- Start small. The first time you have a neighborhood garage sale it doesn’t have to be big. Bonus-it’s more manageable to be small the first year while you figure out how to make it work. If you do it right the first time other neighbors will notice and want to get on board the next year.
- Recognize the time commitment and follow through it will take to do well. Be honest with yourself. Do you have the time to be the one in charge? Are you an organized person? If not, it’s okay to team up with a neighbor who has that skill set or has more time. Together you could make a great team.
- Connect with neighbors to gauge interest
- Do you have a neighborhood watch group, email listserv, or Facebook group? If so, put the idea out there and invite people to email you if they are interested
- Create half-sheets introducing the idea and contact information.
- Encourage neighbors to spread the word
- Whenever someone contacts you with interest be sure to inform them you’ll be sending out an email with a link to vote on the date. You don’t want people to contact you and then wait weeks to hear back. (Every time I received an email I responded right away letting them know they’d receive another email from me in a week with the com survey to vote for a weekend to have the garage sale)
- Send the follow-up email encouraging those who have expressed interest to vote on which weekends to have the sale.
- Give people about a week to respond (remember not everyone checks their email every day or is as excited about this new venture as you are)
- Once you feel like you have the majority of votes in, majority rules and pick the garage sale weekend.
- Notify everyone who has expressed interest the date of the sale. In this email solicit ideas for marketing, ask participants for their address, what days/times of the weekend they will have their sale open and a quick blurb about what types of items they are selling that they would like to include. You should ask participants if they would be willing to submit money for marketing, maps, etc.
- Decide on the marketing plan. Identify all of the free places to advertise: craigslist, Varagesale, Facebook garage sale groups, etc. Will you buy signs? How many? Will you put an ad in the paper? Which papers? How much do they cost? Will you make maps of the sales? (This should be a definite if all the garage sales are not on the same street) How many copies? How you decide to market will determine how much you may need from each participant in order to advertise. The first year I think asking for $3-$5 is not a big deal. If people were doing the garage sale on their own they would spend more than that on one sign.
- Set a deadline for getting this information back to you.
- Make signs and enlist the help of neighbors in strategically placing the signs to draw traffic to the sales
- Make maps of the sales. On the front side create a map of your neighborhood and number the sales. On the back side next to the coordinating number list what times each sale is open and what types of things they have for sale.
- Have at least 2 houses with maps available and advertise those houses as such in the online marketing plan (as the organizer be sure one of those houses is your own—it will also help you draw more traffic to your sale)
- After the sale solicit feedback from participants and gauge interest in doing a garage sale the following year. Be sure to thank the participants for taking part in the garage sale. Remember They helped you to have a successful garage sale too.
If you would like more tips on how to make your garage sale successful and appealing to garage sale goers, be sure to read the following:
10 Tips for a money-making garage sale.
Should you hold a garage sale or not?
Organize a Neighborhood Garage Sale Part I
Organized a Neighborhood Garage Sale Part II
You need at least 1 month to plan the initial neighborhood garage sale. It took us 7 weeks from the time we talked to the neighbors about initial interest until the actual sale weekend. It could have been done quicker, but remember everyone is going to want to have time to declutter their houses in time for the sale. Plus you don’t want to be stressed out as the one organizing it.