Garage Sale

May 3, 2008 at 10:16 PMJeremy

We had a garage sale today that was wildly successful.  Our church's youth group is having a garage sale fund raiser next weekend, so we were going to just donate everything to them, but I really didn't want to make that many trips to haul all our stuff.  So instead we had a garage sale blitz of our own, with the only real goal of getting rid of at least one piece of furniture.  Instead, we moved a dresser with mirror, a nightstand, shelves, a microwave, a coffee table, and a bunch of other stuff.

I learned a few things while hosting our first garage sale:

1. People. Are. Crazy.  At the last minute Marci decided to advertise our sale, placing an ad in the Waco Trib and on Craigslist.  The Trib ad didn't print until today, and I wasn't sure who'd actually check Craigslist for garage sales.  Much to my surprise, I merely opened the garage door this morning, walked back inside to get our garage sale sign, and someone already came into the garage and started looking at our stuff.  8AM.  On a Saturday.  And people just kept coming by.  Garage Sale-ing (or "G-saleing" as I overheard one person say) is apparently a thing.  I'm shocked.  I saw a level of enthusiasm and passion that I thought was reserved only for sporting events, concerts, and George Lucas movies that don't star Hayden Christensen.

2. Right place, right time.  There was really little need for us to advertise.  Being right on the corner of one of the busier streets in our neighborhood, we got plenty of drive-by traffic.  Plus, there were several more garage sales happening in the area, including one down our street.  Those people placed a sign in our yard.  So I placed our "Garage Sale - Here" sign right next to theirs.  Everybody that was headed to their sale stopped by ours either on the way there or on the way back.  Someone was even kind enough to have placed a sign on Hewitt Drive at the corner of our street.  We didn't have to do anything; once the scent of fresh meat was in the air, there was no stopping them.  I think they messed up in Field of Dreams with the line "If you build it, they will come."  Instead, it should be, "If you build it, and put up a For Sale sign, they will come wearing fanny packs full of dollar bills and loose change."

3. Be ready to sell everything.  As the picture above (taken after the dresser had gone) shows, we'd set up a kind of Wall of Junk about halfway into the garage to separate our "for sale" stuff from our "garage stuff."  I did leave a little on the shelves, but I figured it was high enough out of the way and "garage-y" enough that people would get the hint that it wasn't for sale.  Nope.  We got questions about our leftover paint.  I was questioned about my toolbox which was a little close to the "sale" side.  Some guy offered (and successfully purchased) the car stereo that I pulled out of Marci's Sentra when it was totaled.  I had my laptop out on "our" side of the garage playing music, and some guy asked me if that was for sale.  Shoot, I'm a little surprised that nobody tried to buy the garage door or water heater.

(Geeky aside: I devised what might be the dorkiest way to listen to the radio.  Radio waves broadcast from a radio antenna were received by an antenna, attached to a $100 TV/FM tuner card, inside a ~$500 server, digitized and sent via gigabit Ethernet to a $100 router/switch, converted to a 802.11 Wi-Fi signal (WEP-encrypted) and broadcast to a $1500 laptop using a $100 combination of software, to be decoded and sent out to a pair of $5 speakers from Woot.  All because I don't have a radio out in the garage [hence, the car stereo from Marci's old car...])

4. Geeks don't shop garage sales.  My stuff practically never sells.  I'm sure part of it is that I get use out of technology long after it's no longer state-of-the-art.  Therefore, when I get ready to sell something, it's probably well into "obsolete" status.  Still, I had copies of Office 2000 and Office 97, Print Shop, keyboards, speakers, stuff like that.  It's not like I was just selling really esoteric stuff like a laptop display panel or COBOL For Dummies (although I was selling those too).  

All in all it was a fun day; we got a lot sold, made some quick cash, freed up a lot of garage space, talked to some interesting people, and enjoyed the beautiful weather.  I can't wait until we have more junk to get rid of.

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