Garage sale ads that attract buyers

What to put in a garage sale ad

To see what should go in an garage sale ad, look at the ads on garage sale websites (eg or 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 ad?

Consider not including the close time

Having said that, consider including the close time

Make your garage sale ad a bit different

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

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

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 if you are in a rural area

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

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



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

Use a headline to catch attention

Other headlines that have caught my attention or curiosity

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:

Placement of targeted flyers

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

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.

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.

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


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