in All, Design, Observating

Effective garage sale signs

Summer is the season for garage sales and yard sales. Every weekend, masses of people flock to the suburbs to find the next great deal. They’re looking for the furniture to fill their living room, or the next thing to sell on eBay for twice what it’s worth. Regardless, people won’t come if they can’t find your sale, and I’m amazed at the number of crappy sale signs I pass while driving.

Don’t complicate your sign

Many signs appear to be brown cardboard with handwritten marker, which isn’t exactly high visibility when you’re cruising by at 35MPH. The taco-takers are the signs that are written on light colored poster board – white works, but don’t fear the hot pink or neon yellow. The last half of the trick is the color of your words. Just use a thick black marker. Don’t try to be creative and use “fun” colors because they just doesn’t show up, even when you’re standing right in front of it.

It’s not hard to make a good sign. Let’s look at what a sign needs to do:

  • Get the attention of a passer-by, we’ll assume in a car
  • Say what the event is
  • Say where the event is

That’s it. Simple as that. When it comes to garage sales, it doesn’t matter what you have for sale. Actually, it would be better NOT to say what you’re selling because then people know they can skip you because you’re not advertising anything they want.

Too often these signs are packed with information like a brochure. Look, you’re not trying to sell people on a time-share, you’re trying to get them to come to your junk sale. People will come to your sale – these people are rabid for garage sales, so you don’t have to worry about anything. Just tell them where it is and be done.

First, use your computer. Word makes a great sale sign maker, use it. Just make sure your font sizes are huge and fill the page. Your standard 8×11 piece of paper is fine if you follow the rules of a good sign.

Little more than an arrow

  • Your sign should have the following information
  • What it is; Yard Sale, Garage Sale, etc.
  • What street it is on; Camelspit Rd, Bugjuice Ct.
  • Times of the sale; 9a – 3p
  • An arrow giving direction (optional)

Good signThe biggest things on your sign should be the “Garage Sale” and street name. You don’t need your house number. If your sign is made well, the street and arrow should be all they need. Remember, all your shit is in your front yard – not hard to see.

The time is kind of optional, but good to have. No need to make this bigger than your street name. Actually, if you’re active in your sale, and put your sign up a half hour before and take it down immediately after, you don’t need to list the time at all.

The arrow only needs to be used if you’re putting your sign on a main road and need to point people back to the street you live on. Even then, no house number is needed. Use the arrows to lead your drivers back at every intersection they may come across while driving.

That’s it. Easy and done. Don’t over complicate your sign. Signs need to be striking and brief, giving only enough information to entice people to want to stop by. They will come regardless of what you are selling.

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11 Comments

  1. Why yes, that is a Wingdings arrow.

    Very astute observation.

    Other typefaces used:
    – Arial narrow
    – Arial black

  2. I only ask because the first time I ever used Wingdings on purpose was a few weeks ago. For an arrow.

  3. Wingdings rules. That and Webdings are 2 of the most handy fonts available. If for nothing else but arrows and common sybmols.

  4. I will NEVER have a yardsale again. I made $20 the last time and that just isn’t worth it.

  5. Yardsales are almost never worth it. 95% of the time your better off giving the items to charity and taking the tax right off. It takes a tenth of the effort, you help others and the financial reward is greater.

  6. If anyone wants to attempt to sell a few boxes of (working) computer stuff on eBay, let me know – I’m willing to give you most of what they sell for.

    For some reason I have trouble just throwing it in the trash. Probably because I would wager a dollar that there is some nerd in a basement that could really use this stuff to build his time machine.

  7. You made me laugh really hard…with the…they’ll
    see your shit in the yard! Too funny! Thanks for the tips I’ll keep
    my signs simple.