Garage Sale Musings From The Non-Consumer Advocate

by Katy on July 14, 2014 · 14 comments

Garage sale Katy

My weekend garage sale sale both a success (Saturday) and a bit of a dismal endeavor (Sunday.)

Saturday’s weather was hot, hot, hot! So much so that my husband set up the large shade canopy over the driveway to provide a bit of much needed shade. It was an excellent decision and allowed people to shop without melting in the 92° urban heat. I’d say that about half of the merchandise was spread out in the sun, but it was still nice to have that bit of shade. We were consistently visited by customers, and I made $211.75.

Sunday was an entirely different beast.

The day started out lovely with soft clouds and mild temperatures. Unfortunately, those “soft clouds” transformed into dark grey booming and angry thunder clouds, complete with heavy rain showers and flashes of lightening.

Needless to say, the weather kept Portlanders from heading out for a day of pleasant garage sale-ing.

Also, it hadn’t even entered my mind how the citizens of Soccer City, U.S.A. would plan their day around watching the final game of the World Cup.


Luckily, I spent some time Saturday night rummaging through our attic space for additional STUFF to sell on Sunday. And although most of it went unsold, I did unload an acrylic oriental rug for $40, as well as a few pairs of my son’s outgrown Vans sneakers and miscellaneous other things. Day two garnered a less impressive $82.50 in sales.

And that shade canopy? It transformed itself into a refuge from the rain, without which we would’ve had to scrap the entire day.

Even though Sunday’s customers only came in fits and spurts, it was still worth doing, as the hard work of a garage sale is organizing the whole shebang.  Plus, I had my friend Lise as company, which made it pleasurable, as it’s normally rare to indulge in five-hour long conversations with friends.

Notable moments from the garage sale:

  • The woman who told me, “I was on my way to the liquor store to buy tequila when I saw your sign.”
  • The mother who talked her daughter out of buying a stuffed unicorn, saying to her, “I’ll say to you what I always say, ‘Will you be using it in two months?’ ” Which made the girl rethink her purchase and put the unicorn back into the bin.
  • The multiple potential customers who had a laugh at the Kitty Walk caged cat stroller that my neighbors put into the sale.
  • The eight (?) year old boy who talked me down from $3 to $2 for a pair of black slip-on Vans sneakers. I heard him loudly exclaim “score!” once he got back into his car.
  • The elderly asian man who spent probably 30 minutes fiddling with a VCR to confirm that it worked. He then haggled me down to $3 from $5 despite speaking pretty much no English.
  • Selling my neighbor’s outdoor heating lamp to another neighbor who last summer slept on her garage roof. I once had to yell at her to please not have outdoor sex six feet from my kitchen window. The other neighbors and I had a laugh about how maybe she’s planning on extending her outdoor season.
  • The obviously drug addicted customer who picked a fabric cinch sack from the free box, and then not so subtly snuck something from the clothing area into it. He then walked quickly away when I asked him if he needed help. I would have been happy to give him any clothing he wanted, so this did not bother me.
  • That the little-league size jock strap/cup did not get chosen from the free box, although the expensive hair products I won in a school auction and the toiletries left behind by our Japanese exchange student did.
  • Multiple interesting conversations with neighbors and random strangers.
  • Pretending to walk a large stuffed frog in the Kitty Walk. (Also, realizing that “Kitty Walk” and “Katy Wolk” were almost the same.)

Today I’ll bring the unsold STUFF over to a local consignment shop before I delegate everything to the Goodwill drop off. One thing’s for sure though, which is that I am not bringing the leftover merchandise back into the house. (It’s currently in the garage.) Because once I’ve made the decision to get rid of something, it becomes painful to look at.

I’m happy to have rehomed many, many things that were just sitting unused and unappreciated in my home. The sports gear will see action, the clothing will be worn and the knickknacks can collect dust in someone else’s house.

