Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Garage Sale Thoughts

I had a garage sale this weekend, kinda spur of the moment. All year I've been going back and forth about having one, because last year's neighborhood garage sale was so exhausting, and because I really didn't have anything big to sell this year anyway. It is always hard to figure out how worth it having a garage sale really is, even if you make a lot of money out of the sale. When you factor in your time, stress level, the state of your house....well, sometimes it just isn't worth it. Know what I mean?

I have kept to my habit of sticking things in the sterilite boxes in the corner of our garage throughout the year though - just any time I felt the urge to clean out a closet or cabinet or something, the stuff we weren't using went straight to the boxes. And a couple weeks ago I realized I had about 12 of them full.

A friend of mine was planning to have a sale this weekend, and she invited me to join her at her house. I went back and forth in my mind about it, wondering if I'd make any money after the gas it would take to drive my junk across town. By the beginning of last week, I had just decided to set up tables in my own garage, put a few signs out, and see what happened. I was bummed to think about missing out on spending a day with Jessie (the fellowship is what makes having a garage sale fun!), but to keep the stress out of it, Dave and I both thought it would be best to keep it simple.

Monday night when he was at church, Dave picked up some tables for me, so on Tuesday afternoon, while the kids played in the driveway with their neighborhood friends, I got everything set up and priced. It was by far the easiest set up day I have ever had. Usually, before a garage sale, I am up pricing things into the morning hours the night before the sale. Note to self - remember this next year!

I opened my sale Friday morning at 8 am, and the traffic was amazing! There was never any break in traffic until 10 am, when a neighbor called to say that she saw the city taking down my signs. Oops. We thought they were in the right spot, but apparently not. Since I was home alone with the boys, I just closed the garage doors and called it quits for the day. I have to admit, I wasn't too disappointed - I had already made almost $300 in just 2 hours! Isn't that insane?

Dave wanted to open for a couple more hours on Saturday. The traffic was still really good - we live in such a great location for garage sales. But we had sold most of the good stuff on Friday, so we only made just over $100 more. Dave likes to start calling out "half-price everything" an hour before we pack up and head to the Goodwill. Just like in previous years, people started gathering up arm loads of clothes as soon as he said it. :)

After a couple hours we bagged the remainder of stuff in trash bags and took it to Goodwill. I kept thinking, That was so easy! Why am I not exhausted? And it really got me thinking....

Because I've had a garage sale every year of our marriage, I think. Usually with a big group of girl friends. And while we usually rake in the dough, it takes me awhile to recover from them. So much so that I almost didn't have a garage sale this year.

So here's what I think helped make this garage sale the easiest one I've ever had:
  • I collected items throughout the year to sell - no major house overhaul to get ready.
  • I set up for the sale during the day instead of in the evening.
  • I didn't wait to join my neighbors for our neighborhood garage sale in June. I have done it with them the last 2 years, and it was obvious that people felt like they needed to move through quickly and then head to the next sale. Since my sale was the only one on the block this time, people stayed for quite awhile, browsing through everything.
  • I sold all the extra household/toiletry items from my CVS stockpile. This probably accounted for almost half my earnings, to be honest. People went nuts for $1 tubes of toothpaste and shampoo bottles. I sold a ton of medicine too - it cracked me up when people would buy like 6 things of Beano. They were stocking up! :)
  • I had the sale by myself (sadly) and was only open for a short amount of time each day. Since the boys didn't have other kids to play with, they sat beside me and helped me count change. It ended up being pretty fun, for them and me!
Okay, so there are my thoughts. What are yours? Are you a garage sale person? I'm sure I will go back and forth next year too - is it worth it or should I just donate my items? Well, this year it was definitely worth it to me!


Scott and Lynn said...

Jessie came and borrowed tables since you had snagged the chapel ones :) Glad you had a good turn-out!

dave & rachel said...

Haha! yes, that was a funny misunderstanding. For all my other sales, I have always gotten all the big tables from the chapel. But this year, since I knew Jessie was having a sale too, I told Dave just to pick up the small ones. I didn't realize those were the very ones she wanted! Oops! My good intentions didn't work very well.

Thankfully she was sweet about it, and you came to the rescue. :)

Jessie said...

I agree that fellowship is one of the best parts about having a garage sale. The traffic was not as good this year but we still made some money. I think next year I'll come over to your house ;)

A & J said...

Thank you so much! I'm glad it was such a success!

I've been going back and forth about having one again this year. Last year I did great, but it was SO stressful and tiring - like you said. I had probably 8 other contributers to the sale...

A friend of mine just had one, but I nixed joining her because I didn't want to haul my stuff 45 min. away.

If I do one, (and you've inspired me!) I'm going to do it just like you said. We live in a great location, too.

Did you put an add in the paper or on Craigslist?

Ok, now it's just a matter of what weekend....the next 4 are booked.

Thanks Rachel!

dave & rachel said...

I put an ad on Craig's List, but not in the paper. I just made sure I had good signs out.

I'm glad you are inspired. I almost backed out multiple times that week, sure it was going to be too much work. I know the feeling all too well. Hope yours goes as well as mine did!

Jessie, I missed you this year! It was fun to come over and hang out (after my 2 hour sale on Friday) - so at least there was that. Maybe it will work out next year to do one together again. Because I is more FUN to do one together, even if it is a little more work, ie. hauling stuff across town. :)

Kim & Dave said...

I like haveing garage sales...have had one w/ a matter of fact! :-)

But, I agree, they usually are a ton of work...

Some of your tips.....almost convince me...almost!!!

(By the way...the best tip, I think, is the Rubbermaids in the garage!!!!)

Kelly said...

All you garage salers are inspiring! But, I must say, I'm foregoing the garage sale thing this year! The 40 bucks I made last year just wasn't worth it! :-)

The Almighty Betherson "Ninja" said...

so, no thoughts on garage sales, but i did want to tell you i tagged you in my blog. your turn! :)

bandanachick said...

Way to go!

You always seems to do so well in the garage sales. Me, not so much. If I made the kind of money you do at them, I would keep having them. Your "junk" must be better than mine. :)

The Snell Family said...

Didn't know if you were aware of it or not, but the Salvation Army in our area will come pick up your stuff for free after a sale (even on Sat.). Just a little gas saver...

MagenRanae said...

I really like the tote idea too!! I'm going to start that today!