Recently our community put on a garage sale. Jim and I participated on our driveway. Neighbor Lynda and her darling German mother, Erika (aka Mama), also joined in. Jim and I had the lion’s share of junk. How was this possible? We moved three years ago. I thought we purged all the junk then.
Jim has hoarder tendencies. While gathering flotsam and jetsom to sell I stumbled across a small iron pig. Piggy has been living on top of a file cabinet in our garage since we moved in. I put the pig in the get-rid-of-it box. Jim spotted her, grabbed hold and refused to part with that dumb pig. He white-knuckled gripped it, stating, “But this is a really cute pig.”
Yes, cute pig. Cute pig cluttering up the garage. I literally had to pry his hoarding fingers from the pig’s belly. Cute pig did not sell. I noticed at end of da while loading up for a Goodwill drop off, Jim dumped Piggy into the back of my mini-van. Yes, I drive a mini-van. No we aren’t starting a family. Yes, I know mini-vans aren’t cool. Just shut-up.
My first ever garage sale was shortly after Jim and I got married. We simply hauled all our “treasures” to our driveway, stuck a sign in the ground and set up shop. We didn’t mark anything. We didn’t organize anything. I didn’t know my new neighbor Brookie very well then—we had just moved in across the street. She wandered around our driveway looking bemused. I had no idea Brookie is a garage sale rock star. Everything I now know about how to run a garage sale was learned from terrific friend Brookie.
We eventually shared a number of sales. She was captain, I was crew. This Florida sale was my first solo flight and I got my knickers in a twist worrying if I’d be organized. I even had a nightmare that I forgot to put anything out and angry mobs were banging on the door at 7 a.m. There were lots of harried calls to Brookie.
In case you want to know how to Brookie-craft a garage sale here are the tips.
First: Take cars out of garage several days early. Set up tables in the garage. Make extra tables with doors atop saw horses. Place things by “theme” on each table. Christmas stuff goes with other holiday things. Kitchen utensils and dishes should not be integrated with baby clothes and so forth. Once all items are on display spend a long day marking prices on each and every item.
Second: For jewelry, use hang tags so customers can’t swap price tags around. She suggested I make a sign—all jewelry $3 unless otherwise labeled. I spent most of the day before pricing jewelry.
Third: Prepare a lunch the day before, then one person can go into the house and gather provisions.
Fourth: Make a bookshelf out of two ladders and some planks. Display all books there, hardbacks one price, paper backs half that.
Fifth: Lot of signs around the neighborhood announcing sale.
Sixth: Hang artwork on picket fence. We don’t have a picket fence, so I leaned the lone painting against the bookshelves/ladder.
Seven: Have a “free” box. As the day goes by add new things to the “free” box so you don’t have to pack them for Goodwill.
Eight: Tell your friends if they see any gifts they’ve given you on the sale tables not to take offense. At one sale there were two bars of olive oil soap Jim and I brought back from Italy for Brookie and another neighbor, Judy. Forewarned, I wasn’t offended.
Nine: Gather cash and change.
Ten: Tell everyone, all day long, that after a certain time all items will be half price. They can choose to buy now or take their chances and come back later.
There are items Eleven through about Forty-Five. But you get the idea.
Lynda and I took all of Brookie’s experience and applied it. We were ready for the hoards.
What I found out is having a garage sale in Palm Harbor, Florida is a different kettle of fish. In Barrington, Illinois we got CROWDS. It was a feeding frenzy. It took six of us to manage the sales.
Palm Harbor, Florida…not so much. But that’s good because I got to spend time gabbing with Lynda and Erika. Plus, the garage got cleaned out and I have a small pile of cash in my “locker”—a fancy, hand-painted box I gave Jim for his birthday years ago. Then I usurped it. My bad.
At the end of the day we sold $3000 worth of stuff for $247.75. Yup, I’m a rock star business woman.