Top 15 Yard Sale Advertising Tips

May 20th, 2013

Good afternoon peeps! I hope you are all having a great day! Spring time is here, and with Spring comes Spring-cleaning, and with cleaning/de-junking comes YARD SALES!

Since yard sales can be a GREAT environment to find treasures for your home and can be a great way to de-junk while earning some cash, today I’d like to give some yard sale tips on how to host the most successful yard sale possible. You may not know this about me, but I went to college and graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations.  Not only that, but while getting my Masters degree, I even TAUGHT advertising for a few semesters. I bet you didn’t know I was a school nerd, did ya!?!

Over the years, I have taught a lot of friends and family how to host a successful yard sale. A lot of those people have told me that my strategies are great. In fact, it’s pretty funny when we have a yard sale because the chatter always begins with, “Man who did your advertising?” (no joke). yard-sale-sign-tips copy

You may think my strategies are a bit over-kill. But with tried and trusted experience, if you follow these tips, I know your yard sale will be more successful than if you hadn’t. Some have a hard time taking the time to properly promote their yard sale, and as a result, they don’t have as much foot traffic. Without a lot of foot traffic, then you simply don’t sell as much stuff. The main goal of the yard sale is to get rid of as much stuff as possible, right? Not only will my tips help you get the maximum amount of foot traffic as possible, but they will also help you sell more stuff once customersget to your yard sale.

Tip 1:
Make your posters BIG. Ok, how BIG, you say? From the main road (or roads) that will bring the most traffic, you need a poster board sized sign. Yep, the size of the poster board (which is 22 X 28 most of the time). Don’t cut it in half, you need to get as much attention as possible on the busiest road near your home.

Tip 2:
You need TWO big posters to catch the attention on your busiest road near your home. One for the traffic going one way, and one for the traffic headed the opposite way. For example, if that busy road heads North and South, you need one to grab those vehicles heading North, and one to grab those vehicles heading South. If you only put one poster to direct traffic, then you potentially lose out on half of your foot traffic right from the start. A great way to do this is with a large A frame sign.

Sidenote: No this is not my actual address.

Tip 3:
Use balloons on your large signs. I’m telling ya, the more people that you can get to look at your signs, the more people you will have to actually turn off the road and head your way. A great compliment that I love to hear is “I wasn’t even planning on going to a yard sale today, but your signs caught my eye.”

Tip 4:
Include your address, the date, and hours of your yard sale on your sign. Some people may not want to waste their time if they are not sure the sale is still going on. Let’s be honest here, we need to make it as easy as possible for people to want to come to your sale. We need to fill in the blanks in every way.

Tip 5:
Use one color of poster throughout your advertising campaign.If you go with a pink poster, then every poster needs to be pink. Don’t change from pink to yellow to orange to white. It potentially confuses your traffic. If you stay consistent with one color, then your traffic knows they are headed to the correct yard sale not a different yard sale nearby.

Tip 6:
Write BIG with Black marker. Make sure that your posters can be read clearly from a long distance away. Remember that if your poster cannot be read by a passenger in a vehicle driving by, then you potentially missed out on that person making it to your yard sale. You’d be surprised how many signs I have seen that are written in pen, and unless I was 12 inches away, I wouldn’t be able to read it.

Tip 7:
Guide your traffic every 2 blocks with arrows. Remember that using the same color of poster board is key here. If your posters are pink, than a bright, bold, pink and black arrow reassures them that they are still on the correct path to your sale.Think of the arrows as little reassurances that say “almost there” or “you are still on the right path.” I have given up the hunt to find yard sales a lot if I think I’m lost. Who knows, I may have been a block away, but if I don’t see arrows and I’ve been driving for awhile, I assume I’m not going to find it and give up. Remember, we are trying to make it as easy as possible to find your sale.

Tip 8: Along with marking a clear map with arrows, you need to plaster your town with yard sale signs. I suggest to hang up at least 10 other signs in popular areas to inform others that you are having a yard sale. I suggest these signs to be half a poster board. Also, advertise your sale on Craigslist. Spreading the word is the key here.

Tip 9: Advertise that the sale is “HUGE,” “NEIGHBORHOOD” or “MULTI-FAMILY.” If you can convince a neighbor or two (or even more) to have a yard sale with you, you can advertise your sale as such. This will catch the attention of your traffic. The more stuff you have for them to look at, the better. So, if you can round up more people to participate, go for it.  Warning: Do not advertise your sale as multi-family if your neighbor brought one or two items over to sell with your stuff. Make sure that if you are advertising as “multi-family” that there are genuinely more than one family participating in the sale.

