Confessions of a Garage Sale Newbie

I held my first garage sale last weekend.  And lived to tell about it. {Enter your congratulations here!} Seriously.  Having a garage sale is serious work…way more than I anticipated! Our family recently moved into a new house and discovered we had way more stuff than we have room for.  It’s amazing how much you can collect after 6 years of marriage and 2 (almost 3!) kids. So we had the brilliant idea to have a garage sale.

My co-founder, Sara, is a major frugalista…she is always sharing her fabulous garage sale finds. And our contributor, Lianna, wrote a great post on how to become a Garage Sale Queen! It seems like so many people love the excitement of searching for those great things they need (or never knew they needed) at garage sales. I’ll admit I’ve even gotten caught up in the hunt on occasion.  Picture this: sitting in my car in the middle of a thunderstorm, along with 20 other cars, waiting for the clock to magically turn to 8:00 a.m. so that the homeowner will open his garage door and reveal the double jogging stroller I’ve come for. It’s lunacy, but it’s also fun to be the first person to claim that “prize!”

With that in mind, we decided to just “throw together” a garage sale and see what happened.  We borrowed some tables, put out all of our stuff, put prices on it, advertised on Craigslist and Facebook, and opened the garage door. Easy peasy, right?

g sale newbie

NOT!! I really didn’t anticipate how much time it takes to put everything together.  On top of that, nobody told me how difficult it can be to sell your stuff. I have emotional attachment to some of those things. Don’t laugh, but my emotional attachment is to home décor items. I can’t tell you how many times I put this one candle holder in the box and took it out again, trying to decide whether to sell it or not. Don’t get me started on trying to put a price on it! We got it as a wedding gift and it’s had a place in every house we’ve lived in. How do you put a price on those memories?  I know how that sounds, but cut me some slack…I’m also 35 weeks pregnant and extremely emotional about everything!!

Another thing nobody tells you about having a garage sale is how awkward it is to have people come look through your things. I felt this urge to try to “sell” my stuff to people. This is so great because ______.  Your daughter would really love ______.  Even though I don’t want these things anymore, here’s why you should!

We had a few people come and make purchases. We had some others come and not buy anything. The weather was gorgeous (who would’ve thought it would be in the 70’s at the end of July?), so I really didn’t mind sitting outside and chatting with the people who stopped by. My oldest daughter even got into the fun, after her initial disappointment at having to sell some toys. Every time someone would buy something that was hers she’d say, “Oh, they can have that.”  It didn’t take her long to ask how much money she was getting for selling her toys!!

In the end, we sold a few things and boxed up the rest to donate to Goodwill. We accomplished our goal of getting rid of the excess, which was the most important thing. I put some of the toys up for sale on the local Facebook online garage sale pages and found new homes for them.  The jogging stroller I told you about earlier? Sold it too…turns out it had a fixed front wheel, and I prefer a swivel.

I’m glad to have this garage sale over with. Are any of you pros at having garage sales? Are there any tips you can share in case I ever get the crazy idea to have another one? Finally, are there any guesses as to whether I sold or kept that beloved candle holder? 🙂

Kaitlyn Swaim
Kaitlyn is the owner of Cedar Rapids Moms Blog and is an Iowa girl who has been married to her husband, Joshua, since 2007! She’s a busy work-at-home mama to their 5 children: 3 girls and 2 boys! A true Hawkeye, she graduated from the University of Iowa with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, something that comes in handy on a daily basis while trying to raise 5 kids! Her favorite things to do include spending time with her family, cheering on the Hawkeyes, reading a good book, shopping (of course!), and checking out all the activities the Corridor has to offer!


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