Monday, June 16, 2008

The Great Garage Sale Post

So, anyway, you are all breathlessly awaiting my Garage Sale round up, eagerly anticipating the "profit made, some lessons learned and some played right" gems.

Well, exhale. Not to say I am about to cast gems at your feet (or would it be eyes with this form of communication?) - but I would hate you to pass out while I recount. It would confuse me. Boredom or holding breath? Anyhow...

The day started early. Very, very early. In fact, it was really wonderful that I carked it at 8.15 the night before because my day started at 1am!!!

I had forgotten all about that whole 1am being available from the morning side as well.

I mean, I knew it well when a young thing and it meant the party was just starting.

I also met 1am when I had a young baby and it was a nonsensical number on the clock that I got to see all too oft.

But I very rarely get to see it as the launching point for a day. This is a good thing. It is a long, long way from sunrise!

1am and I was woken by a nightmare where customers were swarming over the back fence and coming up the stairs. Even though I knew it was illogical it was enough to keep me from resuming my slumber.

Ever true to my rule of "if I can't get back to sleep, get up and do" I got up to worry instead.

1.30am I attempted to go back to bed - only to get up at 2.

I decided to attack a section of the house I had not yet trawled for goodies to sell - the toy box on the front verandah - and immediately struck more pay dirt than I had intended.

Remember the book that I could not find? It appears Mr Nobody tidied it away at some point (along with some pointless papers).

Already I am ahead on the price of the Garage Sale ads with the refund I should get from the library for finally returning a book I have paid for!!!

Of course I will try to read it first this time - "The Idiots Guide to the Perfect Wedding" may have some pointers in there, and as there are theoretical wedding plans afoot and I might need to find out how to idiot proof them before they snowball...

2.30am and I again attempted to sleep again - but like a Jack in the Box, 3am saw me bright eyed and therefore determined that, darn it, I would just have to work it!

The house was clean by 4am - I didn't want to go down to the garage too early, as I knew I would have Eddie, our cat, as a companion, and I wanted to give the local wildlife as much sleep as possible. Animal lovers, rest easy - he preferred to attack me attacking the sale setup to anything gamey.

By 6am I had most of the previous piles into a semblance of order - only some furniture to bring downstairs to solve the two-fold purpose of displaying stock and sale items, and a few boxes of "pay whatever" I was just over going through.

I had failed (deliberately) to put the house number in the ad, and had specified 8am - 4pm ONLY - there were cars crawling along the road outside from 6.30, but I had also rather cleverly failed to put any signs outside to give any clue that it was OUR house because I believed I would appreciate the courtesy of the early birds biding their time.

7.30am and the furniture was down. 7.45am and our breakfast was had and a final look around the "store". 7.50am and V headed for the showers.

I rolled up the door at 7.55am and immediately a car park was formed in front of the house. I barely had time to move my own car out of the driveway before about 20 people flocked in for "bargains".

By 8.05am I had made enough sales to enter profit territory. Unfortunately the first things to go was the furniture I had intentions of putting books and mags on, so for the rest of the day I was requiring people to squat in my garage to inspect merchandise.

The greeting was "if there is a price we will start negotiating from there, if there is no price just make an offer". In my garage sale trawling days, that would have been very enticing as I love to bargain. The locals here - meh, not so much. Oh well.

There were a few good sales, a few solid browsers, and a heck of a lot of doing one circuit, asking about the surf ski and heading off to the next garage sale.

About the surf ski? Well, my brother spent many, many shekels as a teenage whippet when he bought it. He was a teenage whippet over 20 years ago. His whippet stature changed to that of a footballer and the surf ski has never been much used since he discovered that it didn't so much ski as submerge when combined with footballer weight.

However, his price in mind was a little too close to what lighter, newer versions go for in the modern era so it was a conversation stopper. One guy did take it for a test drive and proved that, unless you fit the "10 stone" criteria, it had a nasty habit of turning over and going under.

