Friday, June 04, 2010


I've been buried, both literally and figuratively, in my yard sale preparations, which at least partially explains my blogging absence - I've been busy sorting/pricing/stacking up junk, and I just haven't had time to tackle any creative projects. I do hope this purge will set me up for a much more crafty summer - both in space as well as (hopefully) a little more funding :) Now if only the rain will hold off!

I find sales to be a double-edged sword - they're a TON of work, with no guarantee of making ANYTHING, and there's always that uber-awkward group of "shoppers" who want to interrogate you about your life, talk you down in price, and otherwise just be a huge pain in the @$$. Despite my firm attention to etiquette, I'm not all that friendly with strangers and don't feel I need to be doling out personal information to be pleasant. Small talk is annoying and uncomfortable.

My yard sale philosophy is this: I priced it at what I want for it. If I wanted less, I'd have priced it less. I'm not forcing you to buy anything, if you don't think it's worth it - move along. I price everything (what I feel is) extremely cheaply, and honestly the tax deduction I'll get dropping it all off at the Goodwill is probably worth a lot more than the quarters you're offering anyways. I pretty much always say no when someone asks if I'll take less on an item.

But on the other side, cash is always important, so if it does work out and you make some money while getting rid of clutter, in what is essentially your free time, then that's pretty valuable, even if your "hourly rate" didn't live up to your expectations. And if you look at the day as an anthropological survey of your culture (or like a visit to it can be kinda amusing.

A few sale tips I learned from years of our 8-family neighborhood sales:

-don't price anything under a quarter. If it's not worth a quarter, it's not worth your time - throw it in a free bag, or get rid of it off the bat. Alternatively, group a bunch of similar stuff together in a bag or box to make it a worthwhile lot. This also serves to cut down the amount/kinds of change you need - just quarters and bills.

-write a little note on the tag of what the item is. This is because of those few little douchebags who actually stoop to switching or removing price tags at garage sales - as if they don't think you remember the hours you spent tagging everything. And yes, I've had it happen. And it's never the really poor people.

-have someone sit with you, preferably someone you can stand to talk to for a whole day. This significantly reduces the awkwardness of staring at your customers as they rifle through your old crap, as well as passes the time more quickly. Potty breaks are also a plus.

-for multi-family sales, assign everyone a different color sharpie to write their tags. when people make purchases, remove the tags and stick them on a page for each color/contributor - at the end, you have an easy record of how much everyone is owed, and you can easily see the items that sold.

-hang clothes when you can. They're easier to look through and people are more likely to spend time actually perusing them than if they had to unfold and dig through piles. It might just be a "Minnesota Nice" thing, but people don't always like to make a huge mess of your carefully folded piles, nor do they really want to re-fold everything they look at - thus, they just skip it - no sale. :(

-candles melt in the sun. If you're in a garage this isn't as big of a deal, but since my sale will be out in the sunny front yard, it's something to remember. Also, the sun MOVES! Tricky devil :) At some point, you'll probably have to move the candles and possibly other plastic items/stickers/etc...Or peel them off the grass/table/other items.

That is all the wisdom I can muster - hopefully I shall emerge rich and relieved after this weekend, ready to kick off some Halloween projects (and blog about them) - GASP - since there are only 150 days left now! EEK!

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