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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.
  • Photo by: Bill.Roehl
  • 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.
  • Some enterprising children earn 'pocket money' every week by renting out their professionally built signs.

  • 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.

Garage sale signs should be readable and attention-getting

Cars will be passing your sign at 35mph/60kph. 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 traveling at speed.

    Photo by: xbettyx
  • 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.

Use Google's image search for garage sale sign design ideas

Search for "garage sale sign", "yard sale sign", "tag sale sign", etc.

Photo by: E. Bartholomew    Photo by: David Zahn

Gain attention by making your garage sale sign like a life-size cutout of a person holding your sign

These always get attention when tied securely to a street pole. Include a balloon or two for some extra attention-getting decorations. Use clipart for ideas. Here are some examples:

                       

        

On your main street signs:

  • Have the words GARAGE SALE or YARD SALE and an arrow pointing in the appropriate direction.
  • Include your street name and the day & time of your garage sale.

  • If you are using identifiable, attention-getting decorations, your main yard sale signs should also have the word "Follow the balloons", or "Follow the yellow ribbons" or "Follow the pink signs".
  • Some people say to include your cell/mobile phone number on the main signs so people can ring you for directions or to check if it is worth coming but you will probably find yourself too busy to answer the phone and this could be a security risk. Refer to Best safety and security tips for more information.
  • Use abbreviations (SAT, SUN, etc.) for the day(s).
  • Use 8am, 4pm, etc. for the times.
  • For multi-day yard sales, say SAT - SUN 8am - 4pm
  • If you're having a late 'lunch time' start for your yard sale, make sure you highlight that so people don't think that they'll just get left-overs if they come in the afternoon.

Advertising in a multi-cultural neighborhood

If you are in a multi-cultural neighborhood then consider including non-english signs too.

Secure your specially made bought yard sale signs

If you buy specially made yard sale signs there's a good chance they will be stolen by the end of the day unless you can secure them to a street sign, power pole or lamp post.

Try to prevent people removing your yard sale signs

Write on the bottom of your sign in small letters something like, "This sign will be removed on or before the evening of (insert the last day of your yard sale)". This may appease the authorities and also the owner of the property that you have placed your sign in front of.

Never staple or hammer signs to trees or street poles

Never attach a sign to a public street pole as this is against the law in most states. Nails or staples can damage safety equipment such as gloves and harnesses not to mention hands, arms and legs.

Car signs

  • Consider making a BIG yard sale sign for the front and back windows of your car and then park your car out the front of your house or across the other side of the street if your neighbor doesn't mind. People can then see where the yard sale is from down the end of your street. Having a car out the front also makes the street less deserted. People might think that if there aren't any cars then it can't be a very good yard sale.
  • Stick it to the man! Car signs are good when you aren't allowed to put up signs on the street. Park you car, legally, on the main street and include your address and directions on the sign. If you are able to borrow more than one car then park these strategically at other main intersections.

Gain the attention of people who may not drive past your yard sale signs on the day

  • Leave up a "Garage Sale on Saturday" sign during the week or put up a "Garage Sale Tomorrow" sign on the day before on main roads to gain the attention of people driving by who may not necessarily drive past on the day. Check with your local authorities if this is allowed.
  • Try the ol' "Burma-Shave" technique (Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burma-Shave for more information). Make 3 - 5 small signs each with one line of an amusing limerick or verse about your up-coming garage sale and place them along a busy road about 200 yards apart so drivers have time to read each sign as they drive past. Check with your local authorities if this is allowed.

When to put out your street signs on the morning?

Put out your street signs only AFTER you have all your items out on the morning of your yard sale and you are ready to go. If you put the signs out before you are set up, you won't be ready for the early birds and opening rush.

A tip for when putting your yard sale signs out the night before

If you want to spend time setting up your yard sale signs the night before your yard sale but don't want to include your address on the signs to stop early birds finding your house - just leave a space on the sign for the address and have your address written or printed on suitably sized pieces of paper. Then in the morning while you check your signs, you just need to go around and tape the address on each sign.

Check your yard sale signs during the day

Have a helper check your signs during the day. They may have blown over or been removed or replaced by someone else's garage sale signs.

A sneaky sign trick to really pull in the crowds

This one never fails to attract more shoppers. For more details of this tip and other money-making tips, order your copy of the Best Garage Sale Tips ebook for immediate download.

Don't do this.

I have read some people suggesting "You can even employ your children to walk up and down a main thoroughfare advertising the event, carrying a placard much as they would for a political candidate or if they were on strike. The more noticeable the advertisement, the more likely you'll draw the curious."

My god, don't do that!! I don't now where they lie but haven't they heard of "stranger danger". It's not worth the risk and your kids are more useful at the sale helping you and learning how to interact with adults in a supervised setting.

Help everyone find your house with one of these on your front fence

 

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