Saturday, July 25, 2009

Stick a Fork in Me...

I am done.

With garage sales that is. And swimming lessons. :)

I will post some swimming pics later. I will say it was a good week after the initial shock of finding out we HAD lessons this week. I am so thankful I didn't show up this coming Monday thinking we were having them. :)

Okay, the garage sale is done. And before I do or say anything else, I want to say thanks to some people. Thanks to my mom for keeping the kids Friday morning. The sale was so busy that morning, I don't know how I could have done it while keeping up with kids, especially the youngest! That is a full time job in itself. And a big thank you to my sister for helping me with the sale on Friday. I could NOT have done it without her. We were going to close at 10:30 because of swimming lessons; we got a rush of people around 10:25. She stayed by herself until my mom could come help close up so we could get to lessons on time. She also came last night to help me re-organize and set out some more things. I wish I had asked her the night before! Also, thank you to our neighbor at the end of the street for letting us put a sign in his yard. Thanks to my hubby for picking up the permit for us as well as getting some tables for us to use. And thank you to my school family who were having a sale at the school (I had too much to do it there this year :() and directed people our way too.

Now that those are out of the way, here are a few lessons I learned this week. I am saying up front that I am NOT a garage sale expert. I try to have them as little as possible. :) And I don't make thousands of dollars. This was our most successful sale yet though. And I did learn a few lessons just in case you too decide that you need to torture yourself and have a sale yourself... :)

1. Fridays. I have always heard to have sales on Fridays. It is hard to do that for me during the year, so we have always done Saturdays only. The only reason we did it this time was because my very sweet little sister offered to help. I am so glad we did. I made 5/7 of the money on Friday. It was busy pretty much nonstop. Today was fine but nothing like yesterday.
2. Craigslist. I don't know why I just found Craigslist, but I had been told "You have to put your garage sale on there..." And I am glad I did. It is free advertising. I never asked people how they found us but I know that it didn't hurt at all to have it out there!
3. Prices. I had "fixed" prices for clothes so I didn't label them. Next time I may not label anything but "big ticket" items (for us this time, our biggest ticket items were only 10 dollars :). People usually ask anyway, the tags never stick, and it was much easier to just say, "All clothes for a dollar".
4. Value. You cannot think about the true value of your items. I save my "best" of the "best" for consignment sales. Garage sales will typically not yield a lot of money. To me, if I get rid of it and make a little money, it was a success. As today went on, the prices dropped. By the end, everything was a quarter. EVERYTHING. People were leaving with bags of clothes (lots of kids' clothes) for just a few dollars. I was happy to see it going. They were happy to get a bargain.
5. Getting ready. It is going to take a lot longer to get ready than you think it will. I had most of my things sorted in trash bags. We had bags and bags of stuff. I decided to pin two piece outfits together, which for kids' clothes, is most of them. :) And I am glad I did. But it took a long time. I wish I had done that ahead. I stayed up until 3:30 on Thursday night/Friday morning, then I had to get up early on Friday. I still didn't get a lot of things out. I ended up sticking bags under the table to get out when there was a "lull" in our sale...there weren't many. Guess what? People didn't care. They happily went through the bags! I wondered why I had put anything out in the first place. :)
6. Free box. Sometimes you have stuff not really worth much but somebody else might appreciate. I put a free box at the end of the driveway and throw that stuff in. Toward the end of the sale, we added a lot to it. People loved it, it all went to new homes, and best part...I didn't have to see it anymore!
7. Garage door. Friday morning I was trying to wake up from my "nap", running around finishing up. Mark was taking the kids to my mom's. We were going to start the sale at 7, once my sister was there. As Mark and the kids were leaving, they chose to go out the garage door for some reason. He opened it up, and suddenly I had people IN my garage. Now I had tables in there that needed to go out. It was crowded. I had planned on moving them at opening time. Suddenly it was opening time (early) and I couldn't move anything...too many people. It was a rough start to the day. The joys of sales. :)
8. Valuables. We didn't really have any "valuables" but we did have a few technological things. I kept those close to me. Apparently some people will steal from garage sales. I don't know that we have had that problem but I have heard stories. I am all for prevention...
9. Memories. It is hard to not attach memories to things. As I folded those baby clothes, I was flooded with memories of my children IN them. If you focus too much on the memories, you end up keeping things you don't really need (and that others can use). You also have to be careful to not attach value to those is easy to want to "overprice" just based on the value to YOU which will not be the value to the rest of the world.
10. Change. I have learned to always have 20's ready...almost always someone will pay with a large bill. (This time is the first time that didn't happen). You also need a lot of 5's and 10's...we got several 20 dollar bills that required change. Oh, and as for the money, I wear it in a fanny pack on my waist so I can keep up with it and have it on hand.

Sorry, not exciting stuff today. Just lessons learned.

In a couple years when I decide I am going to do this again, direct me to this post so I can remember what to do and what not to do! I am a slow learner!!!



  1. I need to have a garage sale so bad! My running buddy, April, wants to have one together THIS coming weekend but there is no way I will be ready! Maybe first of September. Thanks for the tips! They will come in handy as we plan ours! Glad its over and hope you enjoy the rest of the summer!

  2. Sounds like a successful garage sale!

  3. oh stink, we have swimming lessons this week. Too bad we missed eachother :)


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