Had a garage sale and survived!!


Over the weekend, we had a garage sale. I know, I know … what were we thinking? But our brother-in-law was having one and we were making piles for the Goodwill and it just sort of happened. Now before you tell me we should have stayed strong and not ventured forth with this absurd idea, I’m glad we did it. I really am, I swear.

Here’s the deal. We were trying to get rid of this stuff, like for years! But we’re always so busy, we never create the time to go through our stuff. And, in our defense, we had big stuff, like TV’s, electronics, desk, entertainment center … stuff that wasn’t junk, people! We emptied the attic with stuff we put up there a decade ago. I’m pretty sure we didn’t need the once-gorgeous Emmaljunga carriage stroller that our nearly 6 foot tall son once rode in.


A garage sale date turned a dreaded chore into a definite project with a timeline and a potential financial payoff.  We were relentless in our purging. I mean, nothing was sacred in our garage. I grabbed a cooler and Darling Husband mentioned that we still use that. I replied, “Not lately” and hoisted it into the inventory pile.  Ooh, and in our organizing I ran across a bin of pictures and found a picture of my very first car, which I blogged about recently.

We struggle with getting our children to part with their toys, especially my daughter with her stuffed animals. (She has hundreds!) My husband, William, and I are to blame for this. Some people might like to call us pack-rats. I prefer to say we’re extraordinarily non-wasteful. ~ahem~ In any case, the kids inherited our reluctance to part with our things. But more and more I realize that what I’m holding onto is not the thing but the memory attached to it. (Light bulb on … cue epiphany music)

Naturally, the kids were not fully on board with this ‘getting rid of everything we love in life’ plan. That is, until I mentioned that whatever they sold of their own toys, games and stuffed animals, they could keep the profits. All of a sudden, some of those items weren’t so precious anymore. Although, daughter may have hurt some of her sales as she was lovingly petting a stuffed puppy on her table.  No one wanted to take it from her. And our son was so appalled that we wanted to sell the Gamecube that he made me price it quite high so it wouldn’t sell and he could take it back home. Um, it’s currently in his room someplace with all the other stuff he couldn’t part with.  But they both made some cash, so all is good.


The best part of the day was selling the books. I know, it’s hard to believe I could enjoy this but I had already loved these books.  My table looked like a mini-library. I had them separated by genre and could suggest titles when I inquired about a buyers reading interests.  It was Ginger’s Book Emporium and we sold most of them. (See the cute woman in the picture above — that was me only I was wearing 2 pairs of pants, my lucky knee-hi socks from Ireland, 3 shirts, scarf, down vest, hat and gloves. Just want you to imagine the picture in reality.)

Will we have another garage sale? I don’t know. I won’t rule it out. I’ve learned some things and hey, I came home with a chenille blanket, a cool shirt and a hanging decorative votive holder.  Bonus!  Oh, and we did make some Christmas cash on the stuff we sold and we’ll get the tax benefit for the rest, which we donated.  Even though it was SO cold that I couldn’t feel my face or my feet for many hours, all was not lost!

So tell me, do you go to garage sales? What do you look for? Do you bargain? Or, do you have any tips in case I have another wild hair idea to try my luck at another garage sale? Come on, tell me I wasn’t crazy!


About Ginger Calem

I never met a notebook I didn't want to buy. Pens speak to me. Sticky notes are dear to my heart. Some of my best friends are those clambering in my head trying to get onto the page. And when they have their stories told, and I release them to the world, I hope they'll be your friends too.

Posted on December 12, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. I was the garage sale queen until I filled my house and the kids moved out. Now I try to avoid buying extra stuff.
    Good for you selling your things! I need to unload…..
    Great post~

  2. You guys did GREAT! I love yard sales and have a healthy respect for people who host them because they are a TON of work but well worth it. Hubby and I love venturing around in the summer hitting yard sales where he bargains his butt off (I just pay the darn sticker price if I want it). 🙂 They are sooo much FUN!!!

  3. I can sure relate to this post. We recently had a yard sale and sold some large items, too, tons of clothes and misc. stuff. I didn’t sell any books, though, but I need to force myself to do that at the next one we have. They take up so much room, but I hate to part with my books! People were looking for a good deal and offered us less, so we did take less for many items. Some people paid for the clothes in change. We were only asking 25 cents and there were some little kids that I just told them to pick another one. Kids are so cute at garage sales. Their eyes light up and they want to buy all kinds of junk that they have no use for, except as a gift for one of their parents or siblings! So sweet!

  4. Personally, I like to cruise garage sales for really good vomit-covered strollers. Who wants those characterless squeeky clean ones? I mean your kid would come out of it all prissy and weird. Shudder!

  5. Okay. So you thought I was a Martian merely visiting here from a foreign planet and this comment will prove you’re correct, but — Geeeeezzzzeeee I hate garage sales. My husband loves everything about them. Over the years we’ve, er, negotiated a truce with these two rules: (1) No matter what he SHALL NOT bring anything into our home from a garage sale (we have way too much stuff here already!); and (2) Anything that leaves our home for the neighborhood garage sale absolutely, positively, never, ever, ever can come back inside!!!

