I have had a garage sale every year since we’ve lived in our home. I really don’t mind them. I organize and price everything while catching up on TV shows, setting up is kind of like organizing therapy (for those of us that like that sort of thing ;)), and I also don’t mind hanging around with a friend chatting while potential buyers come and go.
What I don’t like? People who hover before you’re set up and ready to open, especially when they’re WAAAAAAYYYYY early. When people haggle over something that is more than reasonably priced. When people let their kids destroy what I’m attempting to make money on. And I also don’t like when people sneak away with things that were probably only $1 anyway. (Stealing probably goes without saying, and there have been times that I’ve said, “I guess if they needed it that bad, then good…”, but still. C’mon, people.
Ultimately, though, it should come down to getting the clutter out of your life and deciding if the money you might make is worth the time and effort. That’s where I’m struggling right now. Every year I collect items I no longer want into a “garage sale pile”, and each year I have a sale. I feel good because I’m purging, and getting some money for those things is great, too. Whatever’s left, unless I deem it “too valuable” to donate (in which case it might go into next year’s sale pile or kept or who-knows-what), goes to Goodwill as soon as the sale is over. At the end I’m rid of (most of) it all, one way or another, and there’s money in my pocket.
But for those other months of the year, that pile exists in my basement…my already full and cluttered storage-area of a basement…as CLUTTER. You can simply Google “cost of clutter” to see how financially and emotionally clutter can cost you over the course of the year. I know that it costs me in the form of fights with my husband over all the “stuff” downstairs (his word isn’t always so nice ;)), and in the form of stress, and also as lost time. And booooyyyyy do I need my time! Setting up for the sale might take a full day between pricing and sorting, and the sale itself takes a full day. But aside from that, the more clutter I have in the basement, the more time I wind up having to spend down there organizing and cleaning it all.
The more I “think out loud” the more it seems that having a garage sale probably isn’t worth it.
Not that garage sales can’t be lucrative or a good idea for some people or at some points in our lives. But for me, right NOW, with the stuff I have to sell (nothing large or of major value), probably not. It costs about $25 for a newspaper ad. I might spend $5 or so for sign supplies. Then there’s that whole time/clutter/space issue. And what do I get out of it? Most of the time probably $100-200. I’ve had a couple sales in my life where I made more than $300, I believe. But when you break it down and really look at it, $100 probably isn’t worth the work I put forth to get it.
And with Facebook and CraigsList and eBay, things that I know that I’d sell and make some money from can be listed online. There’s still a time investment so you have to be careful here, too. When I sell on Facebook I don’t meet potential buyers, I make them come to my home. That’s not to be creepy and scary (if they only knew me that thought would make them giggle)…it’s because it’s not worth me loading up my goods, driving across town, waiting for someone (who might not show up), only to make a few dollars.
Today I’m posting some of the better-selling things, like clothes Faith’s outgrown or won’t wear, on Facebook. I went through my garage sale pile a couple weeks ago and just couldn’t bear to donate it all, but the more I think about it, I think I’ll go back through, list some nicer items, and haul the rest to Goodwill. My schedule won’t allow for a sale until June anyway, and I’d love to not have to stare at that mess any longer. Based on past experience listing on Facebook, I’ll still make over $100, won’t have an ad fee, and now I can keep that summer day free to read a book in the sunshine. Sounds good to me!