This weekend was our neighborhood garage sales. Our neighbors put out a sign at the corner, “Grage Sale”. It took everything I had not to take it down. We have a pretty large neighborhood and draw at least a thousand people to the sales. Folks even set up food stands; one guy has a funnel cake stand, like you see at fairs and carnivals. It really is fun to chat with neighbors and meet new people. I saw a lot of my former students from a local college, so it was fun to catch up with them, too.
Last year was our first year participating, and this year I didn’t even think I had enough to have a sale, yet still made close to $200. Whoo hoo!
Which leads to my question…in terms of baby clothes/items, how do you determine what to keep and what to get rid of? My original thinking was to keep a lot in case we have another baby, but what’s the likelihood that baby will be in the same size and season? And what if it’s a girl? Plus, I think shopping for a baby and picturing them in certain outfits was a great pre-bonding experience to get ready for baby. Then I thought I’d keep it all for family members who will have bambinos in the future, but that’s unlikely to happen for a few more years.
What’s the protocol? Gifts? Hand-me-downs? Do people want that stuff back? I ended up checking with family and friends who have littles and put anything I could away for them. We kept key pieces of clothing that had meaning–the outfit Matty came home from the hospital in, the first outfit that Eric’s sister bought when we found out we were expecting, a handful of items that were gifted by special friends and family members, hats and blankets made by family and friends. I felt so guilty getting rid of things, but am I really supposed to keep this 3 mo. onesie forever? Plus, I had tons of stuff I bought at garage sales. So a garage sale seemed a natural remedy to get rid of it all.
I’d also add a few tips:
- Have cold drinks and snacks for sale. The weather reached the low 80’s, so cold drinks were needed. I had a basket of bananas and apples, along with traditional chips and cookies. Many adults bought the fruit, and the mom’s appreciated the chips and cookies for kids who were over the whole garage sale thing. I sold 24 bottles of water, 8 bananas, 5 apples, and 12 packs of chips/cookies. I profited about $20.
- Don’t forget to have bags for people to put their purchases in. You’ll probably need more than you think.
- An apron with pockets is perfect for holding cash. The money goes with you, so you don’t need to worry about a cash box if you need to help someone carry something to the car.
- If things aren’t selling after the first or second big rush of people, mark them down. We had a lamp marked for $15, which got a lot of looks, but no buyers. I marked it to $12, and it sold within 5 minutes. Sometimes people just don’t want to haggle.
- Have a “Free Box”. Or toys on the ground you don’t mind kids playing with. Keeping the kids occupied allows parents to linger longer, therefore buying more.
- Start early. I didn’t start until 9am (I have a toddler, folks) and I missed a huge rush of people who already moved down the street.
- Stay open as late as possible. We had tons of people driving by at 5 and 6pm on their way home from work asking if we were open and coming in to take a look, even though we were simply outside doing some yard work and not having the sale at that time.
- Don’t forget to advertise online. Perhaps an ad early in the week, and another the night before.
Do you garage sale? Growing up, my Mom took me to a lot of garage sales. Back then, things were different. We drove around all morning, stopping at the corners reading tiny signs, and trying to find certain streets. I hated this. I also hated showing up at classmate’s houses. The whole thing was mortifying and I always swore I hated garage sale-ing.
When I was pregnant with Matthew, I used to walk back and forth to work a few times a week. One of our neighbors was having a sale, and I had to 15 minutes to spare, so I decided to check it out. They had tons of baby clothes, brand new with the tags still on, for $.50. They had unopened packs of diapers for a couple of bucks. I was shocked, and admittedly a little hooked. I hit quite a few more sales during the summer, and ended up with enough clothes (more than enough?!) for Matty for the entire first year…all for under $75. All name-brand. 90% of it still had the tags! I’m talking shoes, pants, shirts, a snowsuit, jackets, hats, gloves, everything.
Things have changed since sale-ing with my mom 20 years ago. There’s facebook groups and Craigslist ads for sales, usually with pictures and a complete list of the items they have. I’ve totally googled-mapped addresses and zoomed in far enough to actually see the house, surrounding houses, and make sure it was a nice neighborhood. GPS is a life-saver. I was chatting with a lady this weekend, and she mentioned her sister-in-law uses her iPad with this app to scan credit cards at her garage sales. How hardcore is that?! And maybe people just overshop and have better things to get rid of?
Here’s a few of my awesome finds do far this year.
Old School House Desk. $20
I can’t wait to refinish this. Natural wood? Bright, fun color? Who knows?! It has a small drawer on the side for pencils and paper. It’s a hit.
Little Tykes Work Bench. $10
I bought this a few weeks ago for the sole purpose of keeping Matty occupied while we installed a fence. Worked like a charm. He played with it for hours. And still does every day. **Note: Be sure to check for recalls. Some of the pieces on this were recalled, but had already been replaced by the previous owner, a kindly old grandpa who played with Matty for a solid 20 minutes before loading it in our car. 🙂 The great thing about Little Tykes and Step 2 toys is that they can always be resold for just as much when I’m sick of looking at them.
Summer Clothes. $8
Matty will only wear shorts with “pops” (aka pockets). So I picked up a few new pairs of shorts with pockets. Yes, I’m enabling him, but life is too short for meltdowns over pockets. Pick your battles, people! Thankfully, my husband makes soap for a living, so a quick load of laundry is no biggie. 🙂 I got 5 pairs of shorts and 5 shirts for $8, plus 2 pairs of footed pjs, a winter coat for next year, a 3T sweater for next year, and a medium-weight jacket to replace his now too small one for $9. The light-weight jacket and sweater still had the tags on them…
Robeez Shoes. $4/pair
Brand new. Need I say more?
- How do you determine what baby & kid items to keep?
- Any great garage sale tips?
- Any great garage sale finds?