Notes from a Garage Sale

I didn’t used to hate garage sales.

When I was a kid, my stepmom had a porch sale every weekend until she was reported and had to shut down. A shame, really, since she had a steady stream of customers.
And smart since you always find the stuff you meant to sell after the sale.

When my kids were little, we’d have an annual garage sale. And we’d have fun with it. The kids could sell their toys and keep the money. They’d set up a lemonade stand or sell rice krispy treats. And we’d always order pizza with the first day’s take. Pizza and the TGIF line-up (Full House, Step by Step, Family Matters…) were our own little garage sale tradition.

But now, now I hate garage sales.
I have too much stuff. It’s too much work. Things cost way more than you could ever get for them from a customer off the street and sometimes the haggling can be painful.
How badly (cheaply) do I really want to sell that?!

Mostly it’s an exhausting experience and I don’t have the time.

But I had a garage sale this past weekend. And believe it or not, I’m glad I did. (And not just because I had three stellar walking days with my pedometer app. Seven miles a day! Up and down and around my house! Wow!)


I’d been accumulating stuff for years specifically for a garage sale. I just never had the time to make it happen. Remember, both my kids have moved out and gotten married in the past few years leaving me all kinds of boxes of stuff to sell. The boxes and bags and stacks (and crap) slowly filled up the extra room. The room I’m going to need for Ben.

Ben time is nigh (due date June 25!!!) and that space needs to be nursery-fied. And fast!

My neighbor has an annual garage sale which provided me with dates and the impetus to do it. (Thank you, Shirley!) And now it’s done.


Here are some observations from my weekend of inviting strangers to stop by my house and peruse my stuff for cash (well, quarters):

People buy weird shit. Which obviously led to the counter-thought, people sell weird shit. Thereby, I sell weird shit.


Six Degrees of Life – There were several reunions of sort in my driveway between people who used to work together, knew your mother, dated your brother or lived next door to each other when they were in sixth grade. Awesome! Happy to accommodate! Can you please catch up away from the dishes?


As with my Grocery Store Demo Lady blog, I revisited the public servant experience of getting to know intimate details about people who just really need to share their story with someone, anyone, anywhere, NOW. Free with their fifty cent purchase of a sweater came my undivided attention.


Exchange between my daughter and a customer about an under-the-cupboard multi-media system tagged $10:
Sir: You take five.
Nicole: Fifteen?
Sir: No, five.
Nicole: No. Fifteen.
(He stares intently at the price tag, she stares intently at him.)
Sir: Six?
Nicole: Ten.
Many minutes and counter-offers later, he got it for 8 bucks. But she made him work for it. And if he wouldn’t have paid eight, she’d probably have taken it and put it in her car.
No sale for you!


I do think garage sales are important. They help clean up closets (and entire rooms). They provide a frugal public with items they desire. They create a little bit of income. And they force major donations. That shtuff is NOT coming back in my house.





About Mary Fran Says

I am an artist, crafter, designer and writer. I enjoy working with mixed media-- applying visual and tactile manipulations to telling a story. Not a lot of market for that, though, :), so I'm focusing on short story submissions and novel completions. Yes, plural. Lots of beginnings, too many ideas, not enough focus.
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2 Responses to Notes from a Garage Sale

  1. save yourself the heartache of regret. omg

  2. I loved Nicole’s haggling. At our last garage sale, a man haggled over a dime. Really?! When Caitlin didn’t budge on the 35 cent price (I forget what the item was), he left. Wow!

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