HOME: The Great Garage Sale Experiment, Part 2 (Conclusion)

HI everyone! It is finally time to draw a conclusion for the great garage sale experiment. And for that, I have invited a guest writer to shed some light on if the whole experience was truly worth it. The previous post about getting ready for the sale and advice about it is http://www.urbandomesticdiva.com/2010/05/home-great-garage-sale-experiment-part.html.

My guest writer is non other than my sister, Jacki, who joined me for the garage sale and kept my spirits up during the day. She has her own blog focused on being an amazing single mother called http://msmama.wordpress.com/, so please visit when you get a chance!
Here she is!

Hello! I'm Jacki, Flora's sister, and the SingleMama at http://msmama.wordpress.com/

The garage sale: *sigh* One word - JEEZE! I have to admit that I was not nearly as prepared as my sister, the Urban Domestic Diva! There was a day, a few weeks before the sale, when my son and I were cleaning up his play room and we decided on certain items to sell, but aside from that, I was not as proactive as Flora was.

It was the wee hours of the night before the sale and I was slapping pricing stickers on random items that were in different locations in my house - Flora is right, put everything in one spot - GROAN. I was so aggravated and tired that I started pricing items with the same intent I had with the entire pricing ordeal - BE DONE! So, I had books priced at $0.01! Talk about psychological but clearly illogical!

Next morning: Anthony is still in his sweet slumber and I am packing the car. We get to Flora's house and start unloading. Flora says "wow - you really priced this stuff to move!" The kicker? I barely sold $50 worth of stuff, and more than half of that amount was from perfume my mom asked me to sell for her! The key question is, WHY?

It was remarkable, watching people come in and out of the garage, picking up books that were nearly free, and putting them back down. Picking up drapes that were being sold at a steal of a price and whispering to their friend "can you believe they want $9 for this?" <-- $9 for 4 lined panels! But the strange thing is that many people don't have the guts to try negotiate price. I realized this and tried to be assertive by saying "everything is negotiable!" No beans. And then you have the people who want stuff for free. Some people have the audacity to tell you that they don't want to pay; others just steal! STEAL! Someone stole a few $0.10 books and stuffed animals! Come on! Some people let their kids rip stuff off! Other people stole items off of other patron's buggies that had just been purchased! Thievery! It was crazy. And disappointing. AND exhausting.

Was the sale worth it? I donno...the sale, itself, and the work that went into schlepping everything to my sister's house wasn't, but hanging out with my sis and her hubby totally made up for the negative experience of dealing with people who truly wanted stuff for free. And then there was dinner and *much needed* wine afterward...purrr...
...I digress...

Sadly, we all came away from that experience with a very cynical view of humanity. I don't know if location makes a big difference...maybe demographic dictates what people are willing to pay and whether people know a deal if it is sitting on their heads. But, if you advertise in the paper, you end up pulling demographics from all over, so I would bet that location doesn't make a difference. Maybe the lion's share of garage sale goers are people who don't want to pay for much. I have no idea. I know how I am when I go to garage sales, and I don't expect stuff for free! I don't scoff at prices! I may negotiate if I am grabbing a bunch of stuff, but for the most part, I am reasonable. But we didn't get many people like that...how does one get more people like that! Million dollar question, and if you know, please share!

All in all, if you are willing to do a garage sale, make sure you do it with friends/family members and, what the heck, throw in a few Mike's Hard Lemonade to take the edge off!


  1. Thanks Jacki!
    I think I am going to add that generally, I am not sure it is worth it. We made just over $100 for days of work. However, we have what we did not sell marked already and in boxes in the garage. SO if we wish to try again on our own in July, it would be really easy and we can see if there are different results. I will say that maybe pricing things is a bad idea, because if people don't know, they are forced to ask and you can get into negotiations. Also, if you do price things, price things at a couple dollars more than you wish to settle on. It seems people want to feel like they got a deal and you want a fair price. Pricing that way may help keep thing moving and positive-and have a sign that says "All prices negotiable". But next year, I am taking a tax deduction and donating it all and calling it a day!


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