How to Word a Garage Sale Advertisement

Hosting a garage sale -- and advertising it correctly -- is a wise way to get rid of items that are cluttering your household and to sell things you no longer find useful. It is disappointing when few people show up after you have gathered, labeled and hauled your items out of the garage. The correct wording in the advertisement helps to increase the traffic to your sale and adds bonus cash to your pocket.

The right advertisement entices buyers to attend your garage sale.
  1. View the classified ads in your local paper to obtain an idea of the wording, format and length. Write down a similar ad on a sheet of paper, particularly if you are calling in the ad.
  2. Call the local newspaper or shopper's guide to inquire about the cost of the ad. Some papers offer a minimum price for a certain amount of words and charge extra over that amount. Ask the salesperson what the deadline is to submit the ad. Often, if you want the ad in the Friday and Saturday editions of the newspaper, the deadline is on Thursday.
  3. Write the advertisement so that the reader can scan it quickly. Long-winded advertisements turn some buyers off, and it costs you more for the ad. If you live in a large metropolitan area with many suburbs, it is a wise idea to put your location in the ad first, such as Bartlett, in the city of Memphis. Add the street name after the location. Many people who shop at garage sales will only drive a few miles to reach their destinations.
  4. Describe the most valuable or sought-after item after the location. For instance, items such as antiques, a piano, baby bed, furniture and children's toys will draw larger traffic to your sale if listed at the beginning of the ad.
  5. List your house number only if you feel safe in doing so; many die-hard shoppers arrive at sales the night before or a couple of days early to reap the bargains. This could place you or your family members in an unsafe situation without other people around. Typically, listing your street is all that is necessary to bring people to your sale, because the signs you create enable them to find the right house. If your street stretches for miles across the city, include the house number.
  6. Write the date and length of time the sale will run. This informs potential buyers when the sale begins and ends and prevents people from driving up when you are clearing the remains of the sale and are ready to call it quits.

Things You Will Need

  • Poster boards or index cards (optional)
  • Roll of quarters and small bills (optional)
  • Helium balloon (optional)


  • Abbreviate sentences where possible to make the advertisement short and save money. For instance, put "Sat., 5/14, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m."
  • Place garage sale notices on bulletin boards of grocery stores, churches, community centers and at colleges to increase the traffic. Use a section of poster board or an index card to alert people to a sale.
  • Ask friends and neighbors to join you in a garage sale. Traveling to garage sales requires gas and a lot of legwork for potential buyers. They are more likely to visit a sale that says "Five family garage sale," than one where you alone are selling items.
  • Gather plenty of change for the sale; it is embarrassing not to have correct change, and you could lose a sale. Have a roll of quarters, 20 or 25 $1 bills and a few fives and tens.
  • Attach a helium balloon on a streamer to your mailbox or a stake near the edge of the yard. This draws attention to the sale and enables buyers to locate the house quickly when driving down the street.

About the Author

Chelsea Fitzgerald covers topics related to family, health, green living and travel. Before her writing career, she worked in the medical field for 21 years. Fitzgerald studied education at the University of Arkansas and University of Memphis.

Photo Credits

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