Six Things I Didn’t Know About Garage Sales

There was stuff I was having troubles getting rid of.  So I made the commitment to have a garage sale because I knew I needed motivation to let go of what I was perceiving as the ‘gooder crap I don’t want but it’s still kinda useful or worth something’. This is a special category of stuff that was living in my basement. Stuff I knew someone else would get use of, even pay money for if I could introduce the right person to the right stuff…..garage sales are like speed dating other people’s junk.

[Tweet “garage sales are like speed dating other people’s junk”]

This was also a chance to also go through all the storage boxes tucked into nooks and closets in our basement. We went through some of these old boxes twice just to be strict with what we were letting stay in our house.

I let things pass the first round of purging if I thought it had some monetary worth, now my purging rule was ‘would I replace it if something happened to it?’.

[Tweet “Purging rule: Would I replace it if something happened to it”]

It took a few nights to purge and organize.

And another night to sort and price things.

Then we laid it all out in piles on our lawn.

And then….

Like seven people came to the garage sale.

This gave me lots of time to over-analyze things and feel kinda icky at seeing our possessions spread eagle on our lawn with my prices affixed to them.

are garage sales worth it

Six Things I Didn’t Know About Garage Sales

1. success requires advertising well

I relied on a few flyers and facebook pictures the morning of the garage sale. But who is at the post office writing down your yard sale info and putting a reminder in their iPhone? Also, who is sitting at home on Facebook looking at pics of your stuff and deciding to drop their brunch plans to come take a closer look? The few and far between! The people who are yard sale ready are up driving around town at 7am with their fanny packs of change. These are your customers of choice! If you live off the main roads, you gotta have signs and arrows directing them to your place.  People are always curious about a potential deal. Don’t show them pictures, just leave bread crumbs. The more signs the better.

2. people would rather shop online

Every town has an online sales page on Facebook and every town has a large population of people who garage sale movieswould rather shop without pants on (myself included). After my yard sale I listed a handful of things online and made triple my staggering garage sale winnings. BUT there is a downside to online sales. There are always the people just in it for the post-brunch shopping rush. They are eager to click’ buy’ but never show up for the goods.

3. rock bottom prices

There were debates amongst the marriage unit about overpriced and underpriced items. Underpricing is always the way to go with a garage sale (except on engraved brass gavels, right?). After all, the customer is the one doing the work to find you, rummage across your lawn and cover all the shipping and handling. We can act like we are doing them a favour that we are gonna barter our old travel hairdryer to half price, but we all know they are lightening the load we have to tote to goodwill tomorrow.

4. your time is worthless

Maybe making two bucks an hour seems like a good financial investment, but garage sales are overly space and labour intensive. If you can’t draw enough people in or offer the big-ticket items you are pretty much volunteering to hang out with your unwanted stuff for a prolonged period of time. And weird stuff happens in this time…..or so I’m told.

5. don’t let it back in to your house

So my husband might have snuck a few more DVDs out of the collection that he finally agreed we could part with, I can’t blame him. I repurposed a hanging make-up case for a camping cutlery holder (I pretty much have LIFE HACKED). The kids also smuggled a bag of kinder toys. We are all weakened by our compulsion with these items we hold on to. However, this was all that made it across the  ‘sacred threshold’ of what comes into our house. Half of purging is getting things out, the other half is not letting more things in.

6. it’s never just a garage sale

Overheard: “Relax Shawna, it’s just a garage sale.”……. “No, it’s never JUST a garage sale.”

It was therapy. We went through our basement, bin by bin.

All of the things….

.garage sale decor
Things I bought in haste to become an adult. I didn’t know my style, my taste. I had no concept of taking my time and investing in quality items that I loved. Instead I bought the first option I could find and held onto it in an effort to make myself love it.

garage sale old toys
Things I held on to because it had some perceived value to me. My ‘permission to hoard’ has been based on the theory that ‘this might be worth something one day’. I had ridiculous collections I coveted as a child because I thought they would be worth money one day (problems when you are a daughter of a collector)
All of these things! And what did I do with them? I have toted these things around the countryside. I’ve packed and repacked from house to house to house. I gave it storage space over the years. Bought it fancy rubbermaids, kept it warm and dry, labelled it with my fanciest sharpie. Let it just sit there.

Now I see.  It is not worth enough money to make it worth the care and space I’ve given it.

It’s excess that I need to get rid of. It is my irresponsibility in buying things I didn’t love or need.

It’s my grip to have some fall back of security, even if it’s false security.

So, no, it wasn’t just a garage sale. It was a very eye-opening process that I will never partake in ever again…..unless someone has a mini donut machine at their garage sale, I will be right over!


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