Well, don't do a ton of work to prepare for a garage sale and then not tell people about it! Half (actually, probably more than half) the success of a great garage sale can be contributed to good marketing of the event. So this week, consider your options, pick the choices that get you the most excited and decide how you're going to get the word out!
When you decide to start advertising your garage sale can be up to you. If you decide to do some tease-advertising, you can consider doing that as early as two weeks ahead. The heavy, more online/print advertising you can start three days to a week before, and physical signs should be put up a few days before the event. (Or at least those are our recommendations; as always we want to hear about what's worked for you!)
1. Street signs on steroids
You're not going to just want one sign, you're going to want many. Start from the street with the most traffic, posting signs with clear arrows all the way to your garage sale. Make the signs big, with clear, readable letters. Make all the signs with the same materials so they match (neon green and pink poster board are especially spot-able). Keep the signs as simple as can be — don't clutter them with unnecessary info. And consider adding "attention-getters" like balloons, pinwheels and more to your signs to grab attention of motorists. More tips on garage sale signs can be found here (external link): Garage sale signs for the street that pull in the crowds.
2. Social Media
Social media is a great opportunity to tease your friends (and friends of friends) that you'll be having a sale and also give previews of what will be for sale. Consider creating a Facebook photo album with preview photos of the really enticing items for sale. Use Twitter and Instagram to post either photos of items or of the garage sale signs. Start your teasing anywhere from a week to two weeks ahead of your sale, and just be sure to market the strongest a few days before the sale begins.
3. Local paper
Your die-hard garage goers will likely search your local paper weekly for garage sales in the area, so it's important to invest a bit of money in this marketing method. Schedule your newspaper ad to run the day before your garage sale and continue through the days of your sale, as well. Doesn't have to be particularly witty — just make sure it includes the vital information like when, where and perhaps a few key item types that will be sold. And don't forget to add your ad to your paper's online website listing version if they have it, since many people search online now.
Don't skip this step if you live in a big enough city to have an active Craigslist page. Many folks look to Craigslist to plan their garage sale routes (sometimes days in advance) so you want to write a clear, compact ad that's got all the vital info (your address, the dates you're holding the sale and the times the sale will be going on). Consider also including directional information like the neighborhood name or landmarks that might make finding the sale easier. You'll want to list some keywords of items that you'll be selling and include some enticing shots of what you think will be the best sellers. Run your ad a few days before your sale and during the sale days.
5. Community boards
Don't forget about community message boards in your local coffee shop, grocery store or college!
What are your favorite ways to get the word out?