Tip 10:
On your half-poster signs, include a few of your best items on the posters. For example “Baby Items” or “Lots of Furniture” or “Hunting Gear” or “Decor Items.” Be specific if you have something that will be a hot item. For example: “Trampoline” or “Little Tikes Slide.”

Tip 11:
At your sale, mark a few of your larger items with informative signs. For example, if you are selling a TV, include a larger sign that says “works great.” Or if you have a dresser for sale, put a larger sign that says, “Only $20.00.” These signs are to catch the eye of those people who are driving by. The first step to get a potential customer to buy something is to get them to get out of their car. If you show them that your prices are reasonable and that your items are working properly, they will be more likely to come check out the rest of your items.

Tip 12:
Put a price tag on EVERYTHING. Let’s face it folks, a yard sale can be chaotic. In fact, most the time, it is hard to tell whose yard sale you are attending. Some people are shy, and some people are a tiny bit lazy. So, if you have your prices clear, then you’ll have more people buying. If you don’t, you will have people walk away even if they are interested in one of your items. We need to make their decision-making process as easy as possible. If the price isn’t on the item, you simply made their decision for them. They may think, “I don’t even know how much it costs.” Voila, you lost a sale. If you have an item that you are unsure of how much to ask, put a sign on it that says “make me an offer” but I rarely do this.

Tip 13:
Organize your items in categories. Some people enjoy hunting for items, and like I said before, some are a bit lazy. Don’t lose all the customers that aren’t the searching type. The more items you have on tables the better in my opinion. Put the decor items together, the clothing items in a separate area, and the baby items near each other.

Tip 14:
Present your items in a way to help your customers visualize them in their home. For example, if you are selling a crib, assemble it. If you are selling a couch, rug, pillows and end tables, set it up on your driveway like a living room. If you have a bedding set, lay it out on a tarp for the customers to see the entire quilt. Remember, we are making it as easy as possible for your customers to visualize the item in their home.

Tip 15:
Never turn away a customer. You need to have your items set up at least a half hour before your beginning time. You will probably have early birds (those avid yard salers that get up at the crack of dawn just to go to yard sales).  If customers begin to come and you are still setting up your items, you may miss out on a sale.  It may be annoying that someone is early and that they begin rummaging through your stuff before you feel completely prepared, but don’t forget, the point of having this sale is to get rid of your stuff. Don’t forget to welcome them with a friendly, “Good morning” greeting! If you aren’t quite ready when customers begin coming, just simply tell them that you will have all the items displayed as soon as you can.

Hopefully these tips have given you some great tips of how to successfully host a yard sale. Happy Spring!!

{This post was originally posted in 2011, but I re-posted it this morning because it is a great post from the archives.}

Comments

  1. Great tips! I disagree with #15… sorry?! As an avid garage sale shopper and one who has my own sale at least once a year… I despise early birds! As a seller… for obvious reasons (it's rude, obnoxious, etc) but as a shopper it really bothers me because if I see an add for a sale that has something I really want/need and it says sale 7am and I show up at 6:50 to wait patiently in my car for their sale to start only to find out that they sold all the baby equipment I was in desperate need of at 6am to an "early bird" (reseller) it really makes me mad. I'd have been there at 6am too if I'd known they were going to start selling an hour early…?!?!? Ha ha ha. I feel pretty strongly about this obviously! Ha – I'm laughing at myself. Great post. Thanks!

    • I understand the frustration of the stuff not being there but as a seller I see it a bit differently than you do. I see it as what if that one person you told “no early sales” to was the only person that wanted that item at that price. It could be the difference between selling a $30 dresser for the asking price or last minute coming down to $15 so you don’t have to move it back in. I would rather make the money than have to move the “junk” I felt I no longer needed back in and have to do it again at a later date. Sorry, sales are too much work to make more work for myself.

    • I agree, I never let early birds in because they are usually flea market resellers and come in to scoop up all the valuables buys before the decent” rule following folks” get a chance. So I started charging an up charge of
      10 to 20 % for early admission and no one turned it down. Everybody was happy.

  2. FABULOUS tips. WOW! I wish I would have known this all last year! Ours was a total flop! (Of course, where I live, maybe we should have done all the signs in Spanish…)

  3. I completely agree with #12. Put a price on EVERYTHING. Anyone can just throw stuff in their driveway, the extra effort is definitely necessary. I get so annoyed when things aren't priced that I'll usually just leave unless I see something I love. I think it's the easiest way to lose a sale.

