We have a garage sale about once a year. We had our most recent one just this last weekend. In years past, it’s been after deaths in the family, when we attempt to thin out inherited goods that are way past their prime, or when our younger son joined the army and gave us permission to get rid of the belongings he left behind.
The one we had recently was because we’ve been on a home improvement kick and bought new furniture. The old had to go. It was garage sale time. While I enjoy scouring the house, finding items to put in the sale, I’m not a big fan of dealing with the buying public. I’m an introvert (remember, I’m a writer?). I leave the actually selling to my husband and my older son, who inherited his father’s gift of gab.
So, I find and clean and display the items to their best advantage on tables and hangers that we set up in the garage. I swear, I must have been a shop keeper in another life! For example, I tell my husband to hang the vibrant yellow T-shirt up front because “it draws peoples’ eyes to it.” He scoffs at the idea, but wouldn’t you know it, on the day of the sale, people went right up to it and fingered it. While that shirt didn’t go, many others behind it did.
We always put small items like make-up and jewelry on one table, and I take my place there. You’d be surprised at what manages to sell; even used lipstick! You never know how people will employ your belongings. Sometimes one purchase will balloon into many, like my mom’s seventy-year-old pots and pans. My husband indicated all the kitchen utensils we had for sale and made a few more bucks off those.
Once I’ve had my caffeine infusion, I can at least attempt conversation. I’m not good at bartering; not like my husband. He could talk a guy with a trench coat full of watches out of his merchandise! Yet I still manage to joke and gently direct people to items they may not notice. We try to set things out logically, so that buyers can easily see what we’re selling. Leaving everything in boxes isn’t advisable. People don’t want to work for their purchases.
Most of the time people are pretty friendly, and banter back good-naturedly. Once in a while you get that person who wants to talk you down from a dollar. Seriously? An item that was once worth ten is marked down to a buck, and someone wants to go lower? My husband can usually cajole them into accepting the price.
Yes, I do love a garage sale. They are time-consuming, and you won’t get rich on them. Many times, it hurts to see belongings go for a tiny price, but if you weren’t using them anyway, at least now they might be. This last one we made about $140. You have to decide if that’s worth the prep time. For me, it definitely is. We got rid of a lot of items we weren’t using, cleared out space in closets and drawers, and had some fun with complete strangers. I’d say it was a win-win situation over all.
Do you like hosting garage sales, going to garage sales, or both? I’d love to hear your opinion of them!