How to write a garage sale ad (and where to post it online)


Staging your house to sell? Cutting the clutter before a move? Just looking for a little more breathing room in your closets? If so, a garage sale could be a Saturday morning well spent!

Once you’ve decided what you want to sell, priced your items and planned when and how to set up your garage sale, all that’s left is to advertise it.

Where to post garage sale ads online

Today, there many free online resources available to advertise your garage sale. Sites like, and—and their mobile apps—enable garage sale enthusiasts to browse sale listings and even map out a route of their favorites. You may also want to do a quick Facebook search to see if you have any active garage sale groups in your area.

Next step: tap into these incredible networks of garage sale shoppers by writing and posting an effective ad.

Tips for writing a successful garage sale ad:

  • Include dates and times. It may sound obvious, but people still forget to include sale dates and times in their listings. It’s ok to be vague about how long your sale will last, but a start time is an absolute must unless you want shoppers knocking on your door at the crack of dawn.
  • Provide an exact address. Make it easy for sites to correctly map your sale by providing a clear and specific address. Spell out all the words, include your zip code and don’t worry about supplying directions unless you’re in an area that Google hasn’t mapped.
  • State your terms. If you don’t want people calling in advance, say, “No previews or calls.” Planning to set up inside a garage or other shelter? Say, “Rain or shine!” Late sleepers: do yourself a favor and add, “No early birds!”
  • Use the right lingo. While “yard sale” and “garage sale” are fairly generic and interchangeable terms, there are other sale names that are frequently misapplied. A “rummage sale” or “jumble sale,” for example, typically refers to a sale of donated items for the benefit of a charity. “Estate sale” should only be used if you’re selling the majority of your household goods, not just the clutter. If you’re having a “moving sale,” shoppers will expect to see a lot of useful items that you just don’t have room to pack. Don’t forget to use buzz words like “multi-family garage sale” and “community garage sale” if they apply; bigger sales draw bigger crowds.
  • Tease your target audience. Some things—like craft supplies, baby clothes and toys, tradesman’s tools, musical instruments and sports equipment—appeal to a very specific audience. To maximize your chances of selling these items, you might want to call them out in your listing. Big-ticket items like furniture and vehicles should also be mentioned so buyers know to bring enough cash with them.
  • Safety first. Try to provide as little personal information as possible in your listing and use caution when interacting with people through Craigslist and other websites. Set up your sale in your yard, driveway or garage and don’t invite shoppers inside your house. If your home is located in a high-traffic area, or if the roads in your neighborhood are too narrow to accommodate the extra parking you’ll need, consider locating your sale at a friend’s house. Always check with your HOA and local government to make sure garage sales are permitted in your area and comply with any requirements they might have.
  • Proofread your post. Shoppers probably won’t notice (or care) if you misspell a word or two in your ad. However, typos can work against you in other ways. Some shoppers set up email alerts or do keyword searches for items they’d like to buy. If they’re looking for an “accordion,” your “acordion” may not appear in their search results. Typos in your address are particularly bad, as they may send shoppers somewhere else entirely.

Once you’ve taken the time to write one killer garage sale ad, it’s a simple matter to submit it to as many online listing services as you can find. Many apps and sites automatically pull information from Craigslist, so be sure to post there first!