    I went to an estate sale last weekend where nothing was priced and it was a mess. I think it was the 3rd day of the sale, but it looked like they still had most of their stuff. I spent about 30 seconds there and left.

  4. #16 Have the kids do a bake sale! When people drive up and see bottles of water or doughnuts and muffins, etc… They're more likely to get out and come up. PLUS, those who are there and are checking out with their treasures, a lot of them will go "oh and throw in 2 doughnuts". We made probably at least 3x's as much on what it cost to buy the food, plus we really got great comments and traffic bc of it! (Plus, lets face it, who doesn't get a little hungry or munchie when they're out shopping. Plus those cute kiddos are always "MOM! Can I have a doughnut? It's 50 cents! What mom doesnt usually have change on them?!) Just a thought… Thanks for the tips! I will keep that in mind this spring!

    • Katrina Mick says:

      I have to tell you that my daughters sell lemonaide at our yard sales, but not from a cup. We sell the bottle waters and then those individual lemonade packets so people have to mix their own. It costs more as a start up, but my girls make soo much more. As a mom I cringe at the lemonade stands that have the pitcher of lemonade, the cups and the snotty nose kids touching both.I normally don’t buy them because I wonder where their hands have been and how clean was the kitchen the lemonade was made in. I guess that makes me a germaphobe,..

  5. Thanks so much for sharing your tips! I am starting to gather items and have never done a yard sale before! What do you usually price baby and kids clothes at that are in good-great condition? I don't want to lose out on money obviously, but I also realize it is a yard sale and it is supposed to be bargains and I don't want to over-price. Thanks!!

  6. Too many garage sales advertise HUGE and aren't… make sure yours is before you advertise HUGE, please.

  7. Don't forget to advertise on Craigslist and use pictures! It really draws people to your sale if they know what you are selling!

  8. The Vakautakakala's says:

    these tips make me want to have a yard sale!!

  9. Oh man, you just got me super excited for our yard sale!! Thank you for the wonderful tips- very smart girl :)

  10. Ugh, I loved this. I'm a serious garage sale junkie and this post made my heart start pumping again. Bring on garage sale season (and please bring spring with it – it snowed here today)!!!

  11. Dana Marchant says:

    I have another tip: 1 hour until you are getting ready to close the garage sale — Post a big sign saying 'Everything is 1/2 price'. Yes, you lose a bit of money but I sold SO MUCH MORE the last hour that would have just been donated. Plus, it gets people out of their cars because they are curious.

  12. Hey a while ago, I won the Shabby Apple dress. It still hasn't come!

  13. Danielle says:

    wowzers! Thanks so much for posting this! My friend and I are having a HUGE garage sale to raise money for our mission trip to Africa. So of course we want ALL the traffic we can get! So thank you thank you thank you for the AMAZING tips!

    • I’d also advise you to have more than 1 person available to make a sale. By that I mean have a spot set up at a table, complete with the box-o-cash, for people to check out. I’d also suggest a rover with a fanny-pack of small bills, to get those sales that might not make it all the way back to the ‘sales table’ – like the furniture buyers.

      I attended a similar type of sale this last weekend (they were raising $$ for church camp, which I will support every. single. time.). The girls running the sale were very nice, but kept referring people to one-another for prices and to make a sale. Oh! just occurred to me. Even wearing the same color shirts can help people identify who you are and make it easier to complete your sales and answer questions.

  14. Thanks for sharing these great tips:)

  15. Great post, I actually did the same thing about a month ago on my blog. We had quite a few in common actually. Bad garage sales just agrivate me.

  16. I've already put in to practice most of these and it really works! I've had lots of people comment on how great the signs were at directing them where to go.

    Another tip, if you have clothes to sell, get them on hangers and find a way to hang them up. If I see a table piled full of a mess of clothes or boxes on the ground that I have to dig through, gauranteed I'm walking away. But if I can easily flip through them on hangers I'll definitely take the time to look. I use my laundry cart that has a bar on top for drying things. My sister took the mop head off of her mop and used the pole/handle and laid each end on table tops so that the clothes hung in between two tables. Be creative, but find a way to hang them up.

  17. I am so excited for garage sale season! Thanks for the ideas!

  18. Check with your city/town about the laws surrounding posting signs. You don't want to be hit with fines for putting them where they're not allowed or making them too big or whatever.

  19. Thanks for posting this! We have yard sales every year and this year we're having a moving sale so everything must go! I was just going to write a post similar to this one but love your ideas so much that I'd like to re-post yours on my blog. Is that alright? Thanks!

