Garage sales are just minor blips on the activity schedule of most families. Whatever is cluttering up closets, the basement, or the garage and may have any value at all goes up for grabs. What’s left often goes to Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or the trash collector.
At our place, a garage sale is a big deal.
This year was the 10th annual community-wide sale sponsored by Ed Giffels, a real estate agent who is one of our neighbors. Giffels gives a yard sign to each participant, pays for advertising, and even provides maps to guide visitors to sale locations. He deserves a real estate commission or several as repayment, and he probably is rewarded. At the very least, the annual event acquaints or reacquaints a lot of people with the location of our community and what the homes look like.
This time, 52 families participated in the one-day event. So many visitors showed up that traffic jams clogged neighborhood streets in several places at various times. At our sale, 167 people bought one or more items, ranging from a 32-foot ladder that went for $100 to a cookie cutter shaped like an elf that brought in 25 cents.
We've participated in the community sale for four years. You’d think we would be just about out of used stuff to sell, yet total sales this time were the best ever. And we have enough items to have another go at it next year. That probably is due to three factors:
1. Beautiful wife Sandy plans and supervises the sale at our place. Because of her merchandising skill she is becoming known locally as the “queen of garage sales,” and also is referred to as “commander” by her team members. She gets many compliments from visitors on the quality of our items and displays.
2. The “team” contributes items and also staffs our sale. Members are son Lee, his fiancée Karen, Karen’s mother Ilse, and last and least, me. Pay is lunch and dinner provided by
on sale day. Thus, sale day is somewhat
of a family social event.
3. The previous (and only) owners of our home unwittingly supported endless annual sales when they included an over-sized garage in the house design. They probably intended it to hold two vehicles plus a boat, golf cart, or both. We have one car, no boat, and no golf cart. We can store all sorts of stuff in the bonus space with no problem. Although we sent one item to the trash after this year’s sale,
boxed up almost all other leftovers. The boxes will stay out of the way in the
garage ready to be unpacked for the 2014 sale.
|Sandy's sale area even is prepared for rain, thanks to tents supplied by Lee and Karen. Ilse is the chief cashier.|
The geezer should have learned long ago not to questions
Sandy’s decisions, but
after last year’s sale I weakened. We had remodeled our kitchen and one big
leftover was the old sink. It was a rather large, white enameled, cast iron
model—free of cracks and chips, but, frankly, not very appealing. It didn't
sell or attract much interest on sale day, and it wouldn't fit in a box as a
normal holdover item. After tripping over it or having to move it a time or two
on routine garage errands, I suggested the trash was the proper place for the
old kitchen sink.
said. “That sink will sell.”
“Nonsense,” I grumbled. “Who would want that old thing?”
To prove her point,
advertised the sink on Craigslist, and it sold within a week for $200. The
buyer was delighted with his purchase.
In matters of used-item merchandising, it is unwise to question the judgment of garage sale “queens” or “commanders.”