Garage Sale Ads that Work [2021 Examples + Tips]

Garage Sale Ads

What should I put on my garage sale ad?

To see what should go in an garage sale ad, look at the ads on garage sale websites (eg http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites and from last week’s edition of your local newspaper that your ad is to go in and make a note of the ads that catch your eye. Try to identify why they work and why the others didn’t work.

To help you work out what makes a good heading, I extracted some Garage Sale headings one day from Craigslist. Check them out. This is the sorted list of 900 garage sale ad headings.

What makes a good garage sale ad?

  • It’s worth spending a bit more for an attention-getting ad in the printed press so that it makes people feel it will be worth-while going to your garage sale.
  • You also need an attention-getting heading for your ad in Craigslist. It’s no use having a great descriptions, photos, etc if no-one bothers to look at it.
  • Use similar attention-getting theme and wording you used in your flyers.
  • Don’t just list your items, describe them. Sell them.
  • Include the sizes of the clothes, brand names, colors, styles, etc.
  • Tell people why they should come to your garage sale.
  • Be truthful about the items’ condition, flaws, if it’s missing parts or doesn’t work.
  • If you can include photos then include the interesting items that will attract buyers.
  • If you’re off the beaten track, include pictures of prominent landmarks that will help shoppers find your home.
  • Include a map if you can but don’t pinpoint your home – just your street, because that will make it too easy for early birds to find you.
  • If you’re having a late ‘lunch time’ start for your garage sale, make sure you highlight that so people don’t think that they’ll just get left-overs if they come in the afternoon.
  • Don’t use the phrase, “Everything must go.”
    It’s a waste of space because everyone knows that you want everything to go plus it makes you sound desperate to get rid of everything at any price.
  • Don’t use words like “miscellaneous”, “general household” or “bric-a-brac” because every garage sale will have these. Shoppers want to know what specific items your sale has and why they should attend.

Consider not including the close time

  • Some suggest not bothering to include a close time for your garage sale because people still drop in after you’ve packed up and asking if they can see what is left knowing they can probably get it for next to nothing.
  • If you don’t have a close time then customers have reduced bargaining power because they won’t know how desperate you are at the end of the day to get rid of what’s left as your garage sale could well be going for another day.
  • Customers will ask you when you are closing anyway. If they do, just say “When it’s all sold” so they don’t think you’ll be giving it all away later.

Having said that, consider including the close time

  • If you do include a close time, at least you can be prepared for the last minute rush around this time when they return looking for bargain-basement prices rather than have them dribbling in all afternoon and evening!
  • This last minute rush brings with it a bit of renewed competition between customers to snap up bargains before anyone else. This means you haven’t completely lost all your bargaining power to maximize your prices.
  • If your are having a short garage sale with a definite finish time then you introduce a sense of urgency in the customers to buy now or it may be gone shortly. The “limited time offer” is a common sales tactic that is used again and again in all forms of retail and works in garage sales too.

Make your garage sale ad a bit different

  • Buy an old kitchen sink and put a price tag on it so you can include it in your ad “EVERYTHING MUST GO INCLUDING THE KITCHEN SINK!!”. Price the kitchen sink to get your money back. If it doesn’t sell, you can always use it again in your next garage sale.
  • When preparing an ad in the local newspaper check the costs especially if there any options to include attention-getting graphics or borders also check the submission deadline.
  • Long detailed ads listing the major items, the collectible or desirable items, multiple items (eg books, DVDs, CDs) and any unusual items will cost more but stand out from the other short ads.

Dealing with early birds

Early birds are the keen bargain hunters who will arrive up to an hour before your opening time to try and get the best deals before the others. Don’t waste your money on including “No Early Birds” because it goes without saying and shoppers will either expect that or ignore it. Refer to Best early bird strategies for more tips and strategies.

Make it easy for buyers to find your garage sale – but not too easy

Include a few words to help buyers find your street. For example, first left off Main Street or near a popular landmark. Don’t include your house number because this will make it too easy for early birds to find you.