  20. I would add that pricing things in 25 cent increments reduces the amount of change needed & makes it easier to add.

  21. First off, nix the balloons, I know they catch attention but sadly many are let loose into the environment where they become the bearer of death to birds who swallow deflated balloons or fragments when they have popped causing suffocation. Balloons also end up in the ocean causing the same misery for whales. use colorful eye catching posters and remember to remove them after the sale, its really annoying to follow a trail of well positioned signs to find out the sale was the week before, oops!

  22. I just attended a whole slew of sales this weekend, and I can honestly say that NOT A SINGLE ONE did more than 1 of these tips!

    Only one sale (an estate sale) had anything marked with a price, and that was pretty hit-and-miss. It’s annoying to have to try and identify the person(s) running a sale to find out a price, then haggle, then find someone else to pay.

    I’d love to see (at big/mutli-family/estate sales) the sellers identified by, say, the same color shirt (maybe that matches the signs?), or at least some sort of tag that says HEY! I’m SELLING STUFF!

    I also really like to see a sales table, as well as a roving seller who can make those on-the-spot sales that people would otherwise walk away from. I scored a cute pewter tray this weekend (that was not priced) for 50 cents because one of the sellers recognized I was getting frustrated and ran over to make a quick sale.

    It’s hard to be in two places at once. That said, sellers (myself included) should not hover. I had one guy last weekend following me around his entire garage, pointing out how nice everything was and wouldn’t it be great in my house. Nevermind the creep factor – I need to place things in the mental picture of my room to see if it works. I can’t do that when someone is chattering at me. Of course, be personable and friendly, but just let potential customers know who you are and that you are happy to answer questions, rather than provide a running commentary.

    You’ve got a great ad campaign here!

  23. Chrissy says:

    When I am at a sale, there’s nothing more repelling to me then when children with a lemonade stand obnoxiously yell at all the shoppers to purchase their lemonade and cookies. I don’t find anything cute about that and I don’t want to eat or drink anything from a stranger’s kitchen handled by the dirty hands of little kids. I’ve also been to sales where the owner’s children run wild and are at risk of getting hit by shopper’s cars. You really can’t run a busy sale and keep watch over your kids. Keep them safe and sound inside the house or send them to a friend’s for the day.

  24. Tashelle Monae says:

    Great advice! I’m planning on having a sale soon so I will be sure to put this to good use!!

  25. Rebecca says:

    Have measuring tapes available for customers to use. I sold a dining room suite because a customer knew how big her dining room was and together we measured the pieces and drew the layout on a piece of paper. She bought the dining room suite and took the layout with her.

    Have electricity available for customers to try things before they buy.

    I agree with pricing everything. It is easy to overlook some things when pricing so have extra price tags and a marker handy to quickly price anything you missed.

    I don’t typically have shoes to sale. But, if you do, have a place for people to sit and try them on.

    I give out half price coupons to my customers when they purchase something. With the coupon they can come back the last hour of the sale and purchase items at half price. I have sold a lot of items that I would have just given to a thrift store. Make sure you list any exclusions on the coupon such as furniture, anything priced over $50, etc.

  26. Paul Farmer says:

    These are great tips! and I would add one more… We used this Garage Sale Checkout app at our last sale and it was fantastic!! Makes the checkout process supper easy!

    Here is the video, or search Garage Sale Checkout in your app store.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2-1DEAzslo

    ~Paul

  27. Admiring the commitment you put into your site and detailed information you
    present. It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t
    the same out of date rehashed material. Wonderful read!

    I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  28. Couldn’t agree more on every single tip! Spot on. I’m hoping our upcoming sale will pay off from all our prep work!

  29. These are such great tips and as much work as they are, it’s such a good idea. I’m throwing one this weekend.

    xoDale
    http://www.savvyspice.com

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  1. [...] of things shoppers should expect to find like furniture, books, baby stuff, tools, or antiques. All Things Thrifty is fond of rummage related buzz words that you may want to include “multi-family” and [...]

  2. [...] 15 Yard Sale Advertising Tips [...]

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  4. […] board color and plant signs every two blocks and at every turn. In their great marketing post, All Things Thrifty recommends putting balloons on signs and including words like HUGE, MULTI-FAMILY and BLOWOUT if […]

  5. […] success is a yard sale if no one knows about it? First, make your posters large. All Things Thrifty recommends you make signs 22 X 28 (standard poster board size). Make sure your signs clearly state […]

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