The reluctant garage sale

When my neighbor told me a week ago that she was planning a garage sale for this coming weekend, the wheels started turning in my head. I’ve definitely got more than my fair share of crap stuff to purge and the extra cash would certainly come in handy for our upcoming vacation at the end of the month. I told her I might join her and do a sale the same weekend.

Fast-forward to this past weekend when I asked my sister if she’d be down with helping me run the sale. With dollar signs in her eyes, she agreed and the game was on.

Fast-forward (again) to tonight when my sister came over to review our game plan for the weekend. (She’s really into this I’m telling you, but so would I be if I had three years of law school debt to pay off.) I started freaking out, thinking of all of the work I have ahead of me and started wondering what in the hell I was thinking planning a garage sale with basically less than a week to prepare!

Tonight I started going through two of the rooms in the basement (where a large portion of our crap we don’t use is stored – like all of my old formal dresses from high school and I even came across my old retainer! thanks to my mom who saved EVERYTHING for me) and I realized I have a huge project ahead of me. I’m excited in a way, because I see this as a great opportunity to declutter my house and life, as well as pass things on to people who could actually get some use out of them, but it’s going to take a lot of time, time I’m not excited about spending in preparation.

They say anything worth doing is worth doing well. I guess garage sales fit into the anything category too. Sigh. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. Wish me luck!

21 thoughts on “The reluctant garage sale”

  1. Well you can always have a “lucky dip” box for stuff you can’t be bothered pricing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I guess one way is to group stuff by category – so all old clothes etc into one pile, books in another etc. That way you can attack one lot at a time perhaps.

    Good luck! And anyway, you can always have another sale later for stuff you didn’t manage to deal with.

  2. I recently worked hard to get things ready for a garage sale my MIL was having . . . . and . . . . she didn’t advertise anywhere. We only had 5 people show up and didn’t get rid of much.

    My suggestion, put a little ad out somewhere. Regular garage sale goers really do plan their day with these AND have a charity scheduled in the afternoon to pick up what’s left. Have fun! It really does feel good to get rid of stuff!

  3. I recently worked hard to get things ready for a garage sale my MIL was having . . . . and . . . . she didn’t advertise anywhere. We only had 5 people show up and didn’t get rid of much.

    My suggestion, put a little ad out somewhere. Regular garage sale goers really do plan their day with these AND have a charity scheduled in the afternoon to pick up what’s left. Have fun! It really does feel good to get rid of stuff!

  4. If you don’t get it done, donate! Personally, I’m way to lazy for a garage sale…and unwilling to deal with the hagglers who take an already amazing deal and try to gt it for even less. Seriously. My blood pressure rises just thinking about it.

  5. Ohhh, as much as I love garage sale shopping I hate trying to have one of my own. I usually end up just sticking everything in the back until I get annoyed and then go donate it to the local thrift shop.

  6. How much for the retainer?

    Seriously, you are more ambitious than I am. I can’t stand the thought of people making faces at my “stuff” even if it is stuff I want to get rid of. I donate everything around here to thrift stores.

    Good luck!

  7. Good luck! I’m too lazy to do a garage sale. I just give our stuff away to charities. They actually come to your house to pick it up…it doesn’t get much better than that!

  8. Sounds like it’ll be a great yard sale! (I love them, we go about once a month.) We already purged most of our stuff when we bought a small house. We were paying $50 a month for a storage unit to keep our junk–ouch! It’s amazing how wonderful the decluttering made me feel, and I really don’t miss the stuff. I did keep one Cinderella prom dress from my senior year. By the time DD is in high school she probably wouldn’t be caught dead in it ๐Ÿ™

    Have you heard of FlyLady? If not, check her out at She recommends taking babysteps rather than doing things all at once and getting overwhelmed. For instance, instead of decluttering the whole house at once she does a “27 fling boogie” in which you run through your house and find 27 things to donate and throw them in a basket. It only takes a few minutes every day, you don’t get burned out, and before long your whole house will be decluttered. Her life’s work is helping perfectionist women like me who will spend all day making themselves miserable cleaning only to run out of steam before the job is done. My house is a mess right now though. I need to get back on the wagon!