There was a steady stream of custom for the first few hours, and by 11am we were about $75 in profit.

'Salina had her friend from down the road over all morning, and they had a grand time playing dress-ups in my old frocks that had been discovered during the search for sale items.

I had to rein in the girls from prancing about the front lawn waving to all passing cars - they were precocious enough parroting my words of greeting to newcomers, and 'Salina begged me to let her "agotiate" too.

By 12pm we were about $77 in profit.

After lunch, 'Salina went to her friend's house and my girlfriend Deli came for a coffee and a squiz - profits went up by $5 as I happened to have something she fell in love with, and she happens to be a garage sale enthusiast. Don't worry, I did give her mates rates.

Between then and when we rolled down the door at 3.55pm, we only saw one more person and made one more dollar.

So:
  • profit made:
    The ad was $35 and I had a $40 float - after they had been taken out, I still had $83.65 to fritter away (on groceries, as it happened)
    If you add in the refund on the book and the winning TAB ticket I discovered in the clean up, well over $100.

  • lessons learned:
    close the doors at lunchtime,
    don't bother with the afternoon,
    have tables to put stock on to save people the bend. Bent people don't buy.
  • played right:
    not putting on the street number saved us certain harassment,
    getting rid of stuff is cathartic - especially if you pack up unsold stuff immediately and give to charity as you have already emotionally let go,
    getting up early and therefore having it as organised and prettily displayed as I did worked.


It has taken three days for the effects of the 1am start to wear off and the garage is not yet back into pristine order.

There are still plans afoot about trying to flog a few unsold things through the paper, but I delivered 3 boxes to op shops yesterday and have another packed for today.

Glad I have done it? Yep. Doing it again? Not for a while.

Oh - and you know how you comment on a post and click on another comment to see who someone else is and you find something interesting?

Well, when I commented at Magneto Bold Too's yesterday, I found The Hotfessional - and she had a garage sale also - although a far more witty version of events.

16 comments:

Bush Babe (of Granite Glen) said...

Ah hah!!! I knew that book wasn't here... thank goodness! Wonder how many people we'd get at a garage sale at Granite Glen? Cause I reckon we could fill a couple of semis...

Totally agree with the whole 'keep it short and sweet' line of thought.

Glad you finally got there (didn't we plan one of these about 3 years ago?)

:-)
BB

David said...

I loved this post! I was swept into the yard sale mentality as I read it.
Great advise. Afternoons are a waste. Shut down at noon and enjoy your profits.
Well done!

Bettina said...

you did do well!!!

Ree said...

Well, Darlin', you made more than me. After our ad ($23) and signs ($10), we netted about $97.

And ours was 2 days worth!

I loved your recounting of finding the library book...sounds like something I would do. I did find enough yarn to make a friend's new baby a sweater.

Nice to meet you, by the way...thanks for stopping by. :-)

debby said...

I once had a yard sale. I had a pile of little boy's jeans for 25 cents a pair. So you see how I was pricing stuff...it was priced to move,sister. Anyways, this lady came in and picked through stuff and began to argue prices on EVERYTHING. Really aggravating, because I had other people there (lots of children's things are guaranteed big draws here). Anyways, at one point, she was arguing that a pair of jeans had worn knees and she was NOT going to pay a quarter for THOSE. I said, 'I have a cute pair of little boy's shorts for a quarter.' She said she was interested so I took the jeans and cut them off at the knee and handed them too her. She got mad and left. Some garage sale people are just ruthless.

Jen at Semantically driven said...

I had a garage sale about 18 months ago. Our customers really trickled off about midday. Bric-a-brac won't sell. The books were popular but I think bigger ticket items are the go. I didn't have any of those so my profit of about $20 was all I got. The rest of the stuff I didn't sell, I gave away. Oh, and adult clothes aren't very popular either.

tiff said...

Any profit is a good profit, I say.
Also, I can't bring myself to have a garage sale. I'd be too scared that no one would come

Crazed Mom said...

