When it comes to having a successful a garage sale, there’s nothing more important than the ads.
Sure, the items that you’re actually selling have a big impact, but even if you’ve got great merchandise, if you don’t market your garage sale properly, no one is going to show up and buy it.
That’s why making sure that your yard sale ads are well written is so important.
Fortunately, we’ve put together some simple, but effective tips on how to write a garage sale ad – whether it’s for Craigslist, the classifieds, or a sign you plan to place in the neighborhood.
What will I learn?
1. Create a catchy headline
One of the most important elements of a garage sale ad is the headline. It may not help you sell everything at your garage sale, but your headline is your hook. It’s what draw’s people in and it gives potential customers their first impression of your sale.
So, take your time creating it.
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Your headline should be catchy enough to get shoppers to read the rest of your ad and it should tell them the what and where, briefly of course.
Don’t make the mistake of making it too generic either.
Let’s take a look at some examples…
Let’s say for example that you’re clearing out the attic of vintage stuff to sell at your yard sale.
You might say:
“Midtown Attic Sale”
And that’s fine, but the example below is better:
“Antique Hoarder Downsizing Sale”
The term “hoarder” adds a little personality to the headline and the word “antique” makes your merchandise sound much more appealing and exciting.
Or, you could say:
“Downtown Emptying the Attic Sale”
This again is a bit more personable that the first example, and the phrase “emptying the attic” tells the reader that you’re going to have a fairly large selection of items.
2. Include a specific date and time
Okay, so once you’ve created an attention grabbing headline, you need to tell people when your garage sale is going on.
Include not only the date that you’re hosting it, but also a specific time. This is something that any people forget to do, even though it’s super important.
If you don’t put a time, then people could show up really early before the yard sale has begun – and no one wants a group of strangers knocking at the door at the crack of dawn!
So, include a time. You don’t have to include the exact time that the yard sale will last in your ad. Just include a start time.
3. Give specific details about the location
Another neglected element of the garage sale ad is the location.
Don’t make the mistake of being vague with your address.
Putting the name of your town is not enough – you need a specific address and ZIP code, as well as your town or city name.
A zip code is particularly important, as many shoppers now use GPS devices to find yard sales.
4. Keep the ad short
People are busy and they don’t have time to read an epically long ad – so keep it short and sweet.
Resist the urge to list each and every item you’re selling – no one wants to read a huge list.
Don’t avoid listing everything of course, but focus on the key pieces.
5. Focus on the most desirable merchandise
As mentioned above, it’s best to keep your ad succinct. That doesn’t meant that you can’t mention your inventory – it just means that you need to only mention your best stuff.
If you’ve got a few sought-after or big ticket items, let potential customers know in your ad.
If you advertise your high-ticket items specifically, you’re more likely to draw in customers.
6. Be specific
This is the key to a successful yard sale ad. However, a lot of people aren’t specific enough when they list what they’re selling. Your ad should tell people exactly what you have on offer:
- If you’re selling women’s winter clothing, don’t just put “women’s clothes”. Instead, put “women’s winter clothes”.
- If you’re selling oak furniture, don’t just say “furniture”. Instead, put “oak furniture.
- If you’re selling clothing from the 50s, don’t just put “vintage clothing”. Instead, say “1950s vintage clothing”.
Specifics count for a lot when it comes to attracting customers.
7. Mention collectibles
Something that you definitely shouldn’t leave out of your ad is collectible items. Most people make the mistake of either not listing collectibles, or listing them too generally.
Instead of just putting “collectibles” on your yard sale ad, state what those collectibles are.
8. Use the right terms
The terms that you use can really affect the amount and what type of customers you attract.
Terms like “garage sale” and “yard sale” are fairly generic, and they’re fine if you’re just hosting a general sale.
Here are a few other terms to consider:
- Moving sale: If you’re moving and that’s why you’re having your garage sale, then you should definitely consider using this term. At moving sales, customers will generally expect to find bigger ticket items, like furniture and more useful and specific merchandise, like microwave ovens, for example, which can be a real draw for many buyers.
- Estate sale: If you’re selling most of your household goods, then this is another good option.
- Jumble/Rummage Sale: If you’re selling stuff for the benefit of charity, then you should use one of those terms.
- Multi-family yard sale: Putting a term like “5-family yard sale” can really help to attract a bigger crowd of shoppers.
9. Proofread your ad
Shoppers aren’t going to notice subtle typos or grammar issues – most of them don’t really care if you make a mistake or two. However, a garage sale ad that’s littered with errors can be a bit off-putting, plus it can prevent buyers from finding your ad online.
For example, if a shopper searches for the term “vinyl records”, but you’ve accidentally, put “viynl records”, then your listing might not appear in their search results.
Also, misspelling your address on your ads means that customers might not be able to locate your sale.
So, take the time to proofread your ad.
Writing garage sale ads for specific platforms
The tips above can be used to write a variety of different garage sale ads:
- Craigslist ads
- Listings on yard sale websites
- Classified ads in the paper
- Posters and flyers
- Signs you place at the side of the road
Below, we’ve compiled a few tips on how to write garage sale ads for specific platforms, like Craigslist for example.
Tips for writing online garage sale ads
On the Internet, there are tons of places, like Craigslist, for example where you should post ads.
When you post ads online it draws in the younger demographic of shoppers, so it’s definitely worth doing.
Here are a few tips on writing garage sale ads for Craigslist, Facebook yard sales, and other online platforms.
Add location specifics
Stating your town and address is important, as mentioned above, but with online ads, you can be even more specific.
If there’s a well-known landmark close-by, then include that. It makes it easier for shoppers to find your garage sale, especially those that aren’t from your neighborhood, which you attract more of online.
Attach a few photos
Make sure you include a few photos of your big-ticket or sought-after pieces, like vintage items or furniture, for example.
Run your ad in advance
Online, many shoppers plan the yard sales they attend in advance.
That’s why posting your ad a few days before the sale is such a good idea. It gives shoppers time to plan for a visit to your yard sale.
Put safety first
When you advertise a sale online, you need to be careful. Avoid putting too much personal information in your listing, aside from your address of course.
When shoppers do arrive, don’t invite them inside your home – stick to the yard.
This is something to keep in mind with shoppers in general, not just those you met online.
Tips for creating a yard sale classified ad
The classifieds section of your local newspaper is still a great place to advertise a yard sale.
After all, it’s a good place to find longtime yard sale shoppers and older buyers that don’t look at ads on Craigslist or other online platforms.
Also, many smaller towns don’t have a designated Craigslist page, so posting an ad in the paper is vital.
Most of the tips above for creating online ads apply when writing classified ads, so keep them in mind, but also consider the following:
Run your ad in advance
As mentioned above, running a garage sale ad a few days ahead of time gives buyers the chance to plan for your sale. So, make sure you run the ad a few days before your yard sale begins.
Don’t forget to add a listing to the online version
If you place an ad in the classifieds section, try to add it to the paper’s online version if you can. A lot of papers do this automatically, some don’t give you this option, and many do allow you to list online for a fee.
Garage sale flyer & ad templates
Writing a garage sale ad can be a bit tricky. So, to help you out, we’ve included a couple of garage sale ad templates and examples:
If you want your yard sale to be a success without a lot of leftover items, then you need to put effort into writing your garage sale ad.
It takes a bit of time to craft, but a good ad can draw in a big crowd and make your yard sale a whole lot more profitable.