Garage Sale Post-Mortem: By the Numbers

IMG_7755So happy . . .

It’s over!

The never-again garage sale is over.

And after all that carrying on I did, I have to admit it went so well!

By the numbers:

  • Days involved—about 2 days of hard-core preparation, focused on making items presentable, setting up tables, pricing, and “merchandising.” The sale itself lasted 1 very busy evening from 4-7, 1 exhausting day from 8-3, and 1 mellow morning from 8-noon.
  • Perfect weather—5 days, for set-up and sale—bright sunshine, low humidity, temps in the 70s. If I could be guaranteed this weather, I might have a garage sale every year!
  • Time the first people showed up for the 4 o’clock sale—11 a.m.
  • Time the same people came back for the 4 o’clock sale—3 p.m.
  • Time I finally relented and let them all in—3:55 p.m.
  • Shoppers—hundreds. Everyone who made it to our house, at the end of the road, talked about the traffic and congestion and throngs/hordes/droves of people!
  • Items sold—hundreds, proving the maxim that, “one person’s trash is another’s treasure”!
  • Items sold that gave me pause—a few. My grandmother’s old bed. A beautiful rocker from the farm. A couple of vintage sewing cases. It helped that the buyers seemed to love what they got!
  • Money made—closer to $1000 than $500.
  • Clean-up time—less than 1 hour; so easy because we had so little left!
  • Leftovers—1 box of books, 4 boxes of odds and ends, all to be donated.
  • Back in the garage—1 old chair, 3 larger antiques that I’ll put on Craigslist.
  • Favorite moments—1. A woman from a couple miles away, who has her own big sale every year, pointed at my little porch glider (not for sale) and announced loudly, “THAT’S what I’m looking for!” To which I answered, “I bought that from you last year!” I really did . . .
  • Free time—Not a lot, except on Sunday morning. I spent that time going through boxes of damaged linens that I’ve accumulated, to decide what could be thrown away, what could be recycled into rag rugs (if I ever go that direction with weaving), and what could be cut up to use in other projects. I started thinking about a quilt that would incorporate pretty fragments, especially monograms, from damaged items. I winnowed 5 plastic bins into 1½.

It was a three-day whirlwind. We ate on the fly, gave garden tours, chatted with neighbors, made sure no one took off with our friendly cats, shooed the neighbor kids away. I dug up a piece of my hops vine to send home with a shopper.

We haggled (not really—we gave great prices!), we laughed, we lamented missing out on the sales down the road.

I didn’t get to the neighbor’s for one of her Michigans. I went to only one other sale, after we had closed ours, but I did score some old linens!

So, it’s over. It was more fun than I expected, more profitable than I anticipated, and we divested ourselves of more stuff than I could’ve hoped.

If fact, it went so smoothly I haven’t even felt the need to exclaim “never again.” But I will say, “No time soon!”

56 thoughts on “Garage Sale Post-Mortem: By the Numbers

    • Yes, letting go felt good. I had a pang or two, with some of the sentimental pieces but I know that won’t last! We have room in the garage now, maybe even room for a car!

    • Everybody liked the baskets. The early birds all made a dash for that area of the sale and it was cleaned out within minutes. It’s possible I should’ve made the prices higher! 😉

  1. A successful day for sure with super results. I have had sales before and I understand well all the work before, during and after!!! Looks like you had lovely things to sell.

    • We did have some nice things and we had junk, too (I just don’t post photos of that stuff!) The good weather made all the difference in the world. We never had to worry about rain at all–whew!

  2. Hooray hooray! Things went as I’d hoped with no regrets. That’s wonderful. Now over the next year or two as you look around your home, you can consider whether to do another sale of your own or join with a neighbor. 🙂

  3. Sounds fun and I’m sure I would have wanted some of your things – including the glider. I Really want one! You should make a crazy quilt with the linen bits. I have some old embroidered Chinese linens that are badly stained and that’s what I have planned for them…..They’ve been on a long list of things to do since 1995!

    • I love my glider! I think I will put the crazy quilt idea on my list–I have quite a lot of damaged items with glorious white-on-white monograms, all different letters. I think I could make those the focus and have fun.

  4. Well what do you know…money was made and sounds like a good time was had by all! That lady looking at your glider made me laugh. I was watching your weather…I knew it was good and hoped you were surviving okay. But you did better than that. Your adventure was pleasant and profitable…I’m happy to hear it.

    • Thanks for thinking of me and watching the weather–those good vibes must’ve helped! It did make me crazy, though, to know that allllllll those other people were having sales and I couldn’t go treasure hunting. I know you can relate!

    • Those goodies were scarfed up in the first 20 minutes! People around here love that rustic look. I think we did have nice things and, as always with these sales, even the stuff I didn’t think was nice ended up pleasing the people who wanted/needed it!

  5. Great storytelling! I love that your neighbor wanted to buy back the chair she once had. That’s priceless and worth all your hard work right there.

    It sounds like a tremendous success. I’ve hosted a few garages sales myself as a fundraiser so I know they’re a lot of work, but fun too. I’m so happy its over and that you feel it was worth the effort.

    Hurray for terrific weather, too. That can sure make or break a garage sale.

  6. Wow! Kudos to you! Glad you were rewarded handsomely for your hard work. And, I know your customers got a real extra treat viewing your gardens. They are truly something to behold!

    • You’re so sweet–I thought of you talking about the garden tour while we were giving informal garden tours! We had a good weekend and we’re so glad it’s over . . .

  7. Too funny that your neighbor wanted to buy her own stuff back. 🙂 I have thought about sales like this, but never had the courage. You give me ideas, though, of ways to do it right. I am glad it was so profitable and you had hardly anything left over. Also glad it didn’t rain!

  8. Imagine the fun [and the cash] you would have missed out on if you had stuck to that ‘Never Again!’ It is hard work, it demands so many skills – yet it is fun too – and you clearly had quite a bit!. It is wonderful that so many made it to you at the far end – I wonder what the beginning of the trail was like! And so funny with the neighbour story – poor gal, I feel her pain 🙂

    • The word we got from buyers was that the road on the way to our house was mobbed! Very congested and busy. I haven’t talked to neighbors yet to see how they did but I would imagine everyone had a good weekend. I ran my introvert batteries right down to nothing, though . . .

    • I love those sewing cases! I’ve probably had 10 over the years and have sold all but two of them now. I kept my favorites and now I just need to put them into full service!

  9. Wow! From that picture, even I would have liked your sale. That picnic basket and the little boat-shaped shelf. Goodness. I’m so glad it went well. It continues to amaze me how people show up to sales early. Part of it is because … people show up to sales early, and if they get let in, then people think the good stuff goes. Good for you for holding them off! That’s a long sale, though. Whew. Rest up. Maybe go floating on the lake looking for a monster…

    • The early birds made me a little crazy. I knew all of them from my past sales and from seeing them at other garage sales. They are nice people but very pushy. I actually was standing at the end of my driveway with my arms stretched out so they couldn’t get by! I think it would be unfair to let them in early when the polite people respected my ad!

      • I used to help out with a church sale that brought in antiques and jewelry and the line at the door was pretty amazing. When we opened, some of them really ran in. I was told they were dealers, but I was pretty disgusted by them.

  10. Love your recap! Have never dared hold a garage sale–seems like waaaaay to much work. But you did it and sounds like it was most profitable 🙂 Now I must go back and see what a “Michigan” is. Good to see you again. Sorry to have been gone so long.

  11. Love your favourite moment 🙂 A friend of mine once bought a vase at a thriftshop, took it home, and his wife told him she had dropped it off there the week before…..

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