Garage sales must be a world wide obsession! I can't be bothered but I know some folks who get up at 6a.m. every Saturday and go. They park illegally, which does annoy me. I think you are right just go 8-12 in the am cuz the bargain pros are already back at home by then.

Alison said...

Oh my gosh - 1am from the MORNING SIDE! No wonder it took you days to recover.
I am very impressed with you advertising smarts - excluding the house number and tell tale sign was very clever!
Our house isn't garage sale friendly, but our town holds car boot sales about once a year. I've stopped going because I seem to come home with more of junk than I left with, and the girls spend all of the profits on pony rides and the big slides.

Pencil Writer said...

Bravo! You're so right about the timing of the sale! Congrats on the profit, too! I've been personally involved in 2 garage sales in my life. Once back in 1985 and once was it this spring or last fall? Hmmmmmm? Oh, I think this spring. I personally avoid garage sales--I have enough of my own (junk) stuff that I don't need to import.

My in-laws died (mil in 2002, fil 2005) and my husband and bil are still going through their things to "settle the estate". Their parents collected things. Some of them quite worth collecting. (Some of those items have been selling on ebay, thankfully; some at antique bottle shows. Others will probably go the ebay route, too.) At any rate, these two brothers had a garage sale. The first either of them had produced, conducted, suffered through as proprietors of the sale.

As you mentioned, when you post the whereabouts and a specific time for such a sale--and in a small town where everyone knows everyone and in several other small towns around who knew your parents--well just be warned! It wasn't a pretty picture!

People came the evening before the posted sale was to begin. Then when one aunt showed up, she proceeded to give them the scalding of their lives! Why was she not personally invited? Why, if they'd advertized a Saturday Sale, were people there purchasing items the Friday evening previously, etc., etc. She was very incensed. She let them both have it with both barrels--and I might add, she's very capable of doing that well. On top of everything else, after I cautioned VERY strongly against it, these two novice garage sale men allowed people into the house to browse, and then opened up all the out-buildings to their browsing as well. I can't tell you how glad I am that I was not present! I would have had to pack up myself and depart for more sane endeavors.

I think they learned great lessons, however. They did beg for my help in the following garage sale, however--this past spring. It was almost non-existent. Mostly near neighbors stopped by and it was mostly a nostalgia visit, though I think $10 or $20 might have filled the coffer that day.

Hope you're rested now and can enjoy a fresher look at home as a result of all your labors.

Mama Zen said...

I'm glad you made a profit! I have never made enough money to justify the suffering. But, then, I'm a wimp!

Jayne said...

Well done :)
And an extra well done on finding the book and the TAB ticket lol, bonus!

Me & Boo said...

Good Job :) Now you can start stashing stuff away for the next one! I myself like to take mine to the Swap Meet, and drop whatever doesn't sell off at the op shop on the way home. Mind you that requires an early start to get a good spot!

By the way I've tagged you for a meme! Courtesy of Alison

jeanie said...

Thank you David, Bettina, Tiff, Mama Zen & Jayne. I am glad that it is over and I came out aheaderer than I thought!

bush babe - you exagerate on the couple of semis. I can assure you certain family members would drag about a semi-load back from the pile and not want to part! I speak from experience.

Ree - I think without some furniture and a vacuum cleaner going, I would have had a much more dismal day.

Debby - I felt the same way when a few of the offerings were being sniffed at...

Jen - lessons I too have (now) learned!

Crazed Mom - I think it is very much a lifestyle thing that I don't get either.

Alison - a local carboot sale would be great.

Pencil Writer - it can be quite eggshell-y when you are dealing with family goods.

baby~amore' said...

glad you made a profit and had a little fun.
WE want to have a garage sale to de- clutter but I am so unmotivated ... on the idea of a whole day.
Great tips to keep in short and make them wait till 8am by no Number.

Yay on finding the lost book -

Melody said...

Oh man. I feel rather exhausted after reading that!