Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Garage Sale Experiment

No, that is not a typo on my sign.  I wish I could have written "jerk-in-the-butt" for Sarah and her son, but no one would have gotten that.  I did have one man laugh at it.

Saturday morning was interesting.  I had purged the little boys' closets, Eve's already-too-small clothes ( :( ), my closet, the "extraneous tchotchke" closet, and my craft closet, and there was a sizable amount of stuff.  Most of it was pretty good stuff, I must say.  I was curious to see if anyone else would think it was pretty good stuff, so I had a quick garage sale.  I did away with all the agonies associated with holding a garage sale by 1) deciding spur-of-the-moment, so there was no advertising aside from a sign on the main street; 2) not really caring how much money was made, because I was going to donate all that stuff to DI (local thrift store) anyway, so any profit was a gift; 3) pricing everything at $1, no matter if it was worth $100 or 10 cents, alleviating the necessity of pricing and most of the setup headache.

What would happen?  And was it worth the effort involved?
What happened:
People would walk up, see all my treasures (and some were pretty good, like I said), and ask, "How much is this?"  Usually, Micah, my sales rep, would chirp, "Everything's one dollar."  Adult would look at him, then ask me, "How much is this?"  And I would chirp, "One dollar."  Their response was always--"Really? Then how much is this?"  Really?  Can you read? "One dollar."
The first things to go were the best values, of course.  A working DVD/VCR with working remote ("How much?"  "One dollar."), a photo album still in the wrapper (with all my blogging, who has time for scrapbooks?), Tucker's complete Nintendo Gamecube with remotes (that he'd bought with his own money when his mean mom refused to cave on her position of "No video games in the house," which position has since been disbanded), and my prized SpotBot (you can read about my SpotBot love here) that gave up the ghost last week after the dog pee incident and was rapidly replaced.
It was so intriguing to watch what people would buy.  Some guy really bought two stacks of empty Home Depot pots ($2, baby!).  And someone bought the flannel board Noah's Ark--minus all the animals and Noah.  Someone bought an entire bag of Disney VHS tapes (yes, that's $1 for the bag, folks).  And that broken lamp?  Yep. Snapped up for a buck.
I was also slightly surprised what ended up left for donation:  a great wooden chair, lots of toddler boys' jeans, accent pillows that I almost kept in the house, and most of the discarded tchotchkes--the only thing I look at when I go to a garage sale (okay, it's been years since I've even gone).

Was it worth it:
It only took 15 minutes to set everything up, five minutes to make three signs, and two hours sitting in the driveway on a beautiful Saturday morning, holding my sleeping baby doll and watching my other kids mow the lawn or shoot hoops and ride their bikes, scooters, and skitters.  People watching while making a few bucks was fun, and I made 64 bucks (minus one dollar surrendered to Tucker for the sale of his Gamecube).  That covered lunch at Subway for the family and a few art supplies at Michael's for Lily and her friend.
And on the plus side, I only had to make one trip in the Suburban to the Church to dump of the leftover crap.

The only thing to make it back into the house:
My nursing coverup.  I really should learn to use that thing . . .


  1. I should have come. I am sorry to hear about the toddler jeans! Any other jeans leaving let us know! :)

  2. I like your style. And I LOVED your sign. I would have been one of the people who laughed.

    (But then, I am never a jerk in the butt...)

    Well, almost never.


  3. That's the kind of garage sale I would have if I would ever have one.

  4. How is it possible that the best garage sale was 5 houses away and I missed it???? I'm so sad. I too only look at the tchotchkes when garaging. I'm glad you got to declutter and eat subway though!