There is one very big advantage the neighborhood garage sale has over the individual sale: TRAFFIC. This was the tipping point for me when I was deciding whether to host my own sale or organize a neighborhood garage sale.
My neighborhood has hosted annual garage sales for years thanks to my friend, Jackie. I had helped her with online promoting and I knew some of what she was doing to prepare. But last year, Jackie moved and I had to decide whether or not I wanted TRAFFIC for my own garage sale.
We all know there are people who only shop the neighborhood garage sales (a’hem, me included). It is so nice to hit many houses at once than to drive 20 minutes and find the lone sale in the middle of nowhere.
A neighborhood garage sale allows for pooled advertising, but don’t forget about all that free advertising across multiple neighbors’ social media sites. Invaluable!
How to Organize a Neighborhood Garage Sale
1. Talk to a few of your neighbors. Know that you have a couple other houses guaranteed to sell with you.
My neighborhood is huge. Out of 240 houses, I know I’ll have at least 20, more likely 30 and in fact this year, we had 39!
2. Pick the dates. Choose a Thursday, Friday & Saturday. (Thursday is a great garage sale day!)
3. Start a Neighborhood Garage Sale Facebook Page. You’ll see why you need this later.
4. If you are part of an association, find out if you have a budget or will be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses. If there is no reimbursement, consider asking neighbors to chip in $5-10 for advertising and sign expenses. However you cut it, this is less than if someone were doing it on their own.
5. Get the word out to the entire neighborhood. We do this by printing and cutting 1/2 sheets of paper stuffed in newspaper boxes. Include the dates, your contact information for those who want to participate, your Neighborhood Garage Sale Facebook page and a plea for help in promoting.
If you will be asking for help with expenses, note this here. Be sure to mention the date people need to let you know by. If your town requires a permit, give yourself a window of a couple days before the sale starts to stop and pick it up.
Make sure you ask all sellers to provide you with their name, phone number, home address and email address. Email is so convenient when conveying information to all the sellers quickly.
6. Advertise in your local papers. This may be your biggest expense. Include neighborhood name, dates, times and general location.
7. Advertise online. Promote the garage sale in local Facebook selling groups and Craigslist. Check and see if any of your local news stations have an online garage sale connection.
Start promoting the sale on your Neighborhood Garage Sale Facebook page. Share anything to drive interest such as: asking neighbors to share the page, sharing the number of houses that are currently signed up to participate or encouragement to get rid of clutter. Be upbeat and exciting.
8. Print fliers for the community. Place the fliers at the grocery store, local restaurant, school, office . . . wherever people go and may learn about this awesome garage sale you are planning.
9. Get a permit, if needed. For our city, I was able to get one permit for the entire neighborhood. I turned in a list of all houses participating and did this the Tuesday before the sale.
10. Make a map & flier. This was one of the best “free” advertising tools and you’ll see why. I have been to community sales where you can pick up a flier that has a map of the neighborhood and know exactly where every house is selling. While this is ideal, I didn’t want to print hundreds of them.
Instead, I created a digital map, promoted it on our Facebook page and asked each house to print and hang one. The beauty of the garage sale’s Facebook page was that because so many neighbors shared the map, over 2600 people saw it in their feeds and heard about the garage sale! Don’t miss #11 so you can add a dedicated url to the bottom of your map flier.
HOW TO MAKE A MAP WITHOUT CRYING – Go to Yard Sale Treasure Map. Click on the “Add Sales” tab and then click on “Spreadsheet Tool (new).” Enter in all the addresses of the houses. Adjust the size of the map to focus on the houses and main street for point of reference. Take a screen shot and then edit that photo. (I use a Picasa because it captures the screen shots for quick editing.)
11. Post the map on a free website so you can get a dedicated url. Whether to help social media sharing or quick reference for shoppers’ smartphones, add a url to the bottom of your map’s flier.
I use a site called Tackk.com. I have an account and can post all kinds of things to share. I chose to keep this map private unless you have the link and one awesome thing . . . you can customize your url. Mine was simply tackk.com/[neighborhood’s name].
12. Put out signs and balloons. We put a sign out on the main street the week prior and add balloons for the sale. If your neighborhood is large and may be considered confusing to a new-comer, you may choose to hang smaller signs from the street sign of the various streets containing sellers.
13. Sell, sell, sell. Make all your work worth it by having your own successful garage sale.
- Put a sign out by the end of your drive or balloons on your mailbox. Let people know you are there.
- Price things well. Remember, this is a garage sale. People are looking for bargains.
- Consider a 1/2 off day for Saturday. At that point, you’ll probably want to get rid of anything that is left.
14. Call a charity or church that will come pick up what remains and share this information with your neighbors. In our area, we have the veterans and a couple local church ministries that will take items either to be sold to raise money for missions or simply given away to bless others. Several of these groups will come to the house to pick up items when scheduled in advance. All you have to do is box it up and leave it on your front porch.
Incidentally, we made a lemonade stand (for a party I have coming up) and the kids sold lemonade for a quarter. I don’t know whether it was the fantastic stand or the adorable kids, but they made $40!
Have you had a garage sale? Tell us your experience!
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