In the garage


A garage sale has been a long time coming around these parts.  5 years worth of clothes from Emma and 4 years worth of clothes for Gerrit have compiled into more bins than I care to count.  I tried and lost track at 20.  Add in baby toys and gear and you have an overwhelming amount of stuff just sitting there, doing nothing.  I’ve never had my own garage sale before and truth be told, it made me a little nervous to try to organize it all on my own. 

Then last Monday, my neighbor Sandy told me that she was having hers again.  She’d had one earlier in the summer but with all my cottaging, I didn’t join in.  Easy excuse, I know but it was a valid one and I clung to it.  I think my friends had actually stopped believing me that I was going to have one at all.  After all, I’d only been talking about it and not doing one for months.

This time, I had to definitely do it.  I had to bite the bullet and figure out how to put it all together.  The first problem was the garage.  Although I had spent an entire day cleaning it out and reorganizing it earlier in the summer, it had started to become full again with random things such as tools, dryers, trash to go to the dump.  It’s what always happens to open space.  Inevitably, all open space will be filled with something.

I told Dan on Tuesday that I was having a garage sale on the weekend.  What I meant to tell him was that by weekend,I meant Thursday.  His version of that statement was that I meant the actual weekend, with 5 days of prep.  I started frantically going thru bins and I couldn’t understand his lackadaisical attitude towards it all.  It wasn’t until Wed that he realized my timeline and joined me in getting ready.  He cleaned out the garage and built a rack for me to hang clothes.  I was busy pricing things and he got busy getting tables and organizing stuff in the garage.  Finally at 11pm, we called it quits for the rest of the pricing, organizing to take place the next day.

Our grand opening day was last Thursday and after having the sale for 6 days, I can happily say that we’ve sold some things.  Dan likes to say that you don’t actually make money having a garage sale, you just help recoup your own money… but either way you look at it, we’ve got some more green and less baby/toddler stuff in our home.  Happy happy.  It’s also taught me a couple things about garage sale having that I had forgotten.

Some people are cheap–  I actually knew this fact before the garage sale.  In fact, I thought I was part of the super cheap crowd.  But in fact, there is a whole genre of people that go garage saling, expecting to get something fantastic for next to nothing.  A pair of nearly brand new, in perfect condition, fleece Carter pajamas are supposed to be $1 by this crowd.  I actually had this lady arguing with me about my prices.  The conversation went like this

Mrs. Cheapskate “I just think $2 for these pajamas is too much”  holding up a pair of 24mnth Carter sleeper pajamas with no wear or tear on them.  They look brand new

Me” Hmmm ” and I go back to straightening up the clothes I was working on.

Mrs. Cheapskate ” Don’t you think that $2 is too much to ask for a pair of pajamas that have been washed and aren’t as soft as they once were?”

Now, obviously, I don’t think $2 is too much or I wouldn’t have priced it as such but…

Me, I walk over to physically touch the pajamas that she is referring to “Um, no.  They look and feel great.  I bet if  you washed them with some liquid fabric softener, they’d be good as new“.  Go back to straightening clothes

Mrs. Cheapskate “I just think that is too much to ask at a garage sale

Me, starting to lose my patience with this lady “Really?  Cuz you know, they’re like $12 at the store, right?”

Mrs. Cheapskate “Right but that’s at the store

Me “Yeah, I think $2 is where we’re at” 

I wanted to tell her that when she had a garage sale, she could charge whatever her heart desired but I left it at that.  She ended up buying a few things and brought up the pajamas a couple more times in her remaining time.

Some people suck-  Once again, I knew this.  It wasn’t new information necessarily, it was just a reminder that if you deal with masses of people, there is bound to be a crappy one sooner or later.  During the garage sale, I only met 2 people that I would have loved to punch in the head.  So it actually gives me hope for the population as a whole. 

The first lady spoke no english and so communication was a challenge.  Not really a problem except for  the fact that she had 2 little toddlers with her which she spent no time supervising in the hour and a half she was here.  Yes, you read that right, she was here for an hour and a half!  During that time,she unfolded every single piece of girl’s clothes and some of the boys clothes that I had.  Meanwhile, her 2 little kids are busy playing with our toys and trying to break baby stuff.  I had to stop the littlest one from taking off into our backyard.  It seriously took me the rest of the day to straighten out the mess she made and it certainly wasn’t worth the $14 she spent.

The other person that sucked was a tag switcher.  I had helped friends before with garage sales so I had ‘heard’ about people that do this so I used masking tape to price things.  After that, I didn’t really think about it again.  Until I was ringing her up.  She had switched tags and being a novice, I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with this situation. 

I realize that some people thought my prices were too high.  They are entitled to their opinions and welcome to shop elsewhere.  But I honestly consider it stealing to switch the tags and take 80% off the asking price.  She might as well of shoved the shirts down her pants and walked away.  I guess she thought $3.50 was worth selling her soul and that’s sad.

I enjoy people– As a whole, I enjoyed the experience of garage saling.  It’s hard because your house is getting no attention and becomes annihilated while you sit outside from those still inside.  That part was hard but it was worth it.  I really enjoyed meeting and chatting random people.  

Somehow, in the last year, I’ve forgotten how it’s truly a privilege to take a moment of someone’s life.  To chat with them for a few minutes and get a glance into their lives.  People will often share with you something truly special if you actually take the time to listen.  I’ve missed that gift and I know it’s been my fault.  It’s a reminder to me to take time and reach out.  I love the snippets that people afforded me during my time of the sale.

Money is awesome- Yeah, I didn’t ever forget that.  I think making money is a super thing and we made some so that’s cool.  I’ll be looking forward to having a sale again in the spring.  You should stop by and buy something☺


About Chris

These are the pieces of my life and those that make it worth living
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3 Responses to In the garage

  1. Want to come and organize one for me? LOL!!

  2. polestarter says:

    I all ways pack up what is left over form a garage sale, and haul it off to goodwill or the vets. If you have some nice stuff try your hand selling it on e-bay.

  3. Duh says:

    I did my first garage sale last year. I don’t know if I’d do it again. The cheap skates REALLY make it uncomfortable. I don’t mind bargaining, and price accordingly, but DAMN do I have to listen to someone sniff at the price of everything they touch?

    I had an entire box of those Littlest Pet Shop toys in perfect condition. I was asking $15 because there were literally 30-40 in there. Some lady offered me $2!!!! And then got pissed I didn’t take it! I later sold them for $12, which I thought was fair, and the lady that bought them was so happy.

    I don’t sweat it though because those people are just looking to resell the stuff anyway. Screw them!

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