Garage Sale; Friend or Foe – Ritter Ames Mysteries

Garage Sale; Friend or Foe

I posted this at Laffeinated Ink last month, and slipped a small post in here with a link that somehow got cross-ways between WordPress and Facebook, so I’m adding the post in its entirety here now. It’s that time of year, and we’re getting ready to have a garage sale. Originally, we planned to have it last month, but life and rain got in the way (yes, rain—we’d almost forgotten what it looked like) so things have shifted to probably next month. But it’s gloriously cool today, high to only reach 70 (unbelievable, right?) so I really wish I could sit outside and barter with people as long as they want to come and act like they’re interested in hauling my stuff away.

This will be the first time I’ve had a garage sale that lasted more than one day. Generally, I throw open the doors at seven a.m. on a Saturday morning, and hurry and close them about three p.m., after running down the road to grab all the signs pointing toward our house. I’ve found that eight-hour time frame works pretty well, I still have Sunday to recuperate, I get rid of the biggest bulk of my items, and I don’t have the pickers coming around later with insulting offers to annoy my husband. For me, if the swarm would promise to haul everything away in the early morning I’d just let it go, but hubby holds out for “something” to make our time worth while. Which, of course, means we have to haul the leftovers to the domestic violence resale shop later. Don’t care, as long as it’s gone and I don’t have to see it anymore.

The reason for the two-day—Friday/Saturday—gig, is my kid is moving way away, across the region, and doesn’t want to take anything more than she has to with her. Most to be shipped by Mom Express later. And, like her father, the kiddo wants that elusive something for her time. The jury’s out on whether or not she’ll get it.

Me? I live by the mantra that a garage sale every five or six years does a lot of good things:

1) It creates more square footage in my house. I don’t want to add on, and if the kid is moving again, that means “Mom & Dad Free Storage, Inc.” will be holding her stuff until she gets settled and decides which of the many things she thinks she wants forever will really get shipped to her—and which will stay at “Mom & Dad Free Storage, Inc.” I’m just hoping between what I sell and what she adds, I at least achieve a net zero loss.

2) I get to see all the neighbors at garage sales, and visit in ways we often don’t in a normal busy day. They shop a bit, share a little gossip, and tell me my coffee is great (it should be, I’m a writer, right?). So all that catching up alone is worth the prep work.

3) People are a hoot! I have so much fun watching people shop my junk, and listening to their “serious” questions. They’ll weigh the pros and cons of paying a dime for something I gave twenty bucks for. Seriously. And the questions they ask about things. Amazing! My personal favorite is always, “Has this been used?” I want to smile and respond with, “Of course not. We’re philanthropists who always buy new stuff so we can get pennies on the dollar selling it later at garage sales.” But I don’t, I just smile and say, “Yes, it’s been used, but well taken care of, as you can see.”

Those are the top three. I can list many more, but I’ll wait and provide a wrap up in a later blog post with the jewels I gain from this year’s sale. Enjoy a garage sale this week, or clean out a closet. Each is liberating in its own way.

Do you have a favorite garage sale story you’d like to share?

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