How to Write a Garage Sale Ad for the Newspaper

How to Write a Garage Sale Ad for the Newspaper
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Even though much business is conducted online these days through websites, texting, email and blogs, the newspaper is still relied on as a resource listing garage sale advertisements for the upcoming weekend. When you’re preparing to unload a bunch of stuff from your house, take a few moments to craft a succinct and tailored garage sale ad. Your ad will serve as a way to market your sale to potential “yard sailors,” people who plan their mornings by plotting out their path from garage sale to garage sale.

Inquire about your word allotment. Most newspapers have a word count for garage sale ads (such as 100) included in the base price of the ad; if you go over, you might have to pay more.

Create a headline about your most interesting piece for sale or most important information. For example, title your ad “Antique 1800s Armoire,” “Fifty Bags of New Children’s Clothes,” “Old PEZ Dispenser Collection for Sale” or “Local School Uniforms; Nothing Over $5.”

Write a list of all the items you plan to sell, then cross off any unnecessary words, such as adjectives; instead of “shiny blue tricycle,” save yourself two words and just include “tricycle.” Cross off any words that repeat or items you have only a few of, to avoid buyer disappointment.

Write the sale specifics, such as your address, the date and the time of the sale. Add a small note about your location, such as “End of cul-de-sac” or “Next to the gas station,” if your address is hard to find or doesn’t come up in Internet map searches. Don’t bother using words to say “No early birds;” people may begin circling your area long before you start setting up and there’s nothing you can do about it. Save the room to describe more items for sale.

Add a note about what kind of payment you’ll take. Most garage sales deal only with cash; use a few of your allotted words to write “No checks or credit cards,” or just “Cash Only.”


  • Protect your belongings and family by not putting your exact address in the advertisement. This prevents people from cruising by your home prior to the sale and looking in the windows, or arriving too early while you’re still setting up. When you place the ad, use a general address such as your apartment complex street address, but not the apartment number itself. On the day of the sale, place lots of signage around the area pointing buyers to your sale.