Every year, especially for the North Liberty Citywide Garage Sales, we get special permission from the city to temporarily waive parts of the City of North Liberty’s sign ordinance relating to garage sales.

There are still parts of the ordinance that apply on citywide weekend, and it’s important to know the rules so your signs don’t get taken by the NL Sign Police (yes, that’s a thing, and it does happen). If they take them, you have to contact the city to get them back, then drive down to some city building to fetch them. Not cool, dude.

How to avoid the North Liberty Sign Police

Put up and take down your signs at the right time

These are city of North Liberty rules, so they’re not flexible. You can put up signs…

  • On your own property: 48 hours before your sale.
  • Off of your own property:  the morning of your sale.

You must remove them as soon as your sale closes on its final day. This is the least we can do for the city’s waiving of most of the sign ordinance, so please do your part.

Put them in the right places (and avoid the wrong places)

DO consider placing a sign at the nearest major intersection to your house, and at every turn from there to your house.

DO place a sign on your own property. I like to attach something eye-catching, like streamers.

DON’T tape or attach them to phone poles, sign poles, or any other kind of pole that is already present.

DON’T place them in the landscaped areas of the intersections. The landscaped area of the intersections is where the plants, trees, and flowers have been planted.

Buy or DIY? (Spoiler alert: you kinda don’t have a choice)

The City of North Liberty sign ordinance requires that signs located off the property where the sale is located cannot be handmade.

(I know this seems unnecessarily restrictive; I don’t understand it either, but rules are rules.)

So what are your options?

  1. Design your own signs and have them printed professionally. Someplace like Alphagraphics or Zephyr can print signs.
  2. Buy signs. Easier, faster, and arguably cheaper.

You can buy garage sale signs at TrueValue, WalMart, and similar local stores. If you plan ahead, there are some good options for signs on Amazon, which come in bundles:

Garage Sale Sign Kit with Pricing Labels and Change Apron

Garage Sale Sign Kit (10 signs) with Pricing Labels and Change Apron ($18.99, though prices may change)

22×14 Double-sided Garage Sale Signs (10 Pack)

Sunburst Systems 22″H x 14″W Double-sided Garage Sale Signs with Wire U-Stakes, 10 Pack ($23.92, prices may change)


You can create a handmade garage sale sign for your own property, so long as it follows the size restrictions below.

What size should your sign be?

No larger than 48″ x 48″. The off-property signs that you purchase will likely be significantly smaller than that.

What should be on your sign?

The handmade signs you make for your own property can be as fun as you want them to be. I’ve seen some pretty funny ones, like these.

The store-bought ones you’ll use to direct people to your sale will not have much room for creativity (sadly). In the small space you do have, include:

  • Address (just house number & street: “123 Main St.”)
  • Hours (“FRI 4-7 · SAT 8-12”)
  • Arrows indicating which way to go, if your sign doesn’t already include them

Use a black Sharpie and make your letters/numbers as thick as possible.

Other sign stuff

A few more points from the city ordinance:

  • No balloons, roof signs, swinging signs, banners or pennants are permitted.
  • A permit is not required for garage sale signs.


Courtesy of: Vegan Designer

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