The quiet sounds of a summer day are a pleasant background atmosphere to a garage sale, but sometimes, the silence can be overwhelming. If you have some sort of boom box or iPod and speakers handy, you might want to break out the music to give your clientele a little something to shop to.
There are definitely some types of music you should never put on at a garage sale. You have to consider that your shoppers are from all age brackets and mindsets, so choose music that is not going to offend anyone or make parents uncomfortable.
Unless you are absolutely certain that the lyrics are clean both in language and content, rap and R&B should be avoided completely. Also, do not play heavy metal and punk rock; although you may enjoy these styles of music, people often take offense at the songs' sound and content and may even leave your garage sale entirely.
There are certainly a lot of acceptable types of music for the playing! Oldies are a great choice, so long as you remove any that parents would not want their little ones listening to. The Beatles are beloved by most, and few people would walk up to you and ask you to turn them off. The Beach Boys make for great chill summer listening, and Simon and Garfunkle provide entertaining melodies and pleasant background music. Additional group ideas include Peter, Paul, and Mary; Animals; the Everly Brothers; and Jimmy Buffet.
Some pop songs are also appropriate for garage sale-playing. Owl City is a recent newcomer to the music scene, with a very laid-back style and clean lyrics. Josh Groban's sweet voice can serenade your shoppers safely; Enya's soft music will take a back seat to your bartering and change-making, and won't overpower your conversations; and Neil Diamond or Bruce Springsteen provide an all-American background to your yard sale.
In some areas of the U.S., country music is a very popular style and can be heard everywhere from grocery stores to diners. Some country songs have debatably clean lyrics, but often the references to undesirable behaviors are hidden by euphemisms and will pass right over the heads of any children present. If you enjoy country music and think your clientele will too, tune in to a family-friendly country station on the radio.
Instrumental music makes wonderful background noise and comes in so many different styles that you can find something to suit your taste and the preferences of your shoppers. Choose from classical, New Age, acoustic covers, or even ambient rock. Try to choose songs that have a consistent volume level so you aren't constantly fiddling with the controls or missing someone's hollered offer because the music is too loud.
What's the best song you've ever heard playing at a garage sale? Let us know in the comments, or come visit GarageSaleCow.com for some great free resources from the world's biggest online garage sale community!