Garage sale signs for the street that pull in the crowds
First, place your garage sale signs safely, carefully and legally
- Most cities, counties, towns, villages, councils, shires, etc have laws that prohibit posting garage sale signs. Most of the time, the authorities have more important things to do than to track down sign posters especially if you take them all down as soon as you sale is over, however, if your garage sale sign is causing an obvious safety hazard you may get a visit by the police and get an expensive fine.
- Check if you need a permit for your garage sale signs.
- Check the size limit of garage sale signs.
- Check on the number of garage sale signs you can put up.
- Check where you can and can't put your garage sale signs.
- Check what you can and can't put on your signs.
- Check if you can attach balloons to your signs.
- Check when you can put your garage sale signs up and when you have to take your signs down.
- Don't place your signs over safety signs, on roundabouts or at intersections where they will distract the attention of drivers.
- Also, if you don't take your signs down promptly after your garage sale, you may get fined for littering.
Make a sign map
You will need street signs on every main street entry to your house within a mile (or 2 kilometres). Draw a rough map of your area to plan where your garage sale signs will need to go. Don't forget to cater for traffic going in both directions. This will usually require separate signs on each side of the road.
Your sign map will help you work out how many garage sale signs you will need and what direction the arrows need to be. Your sign map can also be used by your helpers in the morning to set up the signs for you and to take them ALL down at the end of your garage sale.
Below are some suggested locations for your signs at intersections.
Place your garage sale signs so drivers have time to turn
Place signs more than 30 yards/metres (or more depending on the speed limit) before the intersection so people can slow down and/or change lanes to safely turn. Place your arrow signs about 10 meters/yards from a corner. You can place your arrow signs right on the corner only if there is plenty of visibility leading up to the corner and there is no chance that a car will be parked before it blocking the view of people trying to find your sign.
You will need an "arrow" direction sign at EVERY corner
You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find your garage sale. Even if you have included the street name on your main street sign, people may not be bothered to come if they have to dig out their street directory to find you.
What to do on long streets?
If you have a long street, people will start wondering if they have gone past a corner sign after a few minutes. If this is likely, try one of these tips:
- Tie a blue ribbon around a signpost, street light or street-side tree every block so people know they are still on the right track. Your sign at the beginning of the street would also say, for example, "Follow the blue ribbons".
- Put up a sign "2 miles to go" then another "1 mile to go".
Make sure all you garage sale signs look similar
Customers will then know they are following your signs to your garage sale. Use the same colored background, lettering, decorations, etc.
Garage sale signs should be stiff and sturdy
Signs should be stiff and sturdy so they don't fold down in the slightest breeze. Some ideas for sign material are:
- Corrugated plastic from your sign store can be used for self-supporting signs where stiff wire rods are pushed down between the corrugated flutes and into the ground.
- 20" x 30" thick poster board
- Drywall (or gypsum board, wallboard, plasterboard) is excellent for street signs. It is cheap, weather-proof (short term) and easy to cut into any shape but needs to be secured or weighed down to stop it blowing away. A robust tent design can be easily taped together and a couple of bricks on the base for stability. Below are two examples.
- Some people have invested in durable A-framed signs made from metal and wood. It can be as simple as two sheets or plywood hinged at the top and cord tied between the two panels. These signs can then be stored away for re-use later when you have another garage sale or borrowed by neighbors, friends or relatives when they have their garage sales.
- A common method for temporary garage sale signs is to stick the paper sign on the side of a large cardboard box and put a brick in the bottom of the box to stop it blowing over or away! Boxes also work great at an intersection where cars are coming from 3 directions, you can stick signs on 3 sides of the box! Suitably sized cardboard boxes can usually be obtained for free from your local supermarket.
Some enterprising children earn 'pocket money' every week by renting out their professionally built signs.
Garage sale signs should be readable and attention-getting
Cars will be passing your sign at 35 mph (60 kph). Look at the road-side signs and notice the size of the sign and the lettering. Note how small the lettering can be before it is unreadable from a car travelling at speed.
- Your garage sale signs should be readable from at least 10 - 15 yards/metres away.
- Signs should be at least 11" x 17" and larger is better depending on what restrictions your local authorities have.
- Lettering should be at least ½" thick and 3'' - 5" high. If you're using a word processor to make your garage sale signs then use a 500 point size font for the main "GARAGE SALE" title to get 2 letters per page. You can then print the pages and either stick the pages together for your garage sale sign or cut the letters out to use as stencils to trace around when painting your signs.
- Use a thick felt-tipped pen or crayons to fill-in or color in large wide letters or use bright poster paint in a contrasting color to your background.
- The background should be neon pink or fluorescent green because most official street signage aren't in these colors. This will help your garage sale sign stand out.
- Don't clutter you sign with fancy lettering, pictures or listing items for sale. This will just make it harder for motorists to read as they drive past.
- Attention-getters for your main street signs and corner signs could be streamers, balloons, ribbons, flags, etc. Anything that's colorful and moves in the wind. Balloons only last a day or two so these will tell shoppers that your garage sale is on NOW and that your sign isn't still there from last week.
- Great attention-getters I use are foil pinwheels from the local discount store or make your own. They move easily in the slightest breeze and flash when they catch the sun. You will need at least one for each sign (2 or 3 is better) and tape them securely to your signs so they are less likely to be souvenired by passing children. Go to http://www.pinwheelsforpeace.com/ for instructions on making pinwheels and ideas on how else you can use them.
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