Tuesday, August 14, 2007

[Sigh of relief]

I'd like to proudly announce that this is what my newly cleaned and organized garage looks like:

I'd like to say that, but dang it, I can't. At the moment, it's still pretty cluttered with yard sale leftovers. I put up a couple of tables and displays out on the driveway, but kept most of it inside the garage on tables and shelving so that people would be able to browse in comfort despite the 2,000 degree temperature we were having on Saturday. I still need to box and bag the unsold items and call D.I. to come for a pick up. (It's a truck-full; they'll make a special trip.) I'm hoping to get to that this Saturday, but I've got two books I have to finish this week and the LDSBA convention, so...we'll see.

Overall, the sale was okay. If I had done all that work simply to make money from the yard sale, I would have been disappointed. It took a total of 61 hours, and I made well below minimum wage. However, the yard sale was simply an afterthought. I did all that work to clean out my garage, so that I will now have room to clean out my house, so that then I will have room to work and write and create and BREATHE. That is priceless and well worth the effort even if I hadn't made a dime.

For those of you who are thinking about doing a yard sale, here are some observations.

Things I Would Do Differently:
  1. Decide to have the sale early enough that you can get an ad in the local paper. All my traffic came from five little signs on street corners. I got quite a bit, but could have probably had twice that if I'd been in the paper.
  2. All the clothes were in boxes, requiring people to dig through them. As you can imagine, they didn't. I sold very little clothing--which is too bad because a lot of it was in really good condition, brand names, jeans, sweaters, women's suits, etc. Good stuff, but there is just no easy way to display clothing in your front yard.
  3. I had five tables, three large shelving units, two bookcases. That was not nearly enough room to display everything.
  4. I tagged almost everything; took a couple of hours to do that and I got several paper cuts. The tags didn't seem to make a difference. Everyone still asked me how much something was when the neon sticker was right there glaring at them. I'm wondering if I wouldn't have done just as well if I'd just put out a sign that said "Make me an offer."

Things I Did Well:
  1. My signs were easy to read, on neon posterboard with paint sticks for posts.
  2. I lined my front sidewalk with stuff and put a big sign that said "Everything on this sidewalk is FREE!" People would stop to look at that and then feel guilty to just take the free stuff, so they'd wander over to see my other stuff too.
  3. I tried to put like items together so people could easily find things they were interested in.
  4. I was more interested in getting rid of stuff than in making money, so I was willing to bargain.
Summation: Will I do this again? Not this year. It's like having a baby. You have to forget how hard it was before you're willing to try it again.

Now playing on my iPod: Free Ride by Edgar Winter Group


Sandra said...

One place I like is freecycle. There is a group in Provo and one in Lehi. Go to Yahoo groups and do a search for freecycle. If you want to take the time to post what you have, then people that need it will come and take it off of your hands for you.

I got some rocks for my front yard and a wishing well for the fairy garden. And a swing for Hunter to use at my house. I am going to muck out my sewing room and list most of what is there. Then if someone doesn't take, I will take it to DI

Jen said...

Well, good job! Your garage looks great, wanna try your hand at my garage?

Leslie said...

Love the idea of the free stuff to sort of lure them in! So glad you survived your sale.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Yeah, I was starting to wonder if you were alive over there, as you hadn't updated your blog for a few days!

I know I'm enjoying the things I picked up. And isn't it great to have that breathing room? There's something so theraputic about getting rid of stuff.

Judy Thomas said...

Thanks for coming by and visiting.. and for linking to the contest. Good luck. When you get through organizing your garage.. we have a shop down here is you are terribly bored ;-)

Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...

The garage looks great, Karlene.

By the way, you are invited to join the LDS Blog Webring I set up. You may do by going to my blogspot, locating the webring on the righthand side of the page and clicking on Join. Hope to see you come aboard.

Be sure to insert the code on your blogspot right after signing up or it halts the progression of the webring as people click on next.