Saturday, September 10, 2011

So, I Wanted to Have a Garage Sale...

For almost a year, I have been planning on having a garage sale.  We had one several years ago, and I thought then that I wouldn't do it again.  It's a lot of work, and a big commitment the day of the actual sale to devote your whole day (or days) to standing in your front yard.  Despite, this, I decided it would be a good idea to do it again.  As I cleaned out and pared down room by room, I added things to boxes intended for a garage sale.  The pile of boxes filled up all the floor space in my office, so I moved it to my garage this summer, and started planning.

I guess I decided to have a garage sale again for two main reasons. One, it would get rid of the stuff, and two, it is one way I can earn a little extra money to either help with our goal to pay down debts, or save for Christmas.  I put a lot of time into this, making sure items were clean and set out nicely.  I hung clothes on hangers and put them up so they would be easy to look through.   I went through all the girl baby clothes, keeping only what we wanted for mementos, and decided to sell the rest. I borrowed some tables and set them all out according to size.  I was selling all my maternity clothes too.  Piles of cute shoes, and many many household items. Kitchen things, craft things, books, toys, garage stuff!  Friends of ours who were moving dropped off several boxes to add to the sale.  I had some large furniture items too, a desk, a trundle bed, a stroller and a rocking chair, and even my old car was up for sale that day.

Once I had things all layed out in my garage, we could barely walk in there, and knew we'd be spreading a lot of things out down the driveway in the morning.  It took me about two weeks, working when I had bits and pieces of time, to get all the prep ready.  We kept having to move the day we wanted to have the garage sale, because Shawn's schedule kept changing.  Out of the 10 weekends of summer, he worked 8 1/2 of them.  We finally chose a Sunday, knowing it wasn't the best garage sale day, because it was the only day he would have off in August, and I wasn't putting it all away now that I had it set out!

I had to let the kids entertain themselves a lot in the days leading up to the garage sale, and I'm sure I was short tempered with them, trying to get it all ready.  I had to keep them out of the garage, since they kept whining about the toys they saw in the pile.  I had to make a trip to the bank to have a float ready, and as you might imagine, that is not easy with four kids!

Even though we had agreed on the Sunday, we both felt that a garage sale was a dumb reason to skip church.  That morning, we got up, set out the signs and dragged the tables out to the driveway.  The kids kept coming out and trying to sneak things back into the house, causing me endless frustration.  They went through the things that had been dropped off by our friends and acquired new things.  They tried to chat up every person who came up the driveway.  I tried to send them to play in the back yard, but, left to play unattended and unhappy about not seeing the garage sale, they were stinkers who fought with and bugged each other.  Every few minutes, someone's voice or cry would require attention and Shawn or I would have to go see what was up.  It was a relatively slow day, and at the end of it, all we made was..... $125.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm happy to have $125, but I don't think it was really worth it.

I have a huge pile of boxes left over to take away to Value Village.  I could have been dropping it off bit by bit as I decided to get rid of it through the year, instead of storing it and having to move it around.  After the sale, I rounded up the clothes that I don't wear anymore and gave them to a friend.  I told her to pick what she likes and get rid of the rest however she wants to.  I listed the big items on Kijiji.  While that has some frustrations, like people who say they are coming to pick something up but don't show up, I have sold some of the items and made $50 with less effort.  If I sell the other couple of things that people are interested in, that figure will go up yet.  I sold my old car to my brother, and the desk to a friend.  I set the maternity clothes and baby clothes aside to sell at our mom's group consignment sale in September.  I gave some of the toys and games to the neighbors. Ignoring the housework to get the prep done left me with a huge mess to clean up, on top of having the left over items to deal with.

In the end, I don't think it paid for all the effort and hours that went into the garage sale. Maybe it would have done better if we'd chosen a different day.  My time would have been better spent playing with my kids and enjoying my family that day, and the days I used to prep.  I guess I should have given stuff away bit by bit and sold the other items individually, just as I ended up doing anyway.  I was also looking forward to feeling as though I had done something to earn money for our family, and it's frustrating  and disappointing that I didn't earn more than that.  I don't even want to think about how quickly Shawn would earn that much when he puts in overtime. So after I finish cleaning up from this garage sale, I'll be leaving the money earning up to Shawn, while I focus on the homeschool year.  No more garage sales in the near future!

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