Sunday, June 25, 2017


Saturday June 24, 2017

Though I’ve often combined my stuff with my sister’s stuff, this is the first time I’ve ever had a solo garage sale at my house. The last time there was a garage sale at our house was in 2006 when Carter was just a baby (he’s 11 now) and we did it together. Ashley had a lemonade stand and our elderly neighbor came over and had a cup, which really pleased Ashley. [She’s a teenager now, so it takes a lot more than a cup of lemonade to make her happy these days.]

Not wishing to use one of the few vacation days I have left, I decided to have a one day sale. It’s just as well since it rained buckets all day on Friday, so it would have been a wash out anyway. It certainly wasn’t fun putting my signs up around the neighborhood. My first lesson learned came from this experience. Make absolutely certain your sign is firmly attached to its stake (one or two heavy duty staples isn’t necessarily enough). If you’re not sure, give it a few whacks with a rubber mallet to test it. Also, make sure to do the lettering with a sharpie because it’s permanent and water proof (I did at least do that). Lastly, make sure your address is written fairly big and draw an arrow if there’s space. Two out of my three signs stayed up through the rainstorm, but luckily someone walking their dog told me about the sign on the corner which had blown over (it was only leaning against the stop sign anyway). Andrew walked down the street and took care of it for me. I also forgot until early Saturday morning to make a sign to put on our mailbox. I did, however, remember to blow up a couple balloons to put out there with the sign.

My sister’s advice was to not price anything odd amounts to keep it simple – a quarter, 50 cents, $1, etc. My mom’s advice was to not give anything away free. Instead let people make an offer. My dad strongly encouraged bargaining with people. I sort of took my mom’s advice after she left and made $9 on the sale of a strawberry pot and a plain terracotta pot. [I gave away the other larger strawberry pot, 2 plastic horizontal planters and 4 old rusty tomato cages.] I forgot my dad’s advice when selling my old I-Pod and sold it for far less than I wanted, so I feel a twinge of regret about that.

The two items I was surprised that were so popular (and that I should have definitely increased the prices on) were my picture frames (which I sold for .25 @) and collection of Victoria Secret dogs (free, though I sold 8 of them for $2).  As far as the picture frames go, I figured people probably don’t buy them as often since most photos seem to permanently reside on peoples’ cell phones. I guess I was wrong.

Victoria Secret dogs aren’t really that collectable these days and I think they’ve stopped selling them in the stores. They only sell sporadically on E-bay (I checked), so I did do a little research on the subject. The collection was pretty much divided up between a couple people – an adolescent male who was the most charming 12 year old (?) I’ve met in a long time. He would have taken the entire collection (along with the rest of the stuffed animals in the box) if his grandma had let him. God bless his prepubescent heart! The other person was a lady who was perhaps a little younger than me who was looking to replace some of her own VS dogs that her dog had apparently destroyed. I once saw a donation of several of these dogs at the Capital Area Humane Society, so I know dogs use them as toys, and I’m okay with that.

In the garage sale ad I put on the Nextdoor Ridgewood site I encouraged my neighbors to come around and say hello. Several from Braidwood and one or two from Ridgewood did, as well as a lady from another street whom I met on my birthday last year when I bought a painting from her. Another of my favorite customers was a divorced father shopping with his teenage daughter. He kept picking up items and asking if she wanted this or that. His daughter seemed rather shy and hesitant, so they only ended up buying a few items, but I was touched by his generosity towards his daughter.

Aside from my parents, the farthest probably anyone else came from was Grandview (a nice older lady whom I had a brief chat with). I definitely enjoyed speaking with my customers, and several were nice enough to round up rather than get extra change back, so that was much appreciated.

I was a little surprised that most of my storage boxes/baskets didn’t sell since my sister said they were the first things to go last year. Hence, I am giving them all to her to sell at her sale next week, and am hoping for better luck then.

All in all, it was definitely a learning experience, and I hope I’m done with having garage sales. I think I’m going to stick to listing my items on websites like Craig’s List and Nextdoor Ridgewood or keep donating most of my cast-offs to charity.

Have a great week everyone!

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