How to Prevent Early Birds - Four Easy Methods
By John Romaine
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
Viewed : 21311 time(s)

It usually goes without saying. No matter what you do to prevent people from banging on your door at 5am when you have clearly stated an 8am start, they persist on having absolutely no regard for you, your neighbours or the specified start time displayed within your garage sale ad.

I’m talking about the dreaded early bird.

For anyone that’s held a garage sale, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. You know what time is suitable for you, you state it within your ad, and yet you wake to find people parked across your lawn, lined up on your driveway, hanging off the front gate, some at your door, and others trying to roll the garage door up 3 hours before you’re even ready or had a chance to have a peice of toast and a cuppa.

Whilst the small minority of those who welcome the early bird and see them as a means to make some quick sales and a few dollars straight up, there’s the others who just see them as outright rude, obnoxious, and impatient annoyances. I must admit, I shudder at the thought of being woken up by pesky early birds.

So what can you do to prevent early birds?

Well below are a few suggestions that may help. Whilst these suggestions are totally untested, they may just do the trick and get rid of these annoying people. Worst case scenario they dont, in which case you can always resort to throwing eggs.

The False Start Method

First is the false start method. It works by throwing out your start time marginally. Say you intend on starting at 8am. No doubt you’ll have people ringing on your door bell frantically at 6am whilst you’re still tucked in under the covers. Not good. Okay, so heres a quick thought. Instead of listing your start time as 8am list your start time as 10am. This way you’re more likely to have the early birds show up at 8am – your actual start time! Of course emphasise no early birds in your ad as well. Hey I know, its a long shot, but they may just read it!

The Double Banger Method

Another strategy that works well as a deterrent is the double banger method. Okay I made it up, but it does sound interesting doesn’t it? Well it is! What is it? It simply means that for anyone who may arrive before your start time, that they wont be turned away, but they will be charged double for prices listed on all items. This means that even if they do show up that you will be disturbed earlier than anticipated but you will make a few extra bucks. So in summary, that old toaster you originally had priced at $7 - is now priced at $14 for anyone who shows up before your start time. Cool huh?

The Fortress

My personal favourite and probably one of the most popular. The fortress method is one that can work well, depending upon the actual layout of your home. For this method to be implemented you basically need to be able to restrict access to the property entirely. In a nutshell, the fortress method basically means doing the following to prevent any potential early birds. It’s a little dramatic but can work in your favour – especially if you want to sleep in. To perform the fortress method you need to ,


  1. Draw all curtains and blinds

  2. Lock every possible door and window

  3. Lock and bolt every side gate, roller door and front gate

  4. Turn off any lighting or electrical appliances that may indicate active tenancy. Eg stereos, televisions, and interior lighting

  5. Put a big sign out the front of the property that reads “No Early Birds – Rack Off!”

  6. Release a number of flesh hungry dobermans or rotweilers within the front entrance or yard.

The Secret Squirrel

The secret squirrel is a little unorthodox, however I am told that it has great potential to work. I feel that this one may only be suited for shorter streets within the suburbs. I’m not quite certain that it could work on longer roads, but who knows. If you're desperate for a good sleep in, then its worth a shot, right? The trick with the secret squirrel is to basically advertise your garage sale, showing the start time and suburb, but not the actual number of the residence. This then means that you can open your garage and place your signage on the front footpath exactly when you are ready to start. The early birds can't annoy you if they don't know which house you are right? They can drive up and down the street all day long for all you care. But in the end, you get a peice of mind, and eventually they get their bargains - but when you are ready! 

I know this topic makes for an interesting debate, and I'm sure that there are plenty of other ways to prevent early birds, but these are just a few that I am aware of that may just work. Give them a try. As I said, if they dont, well you can always throw eggs.


No, Im kidding....maybe.