Advertising well is key in attracting a large crowd. The larger the crowd, the more money you’ll make and the fewer items you’ll have leftover so take the time to advertise your sale in as many ways as possible.
If you want to draw the biggest crowd possible, consider advertising in the newspaper. Newspaper ads can be pricey, but hosting a multi-family sale or holding your sale on the same day as several other families in the neighborhood allows you to pay for one ad and split the cost.
From my experience, it’s possible to draw a big crowd without putting an ad in the newspaper, but this may not work in all areas.
List your sale on Craigslist. Writing up a Craigslist ad is a free and an effective way to get the word out. You can post up to four photos with your Craigslist ad as well. We advertise the sale on Craigslist early in the week and then update the ad the day before the sale.
List your sale on Garage Sales Tracker and Garage Sale Finder. Garage Sales Tracker and Garage Sale Finder are two other sites that allow you to post your sale for no charge. I think these sites will grow in popularity as the word gets out.
Post flyers. If you have access to a community bulletin board you may also choose to post flyers advertising the sale at church, at work, at the local post office, at the library or on a bulletin board at a local college. Include tabs at the bottom with the address of the sale so people can take that information with them. I’ve seen other sales advertised this way, but I’ve never tried it myself.
Include all relevant information in your ad. Make sure to list the date and times of the sale and your address. If you have the space in your newspaper ad, consider adding the major cross streets near your sale or complete driving directions. Craigslist doesn’t limit the size of the ad so include as much information as possible to make it easy for customers to find your sale. Also, list as many items as space allows, and be as specific as possible. For example, stating that you’re selling a croquet set and baseball bats rather than “sports equipment” will draw more potential customers. If you are selling clothing, list the gender, sizes and brand names. Make sure to include furniture, baby equipment, toys and large items in your list.
Post several signs, but check your city’s ordinances first. Some cities don’t allow signs in the median of the road and others won’t allow balloons. Even if you advertised the sale in the paper and included driving directions, you still need to place as many signs as possible.
Make attractive signs. Choose a bright color for your sign and draw a large arrow to point the way. Keep the wording simple and large. Our signs always read “Huge Multi-family Sale” and include a large, black arrow and the address written in smaller letters underneath it. We make sure to lead people right up to our house because it’s frustrating to start following the path indicated by a sign and then end up lost because there were no more signs to follow. For a consistent look, use the same colors and wording on each sign.
This year, we chose to skip a newspaper advertisement. Instead, we posted our sale on Craigslist and made six, bold, bright signs instead. Although we didn’t have people waiting outside for the garage doors to go up like we do when we advertise in the paper, we did get a steady crowd all day long. However, we had the advantage of perfect garage sale weather, and there were several sales in the neighborhood so those out shopping saw our signs and came our way. We hosted our sale on Friday evening for two hours since we were busy Friday morning, and we got a bit of traffic then, but we made the bulk of our profits on Saturday.
There are two posts yet to come in this series: one about setting up your sale and one about hosting your sale. Stay tuned!