How to Make Sure Your Garage Sale is Legal (& Keep Your Neighbors From Hating You)

updated Jun 5, 2019
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Of the many things that have to be in place before you can throw a successful garage sale (like decluttering your house to have enough stuff to sale and picking a good location), you also need to make sure your garage sale is playing by the rules and playing nice. Here are three things to consider before throwing your next garage sale.

1. Check for your city’s permits, time limits
Every city and town will have different rules, so visit your city’s local website to search for garage sales and see what rules they have in place (and then of course, consider following them). Some places will require you to fill out a permit (usually easy and affordable). Other towns will simply have limits on how many days per calendar year you can hold a garage sale. Make sure you look up the rules that will apply to your area.

2. Check for marketing rules
If you want to be thorough, also check for the rules on advertising your garage sale. Some cities only allow you to put up signs in certain areas and for a certain amount of days. And even if your city doesn’t have any official rules, consider being polite anyway; don’t put signs up in other people’s yards without permission and don’t go around tearing down all the competition’s signs (not that you would).

3. Check-in with your neighbors
It’s not the law, but you might want to approach your neighbors to let them know that you’ll be throwing a garage sale. Give them the dates and times they can expect a higher than usual volume of cars and people through their neighborhood. Consider creating signs that will keep sale-goers off neighbors’ lawns and from parking in front of driveways. As always, try to be as considerate as you can!

Have you ever run into any strange or surprising rules or permits for garage sales in your area that might be good to warn folks throwing a garage sale for the first time? Let us know in the comments below!

(Image credit: Janel Laban)

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