Remember people, crap out of the house, money in!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Ann Leach July 14, 2014 at 10:24 am

Your stories about who you meet at garage sales reminds me of why I do enjoy working retail — working with the public. The regulars become good friends, or not. And the not-so-regulars, well they make for good stories.

Well done on your sale!


Jamie July 14, 2014 at 10:30 am

This is incredibly timely, as my own yard sale is just under 2 weeks away. You’re right – the hard work is in the preparation, but I’m looking forward to the fun of the actual day!


Katy July 14, 2014 at 10:38 am

Here is an article I wrote with some useful tips:

Best of luck!


Jennifer N July 14, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Seems pretty successful, overall, despite some setbacks! Today I finally got three boxes and a twin comforter over to Goodwill that have been sitting in my dining room for two weeks waiting for me to bring them out the door. I hope to have more to donate in the coming weeks, and I have a giant kid’s gear consignment sale to get ready for that should net some cash, as well!

This past weekend I settled on the goal of getting rid of at least half of my “stuff.” I’m not going to literally count my stuff or anything, but I feel like it’s a good rule of thumb for me right now.


Bari July 14, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Thanks for the insights about staging a garage sale.

Today a friend posted a link on her blog about a good piece in the The Washington Post on avoiding buyer’s remorse.

Here’s a link:


halle July 14, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Loved your sale comments the most. I was a vendor at a Church lawn sale Friday and Saturday. A two year was lamenting that he had carrots for snack, but “Miles got Pirate Booty (chips) for snack.”
Yep, kid, that’s life! Some days it is carrots and some days it is Pirate Booty.


Gladys (The Pinay Mom) July 14, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Sounds like your garage sale was a success! We had one last month,multi family too,we didn’t make that much.We only had our girls’ clothes to sell and our friends made much money like you did.They had all these outdoor equipment and antiques.But we did enjoy that weekend full of fun and heat of sun.


Katy July 14, 2014 at 5:31 pm

My antiques sold poorly.


Diane C July 15, 2014 at 7:28 am

You touched on a key element of a successful garage sale, IMHO. An E-Z Up-type shade canopy tells people you’re serious, besides providing welcome shade. Many garage salers just cruise by without stopping if it doesn’t look like you have anything “good”. A canopy gets them out of the car and into your event. Yes, you will get many requests to sell it, but that’s easily handled. It also makes it easier to see which house is having the garage sale.

If you don’t own one, seek one out among your friends with soccer-playing-age children. I don’t own one, but since I volunteer at the library, they let me borrow theirs in exchange for making any necessary repairs. BTW, a lot of these shades break rather easily and replacement parts can be ordered on line.


Sadye July 15, 2014 at 9:03 am

I love that you let the youngster haggle. Still remember the time I did that — successfully — fondly.


emmer July 15, 2014 at 11:31 am

“Remember people, crap out of the house, money in!”

That should be cross stitched, framed, and hung in every living room! 🙂


Laurie H. July 16, 2014 at 1:02 am

Thanks for sharing the experience with us! Sounds like the garage sale was fun and success in the end. We are about to get ready for our first yard sales – kids are finally a little grown up so we have tons of children clothes to sell. I was struggling a bit with the price level of all things, but I guess the one or two dollar discount doesn’t matter when your primary goal is to get rid of the clutter (I mean treasures)! I was mainly getting inspired by this: Guide to Garage Sales , but I just had a look at yours article from April on how to run a profitable garage sale and it looks much better. Thanks! I’ll let you know how it went.


J. Pario July 17, 2014 at 8:40 am

It must be garage sale season!

We had ours in June. In one day we made almost $500.

Here’s my post with (hopefully some new) tips and ideas.

Garage sales are a lot of work. But like so many frugal things, it comes down to whether or you value your time or your money more. Right now, I’ve got time, and need money, ergo, I did a garage sale.


sheri lin July 23, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Yard sales are a lot of work but we have fun. I plan it with 3-4 girlfriends and honestly we have met some really interesting/nice people. Some came back for seconds and hung out for awhile and we usually convince them to buy more. LOL


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: