Saturday, September 12, 2015

Why our garage sale was a flop, but I am still happy

In our August update, I mentioned the possibility of doing a garage sale to shore up our bank account a little after a September of Awanas dues for three kids and two birthdays for our boys.

What I didn't share was how much I hate garage sales.

I don't mind going to them, but running them? Well, that's an entirely different situation.

Garage sales produce a level of anxiety in me that usually makes them not worth it. I hate the time going into organizing and running them, and the risk of it being a flop and wasting our time, and I confessed to my husband yesterday that I was more stressed about having this garage sale than I was about giving birth to our 4 children, and 3 of them involved no drugs! But because we really needed the money and had a lot of clutter downstairs, we decided to give it a shot and see what happened.

The day started off slowly. We posted our signs, advertised on Craigslist, priced our items to sell, and hoped that God, our good location and great fall weather would help us out. The traffic began to trickle in, but after an hour and a half, we had made maybe $30 at the most.

But later, around lunchtime, traffic began to pick up, and many things (mainly toys and baby stuff) began to sell quickly. Maybe it's the time of day as well and that people are just beginning to finish their coffee and morning shopping? I don't know, but it made us feel a little better that we were selling a bit more.

The last two hours we told ourselves that we would mark everything down by 50% in the first hour, then do fill-a-bag for $2 in the last hour, then $1 in the very last half hour.

When all was said and done, we made a little over $100. My husband wouldn't consider that a fail, and I guess that it's more than we had to begin with, but it's definitely proof that for me, garage sales are not worth it.

The next time I will do what I have in the past and donate everything I don't need, or sell it on eBay if it's worth a lot more. That said, I could still see light in what I consider to be our "garage sale fail." My biggest reasons for being happy are this:

1. We do not have all that stuff and its consequences in our house anymore.
Cozy Coup car that our boys used to run into each other? Gone. "Educational toys" that usually ended up being dismantled and strewn in bits and pieces in different rooms? Gone gone gone. I was just glad to get rid of the stuff, and whatever was left at the end, we boxed up and sent to the local thrift store.

2. Our boys made a little spending money and decluttered their Hot Wheels stash. 
A win for both of us! They loved earning some money, and we loved not accidentally slipping on a stray vehicle in the kitchen.

3. It reminded me of how much we still have, and the burden of carrying stuff that we don't need.

Early in the morning, when we weren't selling that much, my husband covered dealing with buyers while I managed the house and the kids. I realized that even though we had all that stuff outside, our house was still filled with toys and books, and what was more, we will probably be getting more when relatives send things for birthdays and Christmas. The flow of stuff just never ends, and we consider ourselves minimalists who rarely buy our kids lots of toys. Hopefully, though, we can be better at keeping only the most valuable toys that our kids play with in the future.

4. We were able to bless others with what we didn't need.

I'm not against thrift stores, in fact, I am planning on taking the rest of our unsold stuff there this afternoon, but it kind of bugs me sometimes that they've gotten expensive. I have seen things sold at thrift stores that are almost as much as the brand new version of that item on sale. Not only that, but sometimes it's hard to find high-quality toys there. A lot of our toys were in very gently used condition, and were priced much cheaper than what you could find in stores. As one family took our bouncing Tigger toy with their young son in tow, I felt good that a toy that had given us lots of good memories would give him some too.

5. And finally, we will not have to do this ever again!

Have you ever had a bad garage sale experience?

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