Advertise early and everywhere

  • Place ads a week before your sale on the free garage sale websites (eg Craigslist. Your ad on Craigslist.org will also be picked up by the other online garage sale sites that include maps and trip planners for shoppers in your area. Also place a ‘reminder’ ad the day before your sale. Refer to these HTML codes for use in your ad on www.craigslist.org.
  • Post your garage sale on your (and/or your kids’) social networking web sites like Facebook, Yahoo Groups, LinkedIn, Bebo, etc.
  • Place a garage sale ad in your local paper and local classifieds. If costs are low enough, place one a week or a few days before your garage sale and another for on the day. Spend a bit more here to make your garage sale ad stand out with special symbols or borders.
  • If you are having a big group sale or one that involves multiple houses, include an ad in your local paper’s Events section too.
  • Keen garage sale shoppers will check Craigslist a few days before to plan their route so ensure you have your ad up before then. Craigslist also allows you to repost your ad after 48 hours so repost the night before your garage sale to be seen by the last minute shoppers.

Advertise multi-day sales as separate sales

If you are having a 2 – 3 day garage sale, treat each day as a separate one-day garage sale and place ads for each day. If people know it is a 2 or 3 day garage sale, they naturally will assume that all the good stuff has gone by the first day and not bother to go one the second or third day. If they think it is only a “one day” sale then they will more likely come on the second or third day if they haven’t noticed your previous ads.

Advertising in a multi-cultural neighborhood

If you are in a multi-cultural neighborhood then consider putting in a non-english ad too.

Don’t upload photos directly to Craigslist.org

When including photos in Craigslist (and you should) don’t upload photos directly to Craigslist as you will loose a lot of clarity. Instead, upload them onto a photohosting site (eg Flicr or Photobucket) then add a link to these photos in your ad on Craigslist. More details here.

Include your online ad’s identifying number or code

This will help people find your ad online to get more details of your sale.

How to advertise a garage sale if you are in a rural area

You can’t rely on a great deal of passing traffic so advertising is crucial.

  • Place ads 1 – 2 weeks in advance so people have time to plan their trip or to schedule a visit to your garage sale and others in the same area.
  • Advertise in the surrounding towns. People living in rural areas are more willing to travel further.
  • Advertise in the city paper. ‘City slickers’ will be on the look for authentic “rural” treasures like classic machinery and solid wooden furniture that has been stored in the barn ready to be restored. Sell the idea of friendly people, country cooking, fresh air, great scenery. Recommend a picnic spot.
  • Plan your garage sale to run on the same day that a large event is occurring in your town. Place your street signs where the most passing traffic is likely be.
  • Include detailed instructions (and clear signage) to help people find your sale.
  • Try to get the whole town involved to attract larger numbers.

Make sure you cancel your ads if you decide not to hold a garage sale

Your local authorities may just check the ads and match it to the list of permits issued to identify sales without a permit rather than actually visiting each sale to check if it was actually run before posting a fine. This person found this out the hard way. How would you prove you didn’t have a sale on that day?

An ad that caught my eye

MOVING HOUSE AFTER 25 YEARS ….THIS IS ONE HUGE GARAGE SALE…WAY TOO MANY ITEMS TO LIST…EVERYTHING FROM FURNITURE, HOUSEHOLD APPLINCES, BOOKS, CLOTHING, ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES, GARDEN POTS AND WOOD & TOOLS ETC ETC.

Garage sale flyers that spread the word

You aren’t restricted in space so garage sale flyers can be a great to get the word out

  • List all the big and interesting items you think people will want to buy including relevant details such as size, history, condition, etc.
  • Include words to sell your featured items
  • Include large, clear, detailed photos if it helps. Refer to photo tips on www.ebay.com for tips on how to take the perfect picture.
  • Include details of the date and times of your garage sale.
  • Include your street address but not the house number! Shoppers have to wait for the street signs to go up on the day for them to find out where you are otherwise you will be getting visitors all week wanting to see the items. That is unless you don’t mind them buying all your good stuff before your garage sale!
  • Tell people why they should come to your garage sale.
  • Don’t use the phrase, “Everything must go.”
    It’s a waste of space because everyone knows that you want everything to go plus it makes you sound desperate to get rid of everything at any price.

