BLOG: Write the perfect yard sale ad

Teresa L Hoover
York Dispatch

No matter where you place your yard sale ad — either in the newspaper or on the internet — there are certain things you need to include in it to maximize the number of people who will stop by.

Here are some key points:

Take some time and write a good advertisement to get the most out of your yard sale.

  • THE NO-DUH STUFF: Of course, you need to include the the times you are open and your address.
  • ABOUT YOUR ADDRESS: Give a specific address, town and ZIP code. A lot of shoppers now use GPS devices to guide them to yard sales. Including these helps them find you.
  • HOW BIG? If you are advertising a community or multi-family yard sale, mention that. Shoppers are more willing to drive out to your place if they’re guaranteed a big inventory to look over.
  • RAIN OR SHINE/RAIN DATE: If your sale can still be held if it’s raining, mention that — because some shoppers are willing to go out in a torrential downpour to get your junk. If you are willing to set a rain date, mention that too. Both will guarantee visitors at one point or another.
  • APPEAL TO BOTH GENDERS: Assuming your sale has something from every member of your family, mention items that will draw in men and women. A sale listing all power tools isn’t going to attract too many ladies. A sale espousing baby clothes and designer handbags won’t entice a guy to get out of the car.
  • GET SPECIFIC: Use the ad to tell people exactly what you’re selling. For example: Baby clothes should be “baby girl clothes.” Tools should be “power tools” and “antique farm tools.”  Speaking of which,  “antiques” should be “1960s table settings.” “Furniture” should be “oak furniture.”
  • APPEAL TO COLLECTORS: If you have a grouping of specific items that might intrigue collectors, mention it by name. Don’t just say “collectibles,” say Hummel figurines, Coca-Cola items or Marx trains.
  • MENTION YOUR BEST STUFF: If you have a few high-ticket items, you want to advertise them specifically. Selling that $75 cedar chest can make or break your yard sale. Why not let the world know you have it.
  • BRAND NAMES: Buyers will focus in on brand names. The more you list, the more visitors you can expect.
  • AGE: Some people want like-new items. Others are actually interested in buying a 1975 Kenmore refrigerator. Mention either to draw in customers.
  • SIZES: Mentioning sizes can limit the visitors to your yard sale, but at the same time those that do come specifically for a listed size are more likely to buy. You should go for the “buying” kind of customer every time.
  • EXPLAIN YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES: If you’re cleaning out your late grandma’s house, sending the kids off to college or “having your first sale in 25 years,” mention that because you might draw out additional buyers with a few well-chosen words. (As  buyers, we love going to ‘grandma’s house sales’ because of the sheer volume of stuff for sale.)


We are always amused by ads when they are horribly vague. Here are some terms to avoid:

  • “Something for everyone!” — Really? Somehow we doubt it.
  • “Too much to list” — Well, how about you list some of it rather than none of it?
  • “Household Items” — Isn’t everything in your house a household item?
  • “Collectibles” — Collectors don’t just buy collectibles. They buy specific items for their specific collections. You need to tell us what you have.
  • ” … and much more!” — You could have listed three more items rather than say that. We know you have more than you can advertise. Just list as much as you can.