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Monday, May 11, 2015

The Garage Sale Report

No matter how much time you spend preparing, it’s utter chaos once you open your doors to garage sale hounds.

I was thorough, pricing (almost) everything, sorting, grouping, and even staging certain pieces together so people could see how they could be used.

Despite living in the middle of nowhere, we were mobbed. Some people returned several times a day and even the following weekend. 

It was just as well, even though we moved the overflow outside, there was still stuff in the back that we didn’t bring out until we had more room.

The photos can't do it justice. By the time I had a chance to take a few pics, half the stuff was already gone and disheveled once again.

There were two comments people kept making throughout the sale.
  1.  Our prices were incredibly low.
  2.  We had the most unique assortment of things they’d ever seen.
What can I say? We’re eccentric eclectic collectors. 

Eventually, we did have a few book buyers, but most of them went for nonfiction. (Is that a hint for me?) The other popular subject was military historical novels. That’s what Greg reads. Only one person picked up a romance novel.

What went first?

Almost all of Greg’s stuff. Chain saws. Mowers. His mountain bike. All our camping gear. The other big sellers were housewares, gadgets, small appliances, and plastic storage containers.

Some of you might remember when I did a post about changing out most of my plastic containers for glass.  

I finally got my chance to get rid of the excess. I sold stuff by the box load: Christmas, overused canning jars, and plastic. Then I marked the whole box for a dollar. Those things literally ran out the door.

Décor moved the slowest which surprised me because everything was pristine. The kitschy pieces went first and then the more traditional stuff.

We had a few pieces of antique furniture that sold to the same person. We still have two sideboards and two dining tables in the house I need to sell, but I’ll put them up on Craigslist.

What didn’t sell? Two glass and iron end tables. I thought they’d be great indoors or out, but no one wanted them. 

…and just as I’m writing this, I got a text from a lady who took our number. She wants them. Huzzah! 

Nobody wants me!
Still, the lone albatross was an exercise machine, priced at a steal. As Mike Keyton rightly pointed out on Facebook: Why do I even own an exercise machine?  

Good question, Mike. Good question.
Loved this. Wish I had a spot for it.

Anyway, it all went well, though that hard-earned money might have to be donated to the vet today. Iko hasn’t been feeling well. We've had some severe storms lately, and he chews when he’s nervous.

This time he chewed up his dog bed and ate a lot of the stuffing. I’ve been treating him at home, but I’m considering taking him to the vet just to make sure he’s okay. Impaction can kill a dog, and I like my Iko alive. 

Have you ever had a garage sale? What was your experience like?

By the way, I wrote an ebook on garage sales if you're interested in getting an insider's secrets. It covers both shopping a sale and holding one. It's called Garage Sale Bible.


B.E. Sanderson said...

Yay for a successful sale! I'm so glad you got most of your stuff sold. It's horrible when you hold a garage sale and no one shows. Been there, done that. Maybe if I'd had your bible. But that was ages ago. My last few garage sales were actually moving sales. Those seem to do better because people know you're desperate to get rid of things you'd rather not move. Our last move - and last sale ever - was in a rush (quick real estate transaction), so I didn't put together a sale. I just gave everything away that we didn't want to move. I still miss some of that stuff.

Sorry to hear about your dog. I hope he'll be fine with minimal vet bills. :hugs:

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I hope Iko's doing okay now.

I enjoy wandering around really good garage sales - like yours! - but I try not to bring too much stuff home unless it's some funky piece I just love.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said... many times friends teased me about my Bow Flex. I DID use it a few times.

betty said...

You did great! Sorry about Iko; I agree, a visit to the vet.

It is amazing what sales and what doesn't sale at garage sales. Tools always seem like a big item to go; books used to be but not so much any more. I get it with the nonfiction books over the other books, I had that experience too with the last few garage sales I did.

I probably won't have another garage sale in my life since we have so much less stuff now, but I did mention we had several garage sales in clearing out hubby's parents' home. I, like you, learned it is better to price low and get rid of than price high and have no one buy. My purpose was to get rid of things and not have to haul the stuff to Goodwill, etc.


Angela Brown said...

I'm not the best when it comes to garage sales. I don't have much space to add things and when I want something, I tend to want or need it right then lol!! I really need to work on my bargain hunter skills... or lact thereof.

