This last weekend we held our very first garage sale. During the process of packing we've discovered that we have an embarrassing amount of stuff that really doesn't enrich our lives- in fact, the "stuff" only clogs our visual and physical space. We piled up our stuff, along side the stuff left at our new house by Nick's grandparents...and the resulting mountain was overwhelming. We cleaned everything, stuck cute little colour coded price stickers everywhere, made up some flyers, bought some (shockingly overpriced) "garage sale" signs and got ready to make millions. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of organizing and executing a yard sale before, let me provide you with a disclaimer that I've compiled in the wake of this past weekend to discourage you from doing so.
-Do not permit your husband to go out drinking with his best friend the night before, as he will not show up on time (or at all) the next morning to help set up- thus causing the first fight of a very long weekend.
-Setting up a large yard sale takes forever. I was pretty organized- everything priced, like items sorted into separate boxes and a basic concept of where I wanted everything placed- and it still took 3 people well over two hours to place everything on the tables.
-Early birds show up fucking early- like 6:30am. And they are sickeningly cheerful. Beware.
-People will joyfully dicker over, what I thought, was the lowest price possible for something tiny. I thought that when I put a $0.10 price tag on something- people would pay $0.10 for said item. I was fully prepared to dicker over the $100 fireplace...just not for the five page long children's book I wanted a dime for.
-Think long and hard about the location of your "home base." I situated myself in the front yard, closest to the road to optimize visibility for traffic- passing cars would have no problem seeing our plethora of treasures and would not be able to resist stopping and giving me all their money. However, I failed to scout of potential shady spots too. At 10:00 Nick came to visit me and said, "You haven't put on your sunscreen yet have you?" I slathered it on...but too late. At noon I went inside for some water and Marc, Nick's buddy, said: "Whoa! You are sooo red! Tout rouge bahahaha!"
-Never doubt that someone will want to buy the crappiest thing that you own. Slap a price tag on it even if you really just want to chuck it.
-Children makes their grandparents buy tons of your junk. Be super nice to them and slip an extra stuffed animal in their bag to sweeten the deal.
-Have your children (if you have any) babysat. At a different location. They are suddenly in love with anything and everything that you are trying to sell and will try to sabotage every sale with their crocodile tears and sad puppy dog eyes.
-Don't be an idiot and put "rain or shine" on your ad/flyer. No ones stops in the rain. You will be soggy and make no money.
-Be innovative; at the end of the day- start bundling. Examples include: everything on this table for $5. Buy a coffee mug, get a waffle iron free! Buy a TV, get two other TVs that don't really work for parts, all wedding decorations 97% off...
-At the end of the yard sale, do not return any of the unsold stuff to your home. Take a trip to the Salvation Army, to Habitat for Humanity, and The Dump and get rid of it. You were selling it because you didn't want it anymore. Apparently no one else wanted it either.
-Repeat this mantra over and over until it sinks into your thick head:
I will never do another yard sale. Ever.
I will be more respectful at other people's yard sale.
I will never leave a yard sale without buying something.
I will dicker over a $0.10 item for no other reason than for fun.
In closing, the yard sale was fine; a learning experience. It was gorgeous out- I got to spend time outside and I got a burn/tan for my efforts. I made $350 profit-which was nice. Our yard sale was a fantastic opportunity that motivated me to purge through our stuff and free up valuable space. No need to pack and move things that we don't really want or need. It was also a great way to get rid of stuff without simply tossing it into a landfill. It was not, however, an awesome way to make hoards of money; it was an enormous amount of work for minimal amounts of cash.