that people can see what your sign says as they’re driving by it.

Place signs at major crossroads near your home (mainly the ones you mention in online advertising). Put them at the ends of your street. Have one right in your yard so people can see it on the way down the street and know they’ve found it. Talk to your city offices to find out if there are any specifications of where you can and cannot place signs on public property. You may need a stapler to staple them to polls, or a little strength so you can push posts in the ground.

Put your signs on the night before or the morning of your sale. If you put them out too early, you may have people driving by looking for your sale before it’s even happening (even if you put the days it’s running on them). Pull your signs after you close your sale the final day both to stop people from popping in after the sale is over and to keep your neighborhood tidy.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »

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