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From a consumer’s perspective, a garage sale is a great way to save money. Over the years, we’ve easily saved thousands of dollars on clothes and children’s books and toys.

Hosting a garage sale yourself is a great way to earn some extra cash. It’s not uncommon for a good sale to rake in anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for you to unclutter yourself by getting rid stuff that’s too good to throw away.

But like anything, a successful sale doesn’t just happen. It takes some work.

Assuming you’ve done your part, have quality items priced to sell, and have everything clearly labeled, the biggest determiner of whether or not you’ll have success is the amount of traffic you can drive to your sale. It’s a numbers game.

Kind of like a web page J

There are actually a number of ways to do this, but hands down the most effective method we’ve had of driving people to our sales, has been creating and setting out good signs at key intersections.

You know where the traffic is where you live. Obviously highways get a lot more traffic than back roads, so don’t be afraid to stretch a little to lead people in. We actually pull people from 3 major arteries whenever we have a sale. One of those carries an average of 70,000 people per day—so we put signs in two different locations along that stretch, giving people two chances to get off the road and find us.

Good signs make happy customers

When someone is driving to a garage or yard sale, nothing is more irritating than getting confused. When someone has to work hard to find you, they’re much less likely to spend money.

Clear signs are a key to good traffic and better sales.

Compare:

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Which would you rather follow?

So, would you like to create a garage sale sign that’ll line your pockets with cash?

Here’s how we do it.

Map and Mark

If you can’t do this in your head, take out a map and mark each intersection you’ll plant a sign. You MUST put one at EACH intersection.

Leave nothing to chance.

Assume nothing.

Even if the address is clearly visible, that means nothing to ordinary folks. Remember, you want happy traffic. You want to lead them–step by step. You want people to know they’re on the right track.

Doing this before you buy tag-board is key so that you know how much to get. I guarantee, if you’re just making this up as you go along, you won’t get enough. Most people are surprised at how many intersections there are and how easy it is for someone to make a wrong turn.

Go bright Go Neon

sign1Get yourself some heavy duty neon tagboard. We use 28”X14” and fold it in half. The color doesn’t matter as long as it’s something bright—and it’s all of the same color. Neon is great because you can see it a mile or more off. And when it’s all the same color your customers will know, even if they can’t read it right away, that they’re on the right path.

Go Fat and Black

MarkersGet yourself some thick, fat, black markers. Don’t try to do this with ordinary writing utensils. Don’t think pens, pencils, markers, or sharpies. Think wide and dark. You want it to stand out against that neon, but you also want to get one wide enough so that it doesn’t take you forever to color in the words and arrows.

I included packing tape in this picture because a good sign is worth preserving. Covering it with a layer of packing tape is an inexpensive way to protect it from dirt and moisture, enabling you to use it year after year.

Check your Map

Go back to the map where you’ve marked each intersection and begin making your signs. At the top draw a big dark arrow and the word “

SALE”. Make that the most prominent part. A driver’s most important task is reading the road—not your sign. Keep it very simple. Don’t bother listing items for sale, or including unnecessary words or exclamation points. Signs are supposed to point the way not be flashy or exiting.

Most likely an arrow and the word “SALE” will be enough to lead people right to you, but if you feel like you have room, and especially if you’re having your sale for more than one day, you may want to include a little more information.

We list the days and times of the sale. Don’t bother with dates. It’s more likely that you’ll have your sale on the same day next year than the exact same date. If not it’s no big deal either because you can easily match the color tag-board, rewrite the new day and/or times, and tape the fresh information over the old and nobody will ever know.

Finally, we include our address at the very bottom. If they are familiar with the area, this gives people another point of reference.

Stay Organized

sign3.jpgBefore you finish each sign, use a normal pen to jot down the intersection where the sign will be. Put this info in the same corner of your sign each time. This makes the task of setting out the signs much easier, and it allows you to quickly check to see if you have them all the next time you want to use them.

Wire Hangers Rock!

sign2The first few years we did this I struggled sticking the signs in the ground. I tried taping them to wooden stakes and pounding them in the ground. This doesn’t work well. The earth next to roads is not normal dirt. It’s hard and gravely. I could never get the stakes in deep enough. So the wind from the first big truck to pass would knock it down.

Wire hangers taped to the inside of your signs works great because they’re thin enough to slip deep into the gravel and flexible enough to stay put, even during high winds.

That’s it!

It’s a simple thing, but this is one part of organizing a garage sale that you don’t want to skimp on. Most people don’t do this. But it’s the one thing that can either make or break a sale.