Monday, May 6, 2013

Garage Selling

No I'm not selling my garage but we did spend a day selling out of our garage. Back when we sold one house and bought another one, technically we bought a second house and then later sold the first, we thought about unloading some of our stuff first before moving. But in the end, we decided that since we got a bulk moving rate and it would cost us the same whether we unloaded some stuff first or not, that we might as well move it and decide later. In other words we punted and decided to see what stuff we would use at our new home.

After shuffling cardboard boxes of extra stuff around all last fall and all through the winter, we chose a nice spring weekend a couple weeks ago as D-day and advertised a garage sale. It went well and we made a little over $300 in just under 4 hours which isn't too shabby, especially for stuff that I probably would have paid someone just to take it all.

We advertised as beginning the sale at 8 in the morning but by 7:30, we already had a dozen cars parked in front of our house. By 7:45, we had gotten through with breakfast so I went out to open the garage doors to move all the furniture outside onto the driveway. It was about like opening the car door while under water. I had to wait for all the people to pour through the opening of the garage before I could shuffle the furniture outside.

Because we weren't in the sale for making large amounts of money, we had things priced to sell fast and sell fast it did. I'm guessing that 50% of what we started with was gone in the first hour and about 25% of what we started with gone in the next hour. We probably sold only another 20% of what we started with over the next two hours. Because the trickle of people by then slowed to only one car every fifteen minutes or so, we boxed up the last 5% of stuff, put it in three medium sized moving boxes and it will be going to good will. Besides that, I had a half trashbag full of mostly price signs and some debris that went into the trash bin. There is no doubt about it, holding a garage sale is the environmentally friendly thing to do.

Since we live on the very edge of city limits and for all practical purposes, out in the country, I wasn't sure what kind of crowd we would get. We probably got 300+ cars stop and check out our garage sale which I think was a fantastic turnout. I suspect part of that reason is that we bought the cheapest house in an upscale neighborhood. So when people read the location, they thought we may have been one of the other much much nicer much much bigger homes in the area and suspected we had better stuff to get rid of. They were probably disappointed to see our tiny run down home that I'm fixing up but probably stopped to check out the sale since they were already out here. The other reason I found out belatedly, that one of our neighbors holds a huge annual garage sale every year in early summer and gets people to bring stuff for it from several nearby states. She said her net sales last year was around $4000! Before she stopped by and told me this, I heard several different people mention that when they read our ad in the paper, they thought it was the neighbor's annual garage sale. So we got a few people out here on someone else's reputation. Since she does her sale annually, we gladly told her that we would coincide our with hers if we have another one in the future. It helps us get more customers and we can save another $20 that I paid for the classified ad.

Secretly, I love trying to entice people into buying something they probably don't need but something I want to get rid of. On some of the furniture and other things, we would put a higher price on it than we needed from it and then just kept an eye on it. When someone showed interest, I would tell them that I would make them a deal and slash the price by 25 or 50% right on the spot. They almost always bought it then because it was too good to pass up. Other things though we priced just right and I didn't haggle over them. I sold my push mower since my lawn is way too big to use it to mow unless I have 10 hours of walking up and down the steep hillside free to spend. I priced it to move and within 15 minutes after I opened the door, I had three people digging in their pockets to be the first person to cough up the money I asked for it. The man who hurriedly thrust it in my hand walked away with it and I had another 20 people throughout the day ask if I still had it. I should have asked more.

My daughter has been given an amazing amount of toys for birthdays and holidays over the years and is loathe to part from any of it. I know they were given to her because I certainly didn't buy all that stuff! So I gave her an incentive and told her that any money she made from selling her toys, she could keep and spend any way she desires. She spent a week agonizing over which toys to sell and what to price them for with a little help from us on the pricing part. She was hoping for enough money to buy a barbie doll that she has had her eyes on and by the end of the morning, she had sold every single toy she put up for sale and made $31, more than enough for her doll. I'm proud of her because it teaches her the value of possessions and the power of money all in one fell swoop. I suspect if we have another sale someday, she will be selling a lot more stuff. The downside is that she has asked me several times when she can go shopping!


Bone said...

Yeah, always put a few toys out there. Because some parents will be dragging their kids along and will buy something to keep them quiet. That's my theory anyway.

I'd like to find a good used pushmower!

warren said...

We've been selling stuff on a local facebook group where people trade their junk. It has been great therapy and a few extra bucks is always nice!

Ron said...

I like the idea of garage saleing, on both sides of the deal. It's nice to get rid of things you no longer want or need that are taking up space, and it's nice to get things that you do want or need for next to nothing.

I look forward to being able to have annual sales again.

Vince said...

We have car boot sales. You load the dross crap and tat into the rear of the car. Strap a few 8x4 sheets of ply and a few trestles to the roof rack and you're good to go.
I can't really picture a garage sale. I think people would feel judged if they had one at home.

Ed said...

Bone - It keeps them from rummaging around through the vases and other glass objects.

Warren - For some reason, this part of Iowa seems barren of such things.

Ron - It definitely is environmentally friendly. Everything we wanted to get rid of went to either a good home or to Goodwill. Can't beat that.

Vince - Nothing like that here that I've seen. Generally if someone approached you to sell you something from their trunk (our version of the boot), it is probably something that was stolen!

Three Score and Ten or more said...

We are so movement-challenged right now that we don't have much entertainment. Strangely enough one of those things we do is to go to a garage sale once or twice a month. (Actually Janet has decided to go only to estate sales where we have a better selection of things we don't need.) I told a friend who runs estate sales for a living that he ought to give us major discounts since we are just building up his inventory for the one he will do for us. I haven't been able to do much on line ( I read some face book because it is a NO THINK endeavor) but I am finally working on a post. We'll see if it jells.