  9. The garage sales I’ve done well (that were not in my current town) I’ve enjoyed. Here are some of the tips that helped me:

    *Get up early bec. you will have people there right at 8 a.m. and you won’t be set up and that gets the nerves frazzled.
    *Be organized – group like things together on the same tables or clothes by size on a blanket on the grass.
    *Put price stickers on the important stuff otherwise a general sign like “everything on this table $1.”
    *List it on Craigslist for a couple of weeks and include your best items you are selling.
    *List it on Freecycle that at 3pm they can come over and pick up whatever is left over.
    *Donate everything else. Don’t take back into the house what you have decided to sell even if it doesn’t sell. I can give you a phone # of a donation co. that will pick up your stuff within 48 hours of calling.
    *Have small bills on hand the day before the sale to make change bec. you will definitely need this.
    *Put your signs up on the main streets and on your street corner so people can find you!

    Have fun! I love to get rid of stuff and make more space in my home.

  10. I did a big clean out and held a garage sale. I made a list of the stuff that didn’t sell and it’s condition (ex. 3 men’s t-shirts, good condition) and donated the items to charity. I asked the charity for a receipt and attached my list of donated items to it. That way, when I did my taxes I had all the info I needed to claim the items I donated as a charitable donation. I also have a backup in case I get audited.

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  12. My tip is to have your goal in mind. I too planned an ill-timed garage sale last summer and found myself excited about the massive profit we were going to make on all our junk. It turns out that I overpriced everything and then found myself irritated when people wanted to dicker. In retrospect, my goal should have been to dejunk my house rather than make a few bucks. Ironically, we had a box of junk left over that we had to give away-so price stuff low enough to move!

  13. Dollar signs in my eyes? I dunno. Definitely at least cent signs. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m just such the optimist and overacheiver. It also helps that I’m completely underemployed currently. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I’m practicing for this weekend already.
    ME: “What? One dollar for this waffle iron? That’s crazy. This thing has been used only twice and once was on the occasion of my great-grandmother’s 100th birthday brunch. It makes the crispiest most delicious waffles this side of Belgium. It’s priced at $15, so I’ll give you a heck of a deal and you can have it for only $11.50 and I’ll throw in that beaded lampshade I saw you eyeing. Deal?”
    CUSTOMER: To which of course they’ll reply, “Hell yeah!” and start digging in their change purse for the exact amount in nickels.

    ๐Ÿ™‚ This will be fun!

  14. LMAO! How much are you selling the retainer for?

    I know — the whole garage sale thing always SEEMS like a good idea, until you actually have to do it!

    Hope you sell lots of stuff!

  15. Ditto about the list idea. My MIL helped me make a list. I came up with $275 to deduct from our taxes, and I was just being conservative. It could have been closer to $500, but I didn’t want to raise any eyebrows.

  16. We had a neighborhood yard sale a few weeks ago. I was up until 1am lugging my stuff up from the basement. I was selling toys, stuffed animals, housewares, DVD’s for $5 and lots of other random stuff. I had the best stuff on the block. I thought I would make a ton of money… Nope. Yard Salers are of a different breed. They nickle and dimed the nickle and dime items…
    Good Luck with the sale!

  17. How is the prep going?

    It took me three days with 2 teenagers to get ours ready. Of course, we moved and left a household’s worth of stuff behind when we did. Downsizing for the environment (and the check book).

    In the end, we cleared $1000 and still had a ton of stuff left!!!

  18. I *LOVE* having garage sales! My husband jokes that if it isn’t tied down, I’ll try to sell it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE decluttering – the minimalist in me. I hate hanging onto stuff that I don’t want, need or use. And not to mention the extra money… For me, a garage sale is an ongoing experience. Get out whatever you can. Set your expectations low – you can always have another one! If you sell three things, that’s three less pieces of junk that you don’t have anymore! And don’t forget to LOAD THE CAR and take it STRAIGHT to good will when the yard sale is done! It will make you feel so refreshed!

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