Once a kindergarten teacher, now your go-to guide for all things DIY. My passion for teaching didn't stop when I left the classroom - I merely switched from ABCs to DIYs. I've learned a lot from transforming my own home from scratch, and now I'm here to pass on that knowledge to you.
This year was the second year I organized and hosted a community yard sale (first one in my new neighborhood). I started this annual event because I always found myself de-cluttering after the holidays and as a new year began. I knew I couldn’t be the only one. So, I took a chance and asked all of my neighbors to participate with a great response both years! I also host this event as a way to get the community out, meet new neighbors, and simply have a fun day. It also doesn’t hurt that whoever participates makes a little money and gets to clean out their home.
I had several of you ask over on Instagram how I organized the community yard sale (or garage sale depending on where you live) and had such a great turn out while spending very little money. Hundreds of people attended this event! I’d love to share the process with you. I’m giving you the materials you need and the step-by-step guide so that you can also host your own community yard sale. I take all of the guess work out, tell you when to do certain things, and give you the templates you need. So, are you ready to de-clutter and host your first annual community yard sale?
Take a look at the calendar and decide on a date to host your event. We do ours in February every year because the weather in Florida is in the 60’s or 70’s that time of year. So take into account the weather, don’t pick a date that falls on the same weekend as a holiday, and of course pick a Saturday. Then pick a time. I scheduled ours from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Last year I ended it at 1:00 p.m. and traffic slowed down at 11. This year it slowed down around 12:30/1:00 by pushing the time back. Also, call your city office to see if a permit is required and if one permit will cover all the homes involved. It’s usually only a few dollars to obtain one.
If you want to give all your neighbors the chance to participate, you’ll want to create a flyer to pass out to everyone. Keep in mind, the more neighbors that participate, the bigger the crowd that shows up to shop. Of course, if you don’t mind spending money, you can mail this flyer to your neighbors. As for me, we hand delivered each flyer to all 120 homes in my neighborhood one month before the community yard sale. You want to give families plenty of time to go through their homes! Simply stick it under their doormat where they’ll see it. You don’t want to ever open anyone’s mailbox.
Here’s the template for the flyer I used to pass out to my neighbors. It includes the date and time, how to sign up including the deadline, my contact information, and participation details. It’s important to have a deadline (usually 1 week before the community yard sale) so you’ll know how many yard sale signs to make and which homes to mark on the map.
The first couple of weeks you’re waiting to see which homes will sign up. As they call, text, or email their information, create a word document, Trello board, or write in a notebook their name, phone number, address, and main ticket items. Make sure to thank them for participating and amp up the excitement!
Also, during this time create a Facebook event page for your community yard sale and start spreading the word. Invite friends, ask others to share, and share it to your community pages. Make sure to write updates, big ticket items they can find, etc. throughout the week to keep the momentum going. Here’s a screenshot from mine:
1 week prior: Once you reach your deadline, you’ll want to start placing your ads (all free) for your community yard sale online ASAP. The reason you wait for the deadline, is that you want to have all of the big ticket items to place in the ad and the final list of the homes to add to the yard sale map to also use in the ads. The yard sale map is optional but worth it! I hand draw (nothing fancy) all the roads in my neighborhood and draw the homes participating with the house number. At the bottom of the image, I type in each physical address. This is a great image to add to all of the advertisements, it certainly catches the attention of people, and it’s easy to pull up on smart phones when they attend the community yard sale. We actually had a few families that printed it out to carry around during the yard sale.
Here are the websites, groups, and apps you’ll want to advertise on. It only takes a few minutes and you can also upload the yard sale map image. These are all free! Here’s an image of one of my advertisements to help you with the wording on your own. I always put my title of the ad in capital letters and included the number of homes.
Craigslist – When you post on Craigslist, it automatically adds your yard sale to GarageSalesTracker.com and Garage Sales Everywhere App
All of your Community Facebook groups for your area and surrounding areas (include your event page)
Facebook Yard Sale Groups for your area and surrounding areas (include your event page)
The Wednesday before the community yard sale, start posting every day on these: Craigslist, OfferUp, and LetGo
The Friday before the community yard sale post on all of your Facebook groups one more time and the Nextdoor App. It’s a great reminder!
This may seem like a lot, but with a quick copy and paste, you’ll have them done in no time and it doesn’t cost you anything! To make things a little easier, you’ll only be posting your ad on the yard sale websites once, so make them count! Make sure to include the image of your yard sale map or at least a list of all of the participating homes.
Create a small yard sale sign for each home that’s participating. I took neon yellow poster board, cut them into 4 pieces, and wrote Yard Sale with a sharpie. I then stapled the sign to a wooden stake. You can get 25 wooden stakes for $8 at Lowe’s. Pass them out to each participating family the day before. I attached the following note (printed on bright paper) to each sign giving the families instructions and that I’ll be picking them back up at the end of the event to use the stakes for next year. These were placed in each yard so those attending could easily spot the homes participating as they walked or drove around.
You’ll also want to create a large sign for the entrance of your neighborhood. We had extra plywood (thank you hurricane season) that I painted and wrote on. You can also use poster board for this. Don’t forget about placing small signs throughout your neighborhood to guide those coming to shop. Put them out the morning of the event or a day or two before if your city codes allow you to.
Don’t forget to place signs on the main roads that will send more people your way.
You did it!! You made it to the big event! I’d say sit back and relax, but the truth is people will start showing up at 7 am (even though you advertised 8 am) and won’t slow down until well after lunch. It’s such a fun day to spend outside, shop multiple yard sales (we had over 25 participate), meet new people, and see the community truly come together.
This may seem like a lot of work but it truly isn’t with how spread out it is. The hardest part is passing out all of the initial flyers but have your whole family join in! By having my mom help, it cut the time in half delivering them. Isn’t it better to do this for a whole community versus advertising a yard sale just for one home? Let me know if you decide to host your very first community yard sale, how it went, or if you have any additional questions. Can’t wait to hear how yours goes!!
Let’s keep in touch!