Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tales from a Yard Sale

Do you say, "yard sale" or "garage sale?" In Kansas, it was a garage sale. Here in Phoenix, it's a yard sale. Yet nothing's on the yard. Most people here don't even HAVE a yard. (because, to me, a bunch of rocks and a cactus desert landscaping is NOT a yard) Regardless, today I had my "Everything's $1" sale. I highly recommend it. Tons of stuff gone, a pocket full of cash, others blessed by ridiculously cheap prices. Everyone wins!
This all started because of my rebellious computer. I have spent the last month tripping over our old vacuum (we got an awesome new one for Christmas from Mike's parents) and I had finally had it on Sunday, wanting to sell it on Craigslist. But I couldn't take a picture because my computer is on life support. Then my overflowing closet was getting on my nerves. And the bags of kids clothes yet to be listed on Craigslist were crowding my personal space. I was ready to donate it all, until I remembered that I need to earn money for an upcoming girls weekend and that is where the "{mostly} Everything's $1" sale was born.
I posted an ad on Craigslist on Monday and allowed people to come look through my loot before the sale. I made $70 by doing that and all I had to do was open my garage and sit there for 10 minutes while they looked around! A handful of people took the earlybird advantage and it forced me to get my tables set up and relatively organized pretty early. One gal even offered to buy all of the clothes at a discount, but because I knew the clothes would be a huge draw for people, I told her we'd make a deal with whatever was leftover.
For the first two hours Friday, the sale was hoppin'. Tons of people, hardly anyone walked away empty handed, it was great. Until a lady tried sneaking away wearing my bracelet. I saw it on her wrist, so when she walked up to me with 6 items, I asked, "Did you want the bracelet, too?" She acted non-challant (probably surprised that I knew it was under her shirt sleeve) and asked how much it was. "A dollar." (I answered this question 1,000 times that day) She took it off and left it behind. Whatever lady, don't try to swipe my stuff.
Then someone who was interested in my Medela breast pump (I ended up buying a bigger and better one from a girlfriend) returned to purchase it and none of us could find it. SOMEONE TOTALLY STOLE IT! I was so shocked. Some people have such nerve! So my first piece of free advice to you today is this: keep the high priced items close by. I had under 10 items for more than $1 and it didn't occur to me to keep them near me. How naive am I?
Then there was the family who rifled through box after box of kids clothes, came up to me with an overflowing box of items and offered me $10. Uh, no. They tried again: "50 cents each?" Normally, I might have agreed, but since I know that gal is interested in buying the leftovers, I said no. Also, there were some big dollar brands in that box and I was not in the mood to negotiate. $1 each was already an awesome price! (can you tell I'm a little defensive?) Appauled, they picked through the box, pulled 8 items, gave me $8 and left the rest. There were probably 40-50 items in that box and she wanted to give me $10? Um, no.
But what really kills me is what I realized late yesterday. I had thrown a bunch of "free" items in my beautiful wicker laundry basket. I remember people grabbing items from it throughout the day, but somewhere along the way, someone took the whole basket. MY BASKET! I don't remember them walking away with it, and can KIND of see how a big "free" sign on a basket full of stuff may have been misinterpretted as the basket itself being free, but still. I am so sad that they took my basket. The pump doesn't need to be replaced. I was annoyed, but I'm over it. But my laundry basket? I use that thing every day! And now I need to take my precious sale profits to go buy a new one. So. Bummed.
That's my second piece of free advice for the day: if you're going to have a "free" basket, use a cardboard box.
I'm glad I had the sale. I think I made around $200 when all was said and done (including the buyers through the week) and I got rid of a ton of needless stuff, including the vacuum that started it all. "Everything's $1" yard sales are the way to go. Get rid of it all, I say!
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Teresa said...

So glad the sale went so well! I'm sorry some people were rude and greedy. Like you said, you'd think they'd be happy to be getting such a great deal as it was! Oh well. Have fun on your girls weekend - with all the loot. :)

DutchMac said...

So jealous! There are weird laws here about it not being legal to do things like that, except for Queen's Day at the end of April .... when I have something else pencilled in. What was that again? Oh yes, bringing new life into the world!

Glad you had a (mostly) successful sales event.


Raquel, The Glamorous Life said...

wow that stinks about someone stealing your pump and your basket. but sounds like a good day overall, it is always nice to make some cash. i am going to particapate in a local consignment sale in the spring

Nikki said...

I'm glad that overall it was still a success. Some people are just rude and want everything for nothing.

dawn said...

My kids organized their own garage sale last Sept. and decided to finally get rid of their polly pockets, pet shops,barbies, dolls,spiderman, Buzz lightyear, Batman, etc. toys. They took everything out, priced them with my help, set up their tables, made signs and everything. They were so happy and proud of themselves. The customers were so kind to the kids and bought extra that I know they didn't need. My husband put a table of fresh veggies from his garden out too and made some mone. They all made about $60 each and loved every minute it. Sorry you had a couple rought spots but turned out ok in the end.

Tracey said...

My parents used to do garage sales all the time when I was growing up. I just loved those people that tried to bargain with you. Like the time someone offered a dime on a something that was marked $.25. Seriously?!?!?!

The Taskers said...

Love the Everything's a Dollar concept. Yard Sales bring out the loonies, thats for sure. We participated in our neighborhood sale last year and I personally loved the people who would come up and discuss between themselves, in Spanish, including calling me some choice things - never knowing that I could understand every word they said. The more they talked bad about me, the stauncher my resolve was to not discount anything, and they never knew.

HeathahLee said...

I have learned through helping my friend Kat that you always have two people at a yard sale. One to take the money and one to keep an eye on your stuff. I was helping her one day and some ladies decided they wanted to take more t-shirts than they had paid for. Come on, people!

I'm glad you made some money!

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