Thursday, April 17th, 2014

10 things I learned by having a garage sale

If you enjoy people watching, there’s one activity that surpasses all others.
Garage sales. They’re the holy ground of all people-watching events.
A couple weeks ago, I convinced my mom and dad to hold a garage sale after they received a flyer in the mail advertising a neighborhood-wide sale.
My parents haven’t held a garage sale in probably 30 years. As empty nesters, they live in a house with more room than they need and more stuff filling up that space than they ever knew. My mom began going through all their belongings, and before they knew it, they had enough for a sale.
Because she worked during the days of the sale, I filled in for her. During the course of those three days, I met the most diverse group of people, whether it was the older gentleman who only was looking for things that featured owls, or the woman who collected antique dolls and struggled over whice ones she would buy on a limited budget because she “didn’t want to separate them.”
Here are 10 things I learned through my garage sale experience:
1. Your junk really can be someone else’s treasure.
2. It’s possible to get offended when other people see your junk as, well, junk.
3. Owls and porcelain dolls can be a little creepy.
4. Some people like creepy.
5. No matter how cheap you think you mark an item, someone always will try to talk you down to an even cheaper price.
6. It’s usually not appropriate to say, “If I wanted to give it away for free, I would have given it away for free.” Usually inappropriate, I said. Not always.
7. Even though a garage sale may open at 9 a.m., don’t open your garage door unless you want to start the sale then. Our garage sale began promptly at 8:12 a.m.
8. Don’t assume something will sell, while something else won’t. You’d be surprised what people will buy at garage sales. I once saw underwear at another sale. That’s right, underwear.
9. Don’t be afraid of being happy when you know something is going to a good home. I sold a dresser I grew up with as a child. The buyers – a young family with two children and one on the way. We also sold two desks my sister and I used as children. The buyers were a family with two young girls. The dad brought the girls back so they could first inspect the desks and decide who was going to take which one. It reminded me of my sister and me as young girls.
10. Don’t be afraid to get rid of belongings if you just don’t have the room for them anymore. It’s difficult to not get emotionally attached to the things you’re selling, but remind yourself you’re selling items, not the memories associated with them.

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