Garage Sale Listing Headline Examples

  • LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF STUFF!!
  • HUGE RANGE!!
  • MOVING SALE!!
  • BIG CLEAN OUT!!
  • GOING OVERSEAS!!
  • GRANDPARENT’S ATTIC!!
  • DOWNSIZING FOR RETIREMENT
  • ACCUMULATED OVER 50 YEARS!!
  • DIVORCE SALE
  • PRICED TO SELL
  • BARGAIN HUNTER’S GARAGE SALE
  • I Cleaned out my Daughters’ Bedrooms
  • 10% of sales to be donated to local charity .
    Make sure that you are and do.
  • ANNUAL GARAGE SALE.
    This will give the impression you have one every year (this might be your first year so you aren’t be deceptive. It isn’t the same as saying 5th ANNUAL SALE when it is only your first). An ‘annual sale’ makes people think that your stuff is only a year old!
  • If you are having a group sale, include the words like HUGE MULTI-FAMILY GARAGE SALE!! or FIVE FAMILY GARAGE SALE
  • Be careful if you include the words ANTIQUES or COLLECTABLES as you will attract the serious, finicky buyers and put off casual buyers who might think the prices will be too high.
  • Only use MOVING SALE or GOING OVERSEAS if you are actually moving or going overseas. Moving sales usually have better items for sale than normal “junk clearing” garage sales. But people don’t like being tricked into coming to a garage sale that isn’t as it is advertised.
  • Don’t use ESTATE SALE unless someone has died or you will get some very angry customers. There is a BIG difference in how to host a garage sale and an estate sale.

Other headlines that have caught my attention or curiosity

  • THE GARAGE SALE FROM HELL
  • LOADS OF ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE JUNK
  • OMG! YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT’S BEEN SOLD
  • THEY CAN’T BE SERIOUS
  • STUFF TO RESELL ON EBAY
  • YOUR HUSBAND CALLED. HE SAID GO CHECK OUT THIS GREAT SALE
  • “I’M TO LAZY TO SELL IT ON EBAY” GARAGE SALE
  • PERFECT FOR EBAY BUT I’M TOO LAZY

Use Google’s image search for flyer design ideas

Search for “garage sale flyer”, “yard sale flyer”, “tag sale flyer”, etc.

Indicate if poor weather will cancel the sale

If you don’t have enough protection if it rains/snows and will have to cancel the sale, include this on the flyer. Also include when you would plan to hold it again.

Warn people if your won’t accept checks

If you have decided not to accept personal checks, include CASH ONLY.

Placement of general flyers

Early in the week, place flyers on:

  • community boards
  • shop windows
  • school notice boards (get permission first)
  • and other relevant and permitted locations.
  • Try approaching your local discount stores or even Goodwill stores.
  • Flyers should also go in letterboxes of everyone within 5 minutes walking distance of your house.
  • Flyers should also be sent to your local second-hand dealers.
  • Some people put them on cars in the local supermarket car park but I find this annoying and the flyers end up littering the car park.

Placement of targeted flyers

If you have specialized items, place your targeted flyers where these people are most likely to notice it. For example:

  • Flyers for a garage sale with mainly tools and hardware should be posted where men will notice them. For example in or near hardware stores, hotels, gas stations, retirement villages, etc.
  • Flyers for a garage sale with mainly baby goods should be posted near baby shops, toy shops, supermarkets, kindergartens, baby change rooms, playgrounds, dance or gym classes, etc.
  • Flyers for a garage sale with mainly kitchen and dinner wares should be posted to be seen by young adults who may be about to or have just moved out from home. So in or near colleges, universities, laundromats, young people bars and eateries.

Include ‘tear-offs’ to make it easy for shoppers to remember your garage sale

Shoppers might notice your flyer on a notice board but not have a pen and paper to make a note of where it is. Make it easy for them by including tear-off sections at the bottom of your flyer with the “when, where & what” details. Snip in between each one to make it easy to tear off.

garage sale tear off examples

Always tear off 1 or 2 so people will think that because others are interested too it must be worth it. “Social validation” is a powerful tool.

Some tear-off ideas are to position them at the bottom of your flyer or down the sides or staple a bunch of pre-cut ones at the top of your flyer.

yard sale tear off examples

Most desktop publishing programs on computers will have templates you can use.

Need some printable garage sale ads, flyers and ideas?

I highly recommendend my friend and master organizing expert Maria Gracia’s popular Get Organized Now! Garage Sale Toolkit to download NOW.

Not only is it filled with tips and secrets to help you make MORE money! you get printable examples of Ads, Flyers, Signs & Stickers.

You won’t believe how much is included. For details, simply visit: Get Organized Now! Garage Sale Toolkit

Best Garage Sale Tips: More Profitable Garage Sales
Logo