I hate garage sales. In theory, I love them. Put out all your stuff and watch it disappear while you make money. And if you need or want something, you can get it cheap. In practice, it never seems like that. It’s a pain in the neck from pulling all the items out to haggling with people who want your brand new but never used items that cost you $100, but they only want to pay $0.25. Or less.
I was going to do a garage sale this summer. I have so many items that I’m not using anymore that really need to go, from the baby items of the wee ones that I’d never parted with (I still have my pack ‘n play and high chair) to all my riding things (I’ve finally given up on the idea of ever seriously riding again, so it’s time for my tack trunk to find a new home) and beyond. My mom had a garage sale, and I brought a bunch of stuff over there. I’m amazed by how much went during that time, but I was surprised at how little money I made from it. I’m pretty sure items walked off by themselves or my sister and her brother in law “accidentally” kept the money for themselves when I was running the wee ones home from summer school and the like.
I was going to have my own garage sale after that since I already had everything priced. Then the heat wave hit. There was no way I was going to sit outside in 100 degree heat and 95 percent humidity for hours on end with no shade to save me. Call me a wimp. I’m fine with that.
And so my garage has sat full of items that I can’t quite bear to part with for nothing all summer. And I hate it. Then the brilliant Melissa introduced me to a Facebook group in our area that is a buy/sell/trade group. It’s like Craigslist, but you see pictures of everything, you know it’s people in your area, and you can see who is buying a lot of stuff and who is offering for things and never showing up (yes, that happens – and I’ve already been on the receiving end of this one).
I’m in heaven. While this group was in my area technically, the people who are primarily active in it tend to be further from where I live, so it was hard to make arrangements. I was crushed. Then I searched and found another group near me that has people who are right by me doing the same thing. I rejoiced internally.
Every day, I’ve been taking a half hour or so to photograph items that need to leave my home and upload them into an album in Facebook on the group. I describe the item and its condition and how much I want for it. And generally within minutes, I start getting responses from people who are interested in one thing or another. Not all my items are ones people want, and it’s crazy to me what people do and don’t want.
But it’s Awe.Some.
This morning, I have people coming to pick up what feels like half my basement from things I listed yesterday. And I am still getting messages from people asking me to let them know if the sales fall through.
It feels so good to purge, and I love that my items are going to a new home. We take care of our belongings, but I’m still amazed by how many toys we’ve had for up to eight years still have all their pieces. The fact that many of my items are in really good condition helps – but I had four offers on my very well loved mini jumper that I listed on a lark, figuring I’d have to throw it out.
Someone wants every last bit of dress up clothing that I have, bought and given as gifts in the mistaken notion that Little Miss would be a girly girl. Although friends of ours have worn the clothes, Little Miss has mostly ignored them as they sat in the basement. That gold dress on the right? It is a really nice one and has matching cloth heels, and the selling price of $15 isn’t questioned.
And another grandmother who watches her two grandchildren is making her second trek to my house in just a few minutes. She wants to get toys for them to play with when they’re at her house, and I’ll be collecting close to $100 from her for all her new treasures – yet we both feel like we’re getting a great deal, which is what this is all about.
Another woman is coming tomorrow morning and wants all my board books, plus any Dr. Seuss or Sesame Street books I can find. Oh, and she also wants my angelfish rocker. Sweet.
I’ve done garage sales. I’ve tried consignment sales. Nothing is working anywhere near this well. With the consignment sale, I sold way more items, but after the seller fee and the percentage kept by the consignment sale, I didn’t make that much. Today? I’m going to collect 100 percent of the proceeds, and the work was way less.
It can be frustrating sometimes. I had two women who were going to buy all my 2T, 4T and 5T girl clothes and my 5T and 7 boy clothes. That’s a ton of stuff that I’m happy to have go to a new home. At first they were coming one Wednesday and one Thursday. Then both Friday. Then they decided I was too far to drive and canceled entirely. Then they offered to meet me halfway (which I was happy to do since they were buying so much), and I haven’t heard from them since. But that seems to be the rarity, and I know now to avoid that particular buyer.
Best of all, these Facebook groups aren’t just by me. I searched a few other areas, and each one I searched had a Facebook group like this. As one of my sellers told me – and I agree completely – this is way better than Craigslist.
So what are you waiting for, or are you already doing this? Tell me how you purge your house of unwanted items when it’s time.