Saturday morning I had a garage sale. I didn’t have a lot of stuff, but there are some big items that we don’t want to move with us. We’d rather donate them to a Goodwill or other nonprofit–the donation receipt/tax deduction would be worth more than we could probably get in cash. But there are a few issues with donation:
- We have a small hatchback. Only one item at a time will fit into the car (and certain items will not fit at all).
- There aren’t many thrift stores here, and the one close to us has no room to accept large items.
- The big thrift stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army are 1 1/2 hours south of us, requiring a 3-hour round trip (per item–see point #1) down twisty-turny roads that have been recently washed out, with our stuff bungy-corded and sticking out of windows.
Crazy, right? A simple act of donating gently used goods has become the most complicated task. Which brings me back to the garage sale. My brilliant idea was to put everything outside the garage and let people come to us and haul the items away–and pay us to do it! So I placed a classified ad, woke up early to creatively display the items, and waited for my stuff to go away. To make the sale look more substantial to passersby, I spread out clothing, shoes, and odds & ends.
To my surprise, I easily sold three rolling bags made for city folks to use while shopping. Sold them to a woman in an SUV who lives in a rural area. Go figure. All of the smaller items went–even the galvanized steel tubs that had holes poked in the bottom. Yet the IKEA shelves (just six months old!) didn’t sell–and the closest IKEA is six hours away. The sofa chair, the end tables, the desk…they all remain in my garage. Apparently our tastes in furniture don’t agree with the tastes of the rest of the folks in our county. (I’m telling you, my four readers: hipsters in Portland or San Francisco would pay three times what we were charging for the vintage school desk and mid-century end tables!)
But still, I made some good cash by just sitting outside with my crap for four hours. It wouldn’t pay for our motel room during the move (that was my hope), but it would buy us a fancy champagne brunch at a lodge on the Smith River. Plus, I think I’ve found a social services organization who might pick up the items for their newly opened thrift store. They opened after I’d made the garage sale plan, and I’m hoping they can make some money while helping us get rid of stuff. If that works out, we’ll be well on our way to straight-up relaxing until the move. Unless the futon issue is not resolved…but that’s a separate post in itself.
Of course, the entire day was not all rosy. There were a few dark spots. Like when the man put his coffee on a shelf for sale, tried to look at a belt, and knocked over my shelves & my tie display, thus spilling his coffee. He didn’t say a word, but he was visibly FUMING because I apparently had a faulty display that spilled his mocha. I still charged him for the belt–heck, now I had a puddle of chocolate coffee-milk that would attract ants to my garage sale!
Then there were people who would offer me half or one-quarter of the marked price for things, stating that they weren’t worth my asking price. For example, I refused to take 25 cents instead of a dollar, even though I still have the item in my garage. If you insult the quality of items for which I paid full price, do not expect me to participate in your price negotiations. I really don’t need your quarter.
Wow. Even at the time I knew my reaction–which I kept to my inside voice–was ridiculous and that I shouldn’t care so much about the value of stuff I no longer want. But I still felt those feelings. This is exactly why the sale was held on a Saturday morning, while the bf was at work. He doesn’t do well with that sort of situation, so I’ve handled any yard sales and craigslist negotiations for the last few years. Some champagne and eggs should help both of us relax a bit from all that.
*Yes, my entry titles suck. I’m working on improving that. But that might take a while.