Garage Sale Chit Chat…

Do you want to sell your stuff and get rich? It has often been said that, “Sacrificing your treasured goods, or selling your junk, could make you rich and clutter-free!” Well, let me share a few things my family and I experienced:

A garage sale can make you rich, or wear you out.

It takes more work than putting up signs leading to our driveway. We were very fortunate to have an energetic daughter help us. My husband and I were like the battery bunny that wore down, but our daughter just kept on working.

Thirty years ago, my husband and I had to buy an ad in the newspaper and put signs up in the neighborhood to announce our upcoming garage sale. Today, we have the opportunity to advertise a garage sale for free on Craig’s List, or spend about $20.00 to advertise it in the PennySaver. Our choice was to use Craig’s List, and advertised online with The Orange County Register for $1.99. The results were good and we saved money.

Getting up at 4:00 a.m. to start a garage sale at 7:00 a.m. causes anxiety, stress, muttering, and chases away family and friends who have offered to help.

Seeing potential buyers driving down the path toward you is a delight.

Seeing those potential buyers drive-by without stopping is a bummer.

We practiced tolerance. We did not curse, or put a hex on someone for a ridiculous offer.

When hardly anyone comes to your garage sale party, it is not the end of the world to pack-up early. Go to the beach and join the crowd of missing potential buyers. Have fun! Give them a splash for not coming to your party.

It helps to remember, “What you don’t need might be a blessing for someone else.”

Know your competition: Well-kept copies of the classics are in competition with the Friends of The Library Bookstore. Like us, they sell great used books for $1.00.

Let go of things, but remember that it is okay to take it back. Many women looked, but did not buy my scrap fabrics for quilting. Leisure quilting seems to be a hobby of the past. It might also be that a finished item can sell for less on eBay, Amazon, or Etsy. I decided to keep the fabrics for myself, and designed a lap quilt for someone I loved. Now that selection of fabrics has served my imagination and has become a treasure. There is joy to changing your mind.

Popular items requested were household goods, watches, guns, and fine jewelry. The word jewelry brings a recent incident to mind… Watch out for the biters. A woman picked up a pearl bracelet, put about half of it into her mouth and bit into it. Then she discovered it would not fit her wrist and didn’t buy it. Germs!

Some people come to our sales just to browse – visiting a garage sale has become a national pastime.

We kept in check our hopes of making a chunk of cash after we realized that some of the garage sale success stories we heard were legendary fables.

It is a hard to face the fact that having expensive old stuff to sell, was not a guarantee of a great cash return, even at reduced prices.

Technology has changed the needs of our lives and people do not want, or need, what used to be of great monetary value. If something didn’t sell for a while, we gave it away and felt great – not only to be rid of the item but because someone else wanted it.

You might think the price you set for an item is terrific. Be prepared for a shock.

Twenty-five years ago a van full of potential buyers came before the opening time advertised. We watched as the number of passengers disembarking seemed to never end. Like bugs, they moved around our things and with quick roving eyes, and with equally fast fingers, chose the most valuable items. Ritualistically we dickered about the prices. This scene did not recreate itself this year – not in this economy.

Brace yourselves, beyond a good bargain everyone wants something for practically nothing. You’ll cringe, but you’ll toughen up to face what feels like an insult.

Our biggest gains came from our first garage sale this year. However, as the newer unique items dwindled, so did the earnings.

At the end yesterday’s garage sale, our muscles ached from standing around for hours. The final chore of the long day was to remove our signs from the major cross streets and along the tree-lined paths of our neighborhood. A cool breeze refreshed us as we considered our progress. Over the last six weeks, we sold more than half the stuff that packed our garage to full capacity. I smiled at the thought, but felt too tired to talk. Then with great enthusiasm, my husband said, “What do you want to sell at our next garage sale?”

Oh dear, this has been an addicting pastime. I would rather find my beach chair.

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