Monday, July 11, 2011

One person's trash and all that...

Every year my neighborhood schedules a development-wide garage sale and every year I look at the junk piled up in my basement and think, "...next year." Well, this year was THE YEAR, people. This year was the year I'd put our crap on display, slap some sort of price on it and cross my fingers no one I know shows up.

First things first, I consulted a close friend and garage sale connoisseur. I needed some guidance on pricing valuables such as craptastic picture frames and fake crystal candlesticks. She informed me that people who frequent garage sales are looking for the ultimate steal and don't want to spend much more than a couple bucks per item. So...a couple bucks it was. Although we did price a few big-ticket (black leather Ikea chair, whut, whut! Snazzy glass and metal computer desk, holla!) items a bit higher.

Some highlights...
  • At around 7 AM, I realized I had a very limited supply of cash on hand to make change. I had one five dollar bill, a ten, a one and a handful of change. Apparently garage sale hosts are supposed to think ahead and have at least twenty dollars in singles. Not off to a good start. After raiding Lydia's piggy bank, I added another five and a twenty to the mix. Not helpful and poor Lydia wondered why I was going through her money. I swear I wrote down the amount to pay her back.
  • First customer arrived at 7:30 AM when the sale started at 8. Me (already sweating trying to arrange craptastic picture frames): Um...is it already 8? Man (looking at watch): Just about. Me (as poor Lydia is still upstairs waiting to be let out of her cage room): You're going to have to come back at exactly 8, I'm not ready yet. (Checked the clock when I went inside and it was 7:30 on the dot. Almost 8 my ass.)
  • Same man showed up at 8 on the dot and bought every piece of jewelry and a brand new pair of women's boots. Score. $15 sale.
  • A woman handed me a five for a $3 basket and I was unable to make change. She frantically looked at my neighbor's house and exclaimed, "I don't have time for this! That desk I had my eye on over there is going to snatched up!" and she threw the five my way and rushed to purchase said desk. Jackpot.
  • We've been trying for 2 years to donate an old snow blower. Goodwill can't accept said snow blower because it has a full tank of gas. I figured I'd sell it for pennies and free up the garage space. Hell, I'd consider paying someone else just to transport it off our property. Lo and behold we had an interested buyer. After assuring him the snow blower was in working order, he proceeded to try and get the thing started for fifteen minutes. Awkward. Finally, the blower revved to life (blue smoke shooting out the side notwithstanding). In the end, we made the sale. Whether or not the blower made it home, is still in question. Man refused to let us tie the machine down and had it out the trunk heavy side up. Hmm...
  • Lydia became upset when one of her old toys was purchased. We made sure to donate the earnings to her piggy bank (along with the borrowed change).
All in all, it was an exhausting, but successful day. We ended up with half the junk we started with and earned a bit of spending money to boot. I'll take it!

16 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

Yard sales do take a lot of work but are worth it in the end. It amazes me what other people will buy when I'm just glad someone is willing to take it!

Matthew MacNish said...

The best part is getting rid of stuff you could never give to charity. Like snow-blowers that are burning oil.

Elaine said...

Garage sales are always awesome places to score things. And even better places to get rid of things.

Hardygirl said...

I had one garage sale, and it was so awful and the customers so creepy ( I mean, talk about a freakishly bizarre subculture--I watched two geriatric men get in a fist fight over an old rusty bike that we found in our storage shed), that my husband offered me $500 to NEVER have one again.

But some brilliant women in Oxford are organizing a massive designer consignment sale in a few weeks, and I am ruthlessly PURGING my closet!

Of course, whatever money I make will go toward the purchase of new clothes. I've got my eye on a great Elizabeth & James jacket ... And I really need some new boots ...

Jemi Fraser said...

Garage sales have a lot of 'those' kinds of moments. We haven't done one in a few years - trying to avoid it for a bit longer :)

storyqueen said...

Well done! I hate having garage sales...people look at my junk (which I would be happy to GIVE AWAY, people!) and give me that look of "Oh...this really IS crap.) and buy nothing.

No more for me.

Shelley

Steph said...

OMG I hate garage sales. Every few years my mother in law convinces me to have one with her and every time I regret it and say NEVER AGAIN. I don't understand the people that show up an hour before the scheduled time. I always over price stuff. My mother in law ends up digging through my junk and taking 3/4 of it home with her.

erica and christy said...

Around here, garage/rummage/thrift/yard sales are an artform that I have never mastered. And if your stuff isn't out by 6 am, you might not get anybody the rest of the day out of spite. (and yeah, I've totally raided the kids' piggy banks for change!)
erica

Christa said...

Every time I see garage sales, I think THANK GOD I don't have to put forth all that work. In theory, I love the idea of them but we did one once and I'll tell you, that was enough for me.

ali said...

I despise garage sales. On the rare occasion I've had them I've been happy with the sales, but . . . yeah. I think it's been almost ten years since I last had one!

So YAY for you for following through! And for all the WINS!!

Emily said...

I don't have garage sales, but I love going to them. There are some strange people at yardsales, both buying and selling.

Tere Kirkland said...

Round these parts you just put your junk on the curb and it'll most likely be gone by the time you look out your window. Saves on price stickers. ;)

Sounds like you had a pretty productive yard sale. It always feels good to purge!

Marsha Sigman said...

How I hate them. And I always end up getting into an argument with someone who wants to dicker for a lower price.

I swear it's never my fault.

Stephsco said...

This post had me laughing about the guy who bought all the jewelry and women's boots (why??) and the snowblower not starting...

I also detest garage sales. Saddest of all was quite a few years ago I was selling some computer components - a monitor, a printer etc. The monitor was like $3 and a kid translating for his mother asked where the rest of the computer was. I had to explain it was just a monitor. Has anyone ever seen a fully functioning computer at a garage sale for $3?
Maybe I live in the wrong neighborhood...

Krispy said...

We always think about having a yard sale, but it seems like way too much work. Yours seems like it was a success though!

Rebecca T. said...

Yard sales are scary. We had one last year that we did pretty well with. Except for the dude that only had large bills and in confusion of finding change and such NEVER GAVE US HIS MONEY AND TOOK THE CHANGE AND THE STUFF. So we basically paid him $10 to take our best toy items. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

Umm... yeah, so. oops. /rant

hehe I don't like having yard sales anymore :)