What are some ways to promote a garage/yard sale?
April 24, 2011 6:22 PM   Subscribe

What are some ways to promote a garage/yard sale?

It's been probably a decade since we've done a random garage sale, and the times I've changed quite a bit when it comes to promoting these things.

Obviously Craigslist is one thing to use, but what else? Are newspapers worth it? Anything else worth trying?

We're located in Birmingham, AL.
posted by JPigford to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you can coordinate with some neighbors, having several in the neighborhood can create quite a draw.
posted by GPF at 6:45 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sales in our area still seem to use homemade signs attached to telephone poles.
posted by lakeroon at 6:55 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

The last time I had a yard sale, I expected that because my house was located next to a busy road I wouldn't need to do much advertising. All I ended up doing is posting a Craigslist ad and an ad in the local paper's online site, and the turnout was disappointing. I'd say the biggest mistake I made that kept people from stopping to take a look was that I didn't make the most valuable stuff propped up high on tables and clearly visible from the street- so take that into consideration if you live in a busy area at all.

My local paper allowed a free ad for yard sales, but required that they be submitted something like two weeks in advance, so it made it hard to predict whether the weather would be permitting. So yeah, do an ad in the paper, but consider a rain date or have some sort of shelter for displayed items and state "rain or shine." At least a week in advance, get a staple gun and put up some ads on telephone poles in areas of your neighborhood that see a lot of traffic.

You might want to consider having a group yard sale with neighbors to attract more attention as well.
posted by Ryogen at 6:56 PM on April 24, 2011

If your local area has a listserv then that would be a good place. I've recently been using a community listserv, and they have all kinds of interesting information. Try searching Google or Yahoo groups for your neighborhood.
posted by codacorolla at 7:24 PM on April 24, 2011

Before you put anything up on telephone poles, check local ordinances. I once shopped at a yard sale where the people holding the sale were bummed out because just before I got there, a cop had stopped by to issue them a ticket for their sign on a telephone pole (or possibly it was on the post of a street sign) at the end of the street. The fine was something like $25 or $50 and it was not a large sale, so it probably wiped out most if not all of their profits. I was surprised—I had no idea there was a law against posting yard sale signs on public poles / posts. Presumably a sign that's on your own property would be OK. If you live on a side street, talk to your neighbors on the corner and see if they'll let you post a sign on their property, pointing down the road to your address. Remove it promptly when the sale is over and bring them a pie or some muffins the next morning.

As much as possible, coordinate your sale with the time and day of lots of other sales. In my area, most yard sales happen on Saturday mornings (typically 8:00-11:00 or 8:00-12:00) in the springtime. People who want to "go yardsaling" will go out then and drive around with their eyes peeled.
posted by Orinda at 7:25 PM on April 24, 2011

Put signs out on the busiest streets nearby with YARD SALE, the date, time, and the address of the sale and arrows pointing where a driver would need to make the turn/s to get to the sale. Lots of places don't allow pole signs, so stake them in the ground if pole signs aren't allowed. If it's allowed by local ordinances, put your signs up a few days in advance.

Make your signs legible. If you are printing them on a computer, use big capital letters and a bold font. It's even better if you buy fluorescent paper. If you're doing your lettering the old fashioned way, make the lines thick as possible so people in cars can read your sign as they drive by.

When you write your Craigslist ad, make a list of some of the more prominent items so your listing comes up if someone is doing a keyword search.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:32 PM on April 24, 2011

Your question reminded me of this one from last year: "Garage sale best practices?" Granted, that question was for a garage sale in California, but you still might it helpful. A lot of comments cover the publicity/advertising aspect, and there are suggestions for other topics.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 7:36 PM on April 24, 2011

In my neighborhood I often see sidewalk chalk used to point people toward a nearby sale. Keep in mind that if your area is tough on graffiti laws, you may get hassled for doing this.
posted by hermitosis at 8:03 PM on April 24, 2011

I had great success a few years ago creating a free 'GARAGE SALE!' blog two weeks beforehand and listing items for sale with pricing and photos. I took the trouble to write amusing copy, but this probably wasn't essential. In any case, I emailed the link to a few friends and before I knew it, friends-of-friends-of-friends were emailing me asking me to buy stuff. It took a bit of extra effort, but was really effective. And free.
posted by hot soup girl at 8:53 PM on April 24, 2011

Post your Craigslist ad the morning of the sale. There are garage-sale regulars who look at the ads for that morning and pick the ones that look best. I don't remember how long you have to wait between posting Craigslist ads, but post the first one far enough in advance that you'll be able to do another that morning.

If you have something that you just want to get rid of, and wouldn't make a huge profit from anyway, consider advertising that you're offering it for free. People love free crap, and while they're there they might buy something too.

If you have a lot of one specific type of thing, see if you can find a way to reach a group of people who might be in the market for it, either online or in person.

Mention a couple things that might be the most appealing or the best value, like popular toys or high-end brands. "Women's clothes" might be any grandmotherly crap, but if you mention some of them are from, say, Banana Republic, it implies you've got nicer, more current stuff.

You might be able to post flyers at your neighborhood grocery store, coffee shop, library, etc. Keep them simple and attention grabbing. Always include the date, day, and time; I see tons of signs that simply say "Yard Sale Saturday!" that don't get taken down for weeks.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:59 PM on April 24, 2011

Facebook promotion is awesome for this - create an event, invite your friends, ask them to invite their friends. Craigslist, patch.com, etc are also good for this. Signs work - just don't be like all your rude neighbors - pull them down when the sale is over.
posted by brownrd at 9:15 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

The freecycle list in my area used to allow one garage sale post per person, per sale. For various reasons, it's no longer allowed on my local list, but maybe it is on yours?
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:40 AM on April 25, 2011

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