We had a garage sale this past Saturday, our first ever.
It came about through a combination of factors. First, with our lice outbreak a couple of weeks ago, we got in the cleaning mode and realized that there were a few things we no longer needed, so we started making a pile to take to the local thrift store. Which got us looking for extra stuff in the attic and the downstairs storage room. Which got us going on a long-intended but never-started project of turning our downstairs storage room into a gross motor activity room for the kids. Which got us moving some equipment in from the garage. Which… well you get the idea.
The result was that we ended up with a huge pile of stuff that the kids had outgrown or the house no longer needed. Some of it was worth enough to sell online – the kids’ Warhammer 40 K figures (which they never use), an old television (formerly the outdated game console television), and the window air conditioner (which I didn’t even know we had). We traded those old consoles and games for a couple of new games. We took several wagon loads to the library fundraiser sale – documentary DVDs (from when I taught that course), literary textbooks (from when I was in university), medical textbooks (from when my mother-in-law was practising physiotherapy).
The rest we put on the front lawn this past Saturday.
The whole thing isn’t my idea of a good time. It takes a lot of work to set everything up and take most of it down again. It uses up a whole Saturday morning of time when there are other things (many other things) that I could be doing. It mostly involves sitting around waiting for people to find something they like and then lowball a price that was already stupidly low. And, when all is said and done, it doesn’t really make that much money.
On the other hand, the kids had tons of fun. They thoroughly enjoyed being on the sales end of a commercial transaction, and their sales patter was hilarious. Listening to my youngest trying to convince a little old lady to buy his toy police station was better comedy than anything you’ll find on television. And they made enough money to make them happy, or enough to justify a mini spending spree at the toy store down the street anyway.
Today, we deal with the aftermath. I’m renting a truck to take a load to the thrift store and a load or two to the dump. Then I’m finishing up that activity room, organizing the garage, tidying the attic, and giving everything a good clean.
I figure that the whole process (from initial gathering of things through the actual sale to all the cleaning we’ll do today) will likely end up involving something like 20 hours of work and cost us the price of a truck rental. It definitely didn’t bring in 20 hours worth of income, but the kids are happy, the house is clean (well, as clean as it gets), and we have a new activity room.
I think we can call it even.