  6. Shannon Esposito

    LOL @ Diane! My hubby is the king of garage sales…meaning, he can talk anyone into buying anything! I don’t do anything but put the little colored price stickers on stuff and let him go. He’s up at 4 am putting the stuff out, flagging people down, etc. The bad thing is, though, he gets so excited, he keeps coming back into the house to find more stuff to sell. I have to guard my books at that point 🙂 You’re such a better person that I am to actually share your books, Ginger.

  7. Doesn’t it feel great to sweep out the old and make way for the new–while earning money in the process?

    My only regret from garage sales past was selling a bunch of my girls’ once-loved stuffed animals to a man who revealed, after he’d bought them, that they were destined to be his dog’s chew toys. The guilt lingers.

  8. Love all you comments. Diane, you crack me up! We didn’t know anything about having one but our BIL is a pro. Has this whole set up and he was out in the yard at about 4 am. We showed up after 6. Haha! Parting with the books is hard but trust me, my bookcase looks as if I didn’t sell a single one.

    Pat — that is awful! He should have pretending they were going to his precious child or to a cancer treatment center or something. I might have bought them back at a profit to him.

  9. Gargage sale? In the winter? At Christmas? Are you insane?

    That said, I’m not a garage sale shopper, but I do frequent thrift and second hand stores. I’m not opposed to other people’s cast offs, just haggling over the price in someone’s yard.

    My family had a garage sale a couple of years ago because we were going to move across the country. We sold quite a few things, including some furniture pieces I now wish we had back. Four days before closing, the buyers backed out of the deal so our house ended up not selling. We “moved” back into the same house we just packed up to get out of. I no longer had a place for certain items because I had sold them at the garage sale. For instance, all of my cd’s, record albums, cassette tapes, and other media are still packed in boxes in the garage because I sold the entertainment center they were housed in.

    We did make some cash to have with us on the move. Unfortunatey we are still living in the same ole house in California, minus some stuff and without enough cash to afford to buy items to replace the ones we just got rid of. (sigh)

    Glad yours was a success though.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Oh no! Your story sounds like a nightmare. Dang! Honestly, I don’t shop garage sales myself. I do tag-along to estate sales with a good friend of mine who love antiques and I’ve picked up some really cool finds. But you are so right … it was too cold and whereas I though close to Christmas might generate more traffic, I think people were already too busy for garage sale hopping.

  10. I love trimming the stuff and the idea of a garage sale, but I always want someone else to host it! Ha ha.
    Glad yours went well!

  11. I really like garage sales, but because I can’t turn down a good deal, I basically have to avoid them. I’d come home with all sorts of things that we don’t need “but we might need them some day.” I would basically be the reverse of the whole point behind a garage/yard sale 🙂

    My mom and I have dickered over price before, but only if we thought something was legitimately priced too high.

  12. There is only one garage sale I go to. It’s in my parents neighborhood and run by the HOA. There is a lot of nice stuff to be found, and they have maps with types of things for sale. Personally, I have limits on what I buy. Wooden or metal furniture, book, and knick knacks. I don’t buy any clothing used, or anything that has fabric. I just don’t want to bring that into my house. And I never have garage sales. I donate to Goodwill. I’m lazy like that.

  13. I’d like to see your outfit for a winter garage sale, Ginger : )
    We always participate in a summer neighborhood garage sale. It’s lots of fun, but all the cash the kids and I make end up being used to purchase other people’s stuff. It’s kind of a big recycling event, actually. The things just change addresses.

    • Mornin’ Fabio! Um, the outfit, I was quite a sight. I did draw the line at wearing my giant safety orange quilted jacket with the purple lining. Warmest jacket ever but, well, not so cute. Love the idea of a neighborhood recycling event. THat just means that you all have really cool stuff and swapping it out means you keep things fresh.

  14. OMG Diane, I so relate to you! Nope, you wouldn’t find me hanging out at garage sales.

    My husband and I just moved last year back to So. California from Phoenix. Did I have a garage sale? Nope. We either gave stuff away, donated or sent it to the dump. A huge trailer load of crap went off to never be seen again. Was that ever a sigh of relief. My husband and I are not hoarders. We purge through our things pretty regularly. But where the heck did all this crap come from, I have no idea. And now that we are living in half the square footage that we came from, oh are we so happy that we got rid of everything.

    I’m sure that you too feel a little lighter Ginger. Where does all this stuff come from? LOL!!!!

  15. Haha, sounds like everything went well! My family and I have never had a garage sale, though I think we have enough stuff stashed around to have plenty of inventory if we ever chose to do so. We are definitely packrats, though not at the extreme Hoarders-level. I shudder to think of the job that we’ll face if we ever sell the house. 😉

  1. Pingback: Caption this photo from the vault « Ginger Calem

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