||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
A garage sale' (also known as an attic sale, garbage sale, junk sale, lawn sale, moving sale, patio sale, rummage sale, tag sale, thrift sale, or yard sale basement sale) is an informal, irregularly scheduled event for the sale of used goods by private individuals, in which sellers are not required to obtain business licenses or collect sales tax (though, in some jurisdictions, a permit may be required).
Typically the goods in a garage sale are unwanted items from the household with the home owners conducting the sale. The goods are sometimes new, like-new, or just usable. Some of these items are offered for sale because the owner does not want or need the item to minimize their possessions or to raise funds. Popular motivations for a garage sale are "spring cleaning", moving, or earn extra money. The seller displays their wares to the passers-by or those responding to signs, flyers, Craigslist postings, Facebook updates, Twitter posts or newspaper ads. Sometimes local television stations will broadcast a sale on the local public channel. The sales venue is typically a garage, driveway, carport, front yard occasionally, the interior of a house. Some vendors, known as 'squatters', will set up in a highly trafficked area, and not on their own property.
Staples of garage sales include old clothing, books, toys, household knickknacks, lawn and garden tools, sports equipment, and board games. Larger items like furniture and occasionally home appliances are also sold. Garage sales occur most frequently in suburban areas on good-weather weekends, and usually have designated hours for the sale. Buyers who arrive before the hours of the sale to review the items are known as "early birds" and are often professional restorers or resellers. Such sales also attract people who are searching for bargains or for rare and unusual items. Bargaining, also known as haggling, on prices is routine, and items may or may not have price labels affixed. Some people buy goods from these sales to restore them for resale.
Some jurisdictions require that the homeowners obtain a permit (which may require a fee), stating the date(s) on which the sale will take place (with allowances in the event of bad weather). The jurisdiction may also place restrictions on the sale, such as the number of sales in a year a person can have (so as to avoid a person running a business without licenses and without collecting sales taxes), where signs may be placed in and around the neighborhood, and even where on the owner's premises a sale may take place.
Advertising for a garage sale
Advertising for the event of a garage sale is typically done by posting a seller-created sign, usually made from cardboard, in a public location. Signs are posted with the intent that people passing by will take note of the event, time, and location of the garage sale. In many cases, signs may feature an arrow or some other means of expressing the direction of the event.
Special community sales
In some areas, garage sales have taken on a special meaning to a community and have become events of special local significance: large areas of a community then hold a communal garage sale involving dozens or hundreds of families at the same time.
The Highway 127 Corridor Sale, promoted as "The World's Longest Yard Sale," encourages private individuals and professional vendors to conduct simultaneous yard sales along a 630-mile (1,010 km) corridor spanning five U.S. states.
Running east to west, the Coast-to-Coast yard sale runs along US 50 in May of each year. Though not as popular as "The World's Longest Yard Sale", the US 50 Coast-to-Coast sale is in its eleventh year.
During the second Saturday in August, a 50 mi stretch of U.S. Route 11 becomes a continuous yard sale that at Stephens City, Virginia's Newtown Commons south to New Market, Virginia. The event, in its ninth year, is sponsored by the Shenandoah County Chamber Advisory Group, five chambers of commerce, and two town governments. In years past, the Yard Crawl has attracted people from as far away as Canada.
In Bondi Beach, Australia the first Garage Sale Trail took place as part of the Sizzle Bondi Community Festival on May 9, 2010. 126 garage sales occurred simultaneously. The Garage Sale Trail was designed to deal with the community's concern over illegal dumping  Since the first event, the Garage Sale Trail has won a Green Globes award for Media Excellence, and the Wentworth Courier's Business Achiever award. In July 2010, organisers of the Garage Sale Trail announced their intention to take the Garage Sale Trail national and involve thirty local councils across Australia's states and territories potentially making it the largest garage sale in the world.
The now semi-annual City Wide Garage Sale  was first held in October, 1990 in El Cerrito, California. Local resident and reuse advocate, Marianne Hegeman proposed the city wide garage sale to facilitate garage inspections in the wake of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. City Wide Garage Sales have been replicated in other cities including Albany, California , Mountain View, California, and Eagle Mountain, Utah.
Informal sales also occur across the country. One such example is in the Bismarck-Mandan area. Coinciding with the United Tribes International Pow-wow, it is tradition for the weekend following Labor Day to be the area's biggest garage sale weekend due to the influx of visitors in the area. On any given year, total garage sales number at least 500, while Fargo, North Dakota surpasses Bismarck as the state's largest city. The only state event that is bigger, is the North Dakota State Fair held in Minot, North Dakota during the last week of July.
The cultural phenomenon of garage and yard sales in the United States has been examined by several artists. The Thunderground Film production Zen and the Art of Yardsailing is a documentary film produced in 2004 that covered the aspects of find bargains as well as the cutthroat practices of professional resellers and the previously noted "early birds." New Jersey artist Robert A. Emmons, Jr.'s short documentary film Yard Sale, released in 2006, examines the American practice of buying and selling goods in one’s front yard and the sociological impact of such activities. Tom Zarrilli, an artist, photographer and writer has kept a long running online journal entitled Yard Sale Addict that explores the anthropological aspects of the yard sales he visits near his home in Atlanta, Georgia.
Zarrilli’s interactive installation "A year in the yards of clutter and the driveways of divestment" was presented at The Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center in 2006. The conceptual work was presented as a staged yard sale with hundreds of the artist's photographs embedded in the artifacts. The work was turned into an actual yard sale and sold off item by item at the end of its gallery run.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Garage sales.|
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- "127sale". 127sale. 2003-10-14. Retrieved 2012-06-09.
- "A Coast to Coast Yard Sale". Route50.com. Retrieved 2012-06-09.
- Knight, Preston (2010-08-09). "Organizers ready for sixth annual Route 11 crawl". Northern Virginia Daily. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
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- "City of Mountain View - City-Wide Garage & Yard Sale". City of Mountain View, CA government. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
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- A pop culture enthusiast lends keen eye to campus by Douglas Frank, Rutgers Focus, Rutgers University, October 25, 2006
- Review of "Yardsale" by Matthew Sorrento, August 22, 2006
- "Tom Zarrilli's website". Tomzarts.com. Retrieved 2012-06-09.
- "Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center". Thecontemporary.org. Retrieved 2012-06-09.