Over the weekend I held a Garage Sale.
I have never ever been interested in them, I have never thought I’d want to have one yet here I am writing about it. What I can say is this. It was a new experience that I can check off on my long list of life experiences to have. No I don’t feel the need to have one again.
I decided early on that if I were to do this, I’d want to do it right. So in addition to making sure what I wanted to sell was of quality, I also did what comes naturally to me – I researched how to have a Garage Sale.
I learned a bit of the psychology behind it so I felt confident we would sell everything! So what did I learn?
I learnt to sit items up high – people don’t like to bend down to look at things on the ground – no problem, I had tables and chairs.
I learnt to structure the flow – so I had price ranges set out.
I learnt you needed to draw people in so have a tub of ‘free stuff’ at the back of the garage with a big sign – I did this, complete with BIG sign to make sure it was seen.
We held the sale on a Saturday because some source told me it was the best day.
I made sure it was not a long weekend so people would be ‘around’.
I made sure I had nice big signs up to advertise around the streets that listed key items – children’s toys etc.
I advertised online and I thought for sure I would sell the kids toys, isn’t that one of the big ticket items?
I made a point to remind SB to smile brightly to welcome people in, make good eye contact and strike up conversation – that makes people spend money! (apparently).
So how did it go?
Hmmm, thanks for that. I feel totally awesome about having strangers come into my space now, yeah awesome!
‘The serious people are lined up from 5.30am, they start early so be prepared’. Yes another wonderful piece of not so accurate advice….
The children have been so over-indulged through their short lives that the largest pile in my ultimate pile of stuff to sell was the toys. However FB and BB were having trouble understanding that they just cannot keep every single tiny thing they have ever owned – forever. Early items added to my pile were seen and stand-offs ensued. I needed a better way. My solution was simple; I was stealthy in my approach. As the children were distracted in activities I cleaned out their rooms with a gusto rarely seen. I then cleverly covered my stash up with a bed sheet creating an air of mystery. This was further enhanced when my curious BB would touch the sheet, flap it a little and lean against it in an effort to identify the treasure hidden underneath. I would stay in a stern voice ‘leave that along BB that is NOT for you to play with’.
On the day of the Garage Sale we were up early and the doors were open well before the advertised time, for those ‘serious types’.
I was ready!
I had my music on, my coffee in hand and my face had warmed up from its slumber enough to smile brightly to welcome buyers in.
Waiting…..waiting…..waiting…..finally at 7am – when I advertised it would start people started to arrive. I stood to welcome them, smiling, engaging – good eye contact if they let me. Pleasant chit-chat if they cared.
So did my research efforts pay off? Well, let’s see…
I was out of bed and awake unnecessarily early…that’s not pleasant for anyone really.
I tried to sell SB’s cement mixer – twice, much to his disgust. That soon got covered up for protection from prying eyes around SB’s workshop.
I didn’t sell the bar fridge on two occasions – much to the disgust of SB again (I really did not think it was ethically ok to sell an old banged up fridge).
I accidentally sold SB’s rare antique urn for $10, when it was worth about $90. I got into a little trouble over that. But in my defense, if it is THAT precious why is it hidden away on a shelf in the garage gathering dust??
There was the chap who just came to scope out the free stuff. OK I know I put it out to be free but really? Just a courtesy look around is polite.
There was the lady who after a brief look around turned to me and asked ‘has all the good stuff been sold already?’ WTF? Pardon the profanity. I smiled sweetly and asked if she was after anything in particular.
I got given very helpful advice by a ‘garage sale regular’ who advised me Sunday’s were the best day. That the following weekend which is to be a long weekend would be a great time, and whose piteous look suggested it was evident I did not know what I was doing.
Finally while I did sell stuff, I was left with all the toys still sitting there! No one came for the toys!
The Tidy Up
The end of the sale finally arrived. As I was tidying up the garage FB wanders in, sees one of her toys that she has NEVER played with, pointed and said ‘that’s mine! You are very VERY naughty mummy!’ The guilt rose like a wave so I did what all responsible mothers do – I lied. I told her I was just cleaning the toys up; they were all safe and sound…and sure she could take it inside to play with…