Mike Keyton said...

I hope Iko recovers quickly. I was thinking of you both (you and Greg that is) when we got news of the storms hitting Northern Texas, but your FB posts made no mention of them (until now) that I assumed you'd missed them...or should that be they missed you. Glad it went well.

Melissa McClone said...

Congrats on the great showing! Pricing is key to success, from my limited experience. So glad it went well!

Jackie Burris said...

Maria have only participated in 2 garage sales, one with a couple who were moving from Naval Base in Beeville and one with my SIL in my hometown. Both were organized by them not me and my items went quickly but the sale itself was chaos personified so with that in mind never had one personally at our home.

Iko needs to learn how to chill poor guy, eating stuffing from his bed had to have tasted awful and sure hope he is okay soon!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Congrats on getting rid of some things. Garage sales are never very successful around here though I've never had the quantities you have to sell.

Rebekah Loper said...

Glad it was a success! It's probably a good thing in this case we don't live closer, because it sounds like you had a bunch of stuff I would have taken off your hands, and then the budget would've been broke (we're running on 'fumes' until payday on Thursday, whee), and my house would have been crowded!

Maria Zannini said...

BE: It was a little scary at first because I knew we were off the beaten path, but people came anyway.

The one smart thing we did was hold it on the street that was more visible. We have corner acreage so our property faces two streets.

The street the house is on is a private street and a little harder to notice because of its gravel road.

Maria Zannini said...

Madeline: He 'seems' to be doing better, but he's one of those dogs that hides his discomfort, so I find myself following him around and looking at poop. What a life.


Maria Zannini said...

Mac: And now it's a clothes hamper. I have one of those too.

Maria Zannini said...

Betty: A friend of mine came over today looking for mysteries. I had just boxed all the books up, but if I find them again, I'll drop them off to her. I'd rather someone enjoy them than have them linger boxed away.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: Greg gets mad at me because I will wait YEARS before I get something if it's not the right price. For me, there are very few things I feel I have to have so I can afford to wait.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: They were really bad! Fortunately, we made it through with little damage. I met a friend though who got caught outside in one of the tornadoes. Before it touched down her truck got pelted with hail 3 inches in diameter. It looked like she'd been hit with shrapnel. Her truck was entirely destroyed on one side.

Fortunately, they managed to drive away from the tornado's heading.

Maria Zannini said...

Melissa: It was fun too. We got to meet some new neighbors. Two of them even asked about buying goats.

I won't be able to sell for four months. Hope they're still interested by then.

Maria Zannini said...

Jackie: I wish I had thought ahead and given him a puppy downer. He gets so antsy when the weather turns bad.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: We basically combined two households when Greg moved back. He still has furniture and appliances at the other house. I'm debating whether to bring them up here and have another sale in the fall.

I still have to recover from this sale.

Maria Zannini said...

Rebekah: I always make special deals for friends. :)

What was nice is that the word got around about our sale. Many times, we heard, "so and so told us to come over." That's a nice endorsement.

Jenny Schwartz said...

It sounds chaotic but satisfying :) Poor Iko. My Toby sends his sympathies -- storms are scary stuff

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: Scaredy-dogs need to stick together.

More storms ahead. I'm keeping an eye on him.

Diane Carlisle said...

I would have made you an offer on your entire book collection. Um, OCD... :)

Maria Zannini said...

Diane: I've actually done that on a couple of occasions when I've gone to garage sales.

Though as you can see from 10 boxes of books, I probably overdid it. :)

There was only one time I regretted not asking to buy the whole lot. This guys had boxes and boxes of hard cover SF books. But I was late for an appointment and he had other people milling around. To this day, I regret not buying his stash.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I hated the one garage sale I had. Even with low prices, some people wanted to dicker, and I really really hate that.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: I count on dickerers. Is that a word? :)

Hardly anyone counter offered, but we did give discounts to people who bought a lot of stuff at once.

Danielle L Zecher said...

I really like that tall dresser!

Hubby and I had a garage sale when we were first combining houses, and swore we'd never have another one. It just wasn't worth the hassle for us.

Maria Zannini said...

Danielle: Garage sales are a lot of work! There's no way around it. Aside from the work though, it was fun meeting neighbors.