Parting is such sweet sorrow
This past weekend, I had my first-ever garage sale. Garage sales are an excellent idea. Yes, you make a little cash but it also forces you to make decisions about unused, un-needed articles that should have been tossed some time ago. And now, some fool is willing to pay you cash money for it.
I took the Dave Ramsay Financial Peace University course a while back. He claims that one of the best ways to bring in extra cash is to sell things around the house. It made sense but, I asked myself, what could I sell and what could I part with? All I could think of was the 400 watt amplifier I bought for my truck when I thought I might be able to install it myself.
After getting hosed at Best Buy’s Geek Squad when they upgraded my factory door speakers and after a great deal of research about truck stereos, I bought online the 4-channel amplifier, sub-woofer, sub-woofer enclosure and all the specialty wiring required to make my ears bleed and blow out the back winnder. One sunny Saturday, I dragged everything out into the driveway, prepared to begin the install. It took me no time…. to determine that this was a job for professionals, not a hack with a four-way screwdriver and a roll of duct tape.
When I got to the stereo shop, they were quite impressed with the bits and pieces that few realize are required. I had done really well on the $2.00 wiring connectors but had bought wrong on the largest piece… the amp. They could have installed the one I bought but I would have lost either left-right balance control or front-back fade control. What I needed was a five-channel and another 200 watts.
That 400 watt 4-channel still sits in its box, four years later. It was the only thing that fell into the “Dave Ramsay” category. Until I actually went into the garage. Do you know how much junk you have out there?
I sold 100′ of coaxial cable tv wire, 15′ of garden edging, a box of Cat-5 network cable, a 90% full gallon of Vegetation Killer, a hand spreader, a lawn mower that hasn’t been started in five years, a wheel barrow whose tire keeps going flat, a watering can and two boxes of Armor-All carwash wipes that I was given free when I worked at a Clorox site in Chicago. People will buy anything!
I had my garage sale along with the lady next door, who has them regularly. She has hers Friday and Saturday. I figured Friday would be dead then the madding crowd would arrive Saturday morning. Wrong.
I asked her what time to be ready with all the stuff in the driveway, figuring 9:30 – 10:00. Batting 100… wrong again. She said 8:00am. She was wrong…. more like 7:30am. Don’t these people have a life?
They were all friendly folks, older and seemed quite happy to be sorting through other people’s stuff to work off a greasy breakfast at Waffle House. Some were Pro’s… they would always ask, “What’ll you take for it?” Well, I had spent the previous day labeling everything with prices written on masking-tape labels that I either wanted or thought I could get. After a little while, I changed my prices, increasing them by fifty cents, or making the item $7.00 when I really wanted $5.00. That gave me room to come down and the person thought he was getting a good deal.
The money I lost on the shrewd shoppers, I partially made back by the amateurs who simply accepted what I had written.
If I sold three-quarters of the stuff, at least one-half of it went on Friday before lunch. Saturday had nowhere near the activity that I assumed it would, being the only time that I have ever gone to a Garage Sale. On Saturday, I may have sold about one quarter of my stuff, the later in the day, the more give-away the prices.
I had flower arrangements and framed art that I thought would be among the first to go. They ended up going at a fraction of what I had listed them for and were among the last to go. Garage Sale shoppers are more-than-willing to comment, “You’ve got some really nice stuff here”, but they’re not interested in buying. I think the more broken-down and junky, the more likely to ask, “Will you take four dollars for it?”
It’s tough work, having a garage sale. I brought my laptop out to the garage and hooked up some decent speakers, then listened to Jango commercial-free internet radio all day. When that got too exhausting, I stretched out on an unsold chaise lounge dragged into the shade of the garage in order to recoup my strength for the next haggling session.
All-in-all it was a great exercise. I made some money, unloaded some stuff I wasn’t using and cleaned up my garage. Even the spider seemed happy.