One man's trash is another man's treasure. This idiom perfectly describes the joy that is a garage sale. While you may consider an old heart-shaped coffee mug one too many for your pantry, it may be just what another is looking for to complete their quirky collection. A garage sale is the perfect way to get rid of old, unwanted stuff and make some money out of it. But how do you get people to actually come and help take all this stuff off your hands? You advertise. You advertise big time! You let everyone know that you're coming up with this to-die-for garage sale that no one in their right mind would want to miss. You make it out to be the 'garage sale of the century' and we tell you how.
The Internet is and will probably remain the most hassle-free way of advertising, be it your garage sale or a corporate giant's next big product. There are scores of websites that offer listings for garage sales. Craigslist and eBay are two prominent websites that offer this service. You can also Google your town or city and check for local, community-based websites that will let you post a classified. Yard Sale Search is another great website that offers listings for yard and garage sales throughout the country. In addition to dedicated portals, you can also use your Facebook account to spread the word about your forthcoming event. Create a page, an event, a group, or even an ad that lets people on your friends' list know that you will be organizing this huge garage sale. When you use these portals, ensure that you describe at least a few of the items you intend to sell. Keep the descriptions short, but attractive. Get them hooked, and you'll see them flocking!
Another tried, tested, and quite successful way of advertising a garage sale is in a newspaper classified section. Contact your local newspaper, and check how much they charge. The tricky part here is adhering to the word limit according to your budget. Every word you use will count. So, use them wisely. Say as much as you can in as little as you can. It's much easier than it sounds.
While there are other easier ways to advertise, nothing beats the charm of a good ol' neon poster beckoning passersby to this grand garage sale where they might find the bargain of their dreams. To ensure that your sale attracts hordes of people, pay attention to the following points while making posters.
- Use bright-colored paper. If people cannot see the poster, they won't bother reading it.
- Avoid using multiple colors. A single color will help people identify with your sale.
- All your posters should look alike. So, if you're not sure if your 8-year-old kid or the neighbor's teenage daughter will get it right, do it yourself. Printing is an option, but it's just more expensive.
- Use a good quality, permanent marker to write on the poster. Ensure that the writing is neat, tidy, and legible, even from a distance.
- Include all and only the necessary details on the poster. The date, address (with landmarks if required), and your name and contact number are the most important pieces of information that should go on it. Anything else is supplementary and shouldn't crowd the poster.
- Put them up on busy streets that lead to and away from your house. This way, the posters will be visible to people traveling both ways.
- Make sure there are big arrows guiding people in the direction towards your garage sale. You can also try something humorous like putting up posters that say 'If you're looking for ABC's garage sale, you're going the wrong way' on roads that are away from your house. You never know; it might just interest someone.
- After you put your posters up, drive past them and see if you can read them clearly. If you can't, chances are no one else will be able to either.
Fliers are also one of the best ways to advertise the garage sale. They could be just down-sized versions of the awesome posters that you're putting up, so follow all the pointers listed above for them as well. If you're getting your posters printed, then getting them in a smaller size shouldn't be a problem. In fact, it will be more convenient to do so. If you're making your posters by hand, you can try something different with the fliers. Maybe a different color or a different tone. You could even offer a free drink or snack for everyone who visits the sale. Put these fliers up on notice boards in convenience stores, cafés, community centers, schools, and any other place that sees a regular flow of visitors. Trees and electric poles (if permitted) are also great spots to put up fliers. Make sure you paste them on the poles. Using staples might pose a hazard for linemen.
Plan the sale well in advance so that you can clearly allot enough time to devising a good advertising strategy. On the day of the sale, make sure you have a big sign right in front of your house welcoming people to the best garage sale ever! Apart from advertising, make sure that the area you use for the sale is clean and tidy. If you're using your lawn, make sure the grass is cut and the soil isn't too wet. As a source of entertainment, you can play some soft music in the background. This will set the mood as you mingle with everyone helping them out with their purchases.
The advertising strategies mentioned above will be most effective if at least two or more are combined. Just remember to take all the signs, posters, fliers, and listings down after the big day, unless you want people calling at unearthly hours to inquire if the sale is still on.