Today we officially had our last ever garage sale. Seriously.
The neighborhood we live in has a “community garage sale” every year. We figured it out the second year we were here, and our neighbor let us know which weekend it was, so we could be prepared for the third year—which worked out perfectly date-wise since we are moving in a month.
Now, from past experience, I hate garage sales. Yeah, I like the money, but they’re a lot of work and I hate haggling. Our stuff isn’t CRAP (like tchotchkes from the 70s or broken stuff)—a lot of the stuff was new (still in boxes or plastic), next to new, or in really good condition. So I priced it fairly—with some of the things marked a bit higher that I would be willing to haggle on. But long story short, we hadn’t had a garage sale in almost five years, so I was kinda ready…or at least had a positive attitude.
So we busted ass and cleaned out a ton of stuff—finally making the decision to just GET RID OF STUFF (some of which has been making the move with us since we got married). I had even posted on Craigslist that our community was having a garage sale, and listed what would be at ours. We had an entire driveway full by the time all was said and done, and we fully expected to make about $500-600 (thinking about past garage sales and how much stuff we had and what we made at those).
First of all, the “sale” was technically Friday and Saturday—which we didn’t realize until Thursday night when talking to our neighbor again. A garage sale on Friday? REALLY? :??: I had never experienced that in my entire life of having garage sales…so needless to say we totally weren’t ready. :down: But we figured that Saturday would be the big day anyway so weren’t really worried about it.
Second, the community association was supposed to advertise the sale with signs out front a week prior—except that the day before, there were no signs (they finally went up late Thursday night). :down:
Third, I saw NO listing for the garage sale on Craigslist—so I put one on there advertising OUR moving sale. I mean, in this day and age, you post on Craigslist, and it’s free and easy, so there’s NO reason to NOT advertise there. Stupid community association. :down: I also put up my OWN garage sale sign.
So Saturday morning rolls around and we’re up at 6 getting everything set up in the driveway (well, we were up at 4:30 but didn’t start working until 6). I had such visions of it being a gangbuster sale that I was bringing out anything that I thought might sell. The more stuff we got rid of, the better, right? And more money, right?
Well, in our Craigslist moving sale post, I said that although the community sale technically started at 8, we’d be out getting set up at 7, so early birds were welcome at 7:30. Well, someone showed up at 7:15 which was fine, but they didn’t take anything. Okay, no biggie, it was still early. But then no one else came until like 7:45. Really? Where were all the people beating down our doors at 6am or lining up on the street…or doing drive-bys the night before like we had in North Carolina?
Then people just started driving by. One car after another. Huh? We had about eight cars slow down and look—but not stop. Now, I fully realize that some might be looking for one particular item that could be seen from the road…but EVERYONE?? REALLY?? What are they expecting to find?
At the end of two hours, we had a whopping FOUR customers, two of which were neighbors…and we had made $68 ($60 of which was a fish tank). And had maybe 15 drive-bys.
BIG >:XX DEAL.
Then we’d get one person. Fifteen minutes later another. Then a drive-by. At the busiest time, I think we had three people there. Ugh. And of course 95% of them wanted to haggle. Now, I can handle haggling on stuff that’s $5 or $10, but seriously, if I’ve marked it $1, it’s $1. Don’t ask if I’ll take 50¢. And then pick out nickels and pennies when I agree. Seriously. (One lady had 49¢ and Tom just stood there with his hand out, waiting. I mean really, people.) Alternatively, if I have something marked $25, don’t offer me $10. I kept reminding myself that the point was to get rid of stuff, but honestly I would rather donate things for free than take $5 for a $20 item. My blood pressure certainly spiked through the roof at least a handful of times due to hagglers.
So come 4pm we started cleaning up—and it really didn’t even look like we sold anything. Every table was still out and full (when normally about two hours in, we’re consolidating stuff and getting rid of tables). The free thing we had sitting out didn’t even get taken!
So, in the end, we made about $300 for about 18-20 hours of work (prep, sale, clean up) which just sooooo doesn’t seem worth it. I mean, it’s better than working that long for nothing…but had we sold another $200 worth I’d be more amenable to having another garage sale sometime during my lifetime. To put it in better perspective how much work it was and how few people we had and how little stuff we actually sold…almost TWO-THIRDS (!!!) of our take came from just three big ticket items (a $100 table saw that Tom sold to a co-worker before the sale even started, a $60 fish tank we sold at 8am to a neighbor, and $30 for a new-in-box Lego set [that was actually worth $90, but I digress]).
The whole thing was just bad and frustrating—I have never experienced such a lackluster garage sale EVER. I don’t know whether it was due to the lack of advertising, people just not being into garage sales, or what… but what it did was certify that I will never again have a garage sale and I will just donate stuff.
Speaking of which—the Vietnam Veterans of America will be here Tuesday to pick up three bags of clothes and shoes, and about six huge boxes of stuff. :up: