Garage Sale Time!

by Katy on April 14, 2009 · 16 comments

Garage Sale

I love when there’s an intersection between the beloved areas of my life. Frugality and green living, cheap and tasty, and free and useful. But there’s one area that really gets my motor running, and that is:

Decluttering and income producing.

That’s right fellow non-consumers, I’m starting to get organized for a garage sale. 

I’ve spent the past few years decluttering my house, as well as minimizing purchases. (An important component, as it makes no sense to get rid of stuff if I’m still in acquisition mode.) I’ve sold a few things on craigslist, donated multiple carloads of household items to Goodwill and handed kid clothes down to friends.

But I’ve still held onto a lot of stuff that I felt was too nice to donate or held inexplicable sentimental value.

But I love great-uncle Sammy’s dishes! (Never mind that they have never been released from their basement purgatory in 15+ years.)

But I’m now ready to do another huge purge, and this time I’m looking to rake in a few bucks.  

And my goal with this garage sale is to get rid of all the stuff in my home that is not useful or believed to be beautiful. 

Having a cluttered house means I spend too much time trying to keep it in order, and frankly, it’s a bit of a losing battle. It’s much, much better than it used to be, but it’s still not to the point where I want it to be. By no means will anyone ever accuse me of being a minimalist, but I would sure like to have a house that didn’t require near constant tidying up.

A Springtime garage sale in Oregon can be a tricky endeavor as it’s not unusual to be the recipient of heavy rains all the way through June. (Or Junuary, as it was referred to last year.) So my plan is to gather up all the excesses of our life, set them up on tables in the garage, and even get them priced. This way, I’ll have a garage sale ready to go at a moment’s notice. Just open up the garage door and haul the tables onto the driveway.

Add a free listing on craigslist and a few cardboard signs, and I’m good to go.

Yup. People paying me money while hauling away my clutter. Can’t get much better than that!

Two decluttering book that I found to be very helpful, as they delve into the actual root problems behind clutter:

Clear Your Clutter With Feng-Shui, by Karen Kingston. (Although do me a favor and ignore the final chapter on how a good colon cleanse is essential to the process. Umm . . . pass!)

Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving and Hoarding, by David F. Tolin. 

Are you planning a garage sale this year? If so, is it for the purpose of decluttering or money making, or maybe a little of both? Have a great garage sale tip to let us in on? Please share your ideas in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

christajean April 14, 2009 at 11:32 pm

We wanna come to your G-Sale!!!
When is it?


Kristin @ klingtocash April 15, 2009 at 4:59 am

We are planning to have a garage sale sometime this year. We’ve been slowly cleaning out the house and we’ve got a ton of stuff in the basement ready to go. That will be one of my after-tax-season projects.


Kristen @TheFrugalGirl April 15, 2009 at 5:05 am

I’ve never held one of those…I don’t have much stuff to sell! lol


Mari April 15, 2009 at 5:49 am

we are having a community yard sale on the 25th of this month. I have been pitching and perging the last three weeks. I guess my advice is to work on it alittle each day, I promise my self I would let go of 10 things each day. Now I have half of my spare bedroom full of stuff. Next week will be dedicated to pricing all that stuff. Hubby will be the one to set up the tables that day. The things that will not sell, will be donated.


Jeanine April 15, 2009 at 7:01 am

There’s a family yard sale in a couple of weeks.

I can’t wait, because there’s something very freeing about getting that crap of the house, like energy flowing more freely.

I hope I can control my pricing, because I buy good, quality stuff, and want to be able to get my money back out of it.


Jen April 15, 2009 at 10:30 am

We were able to marry two good projects: decluttering (having a garage sale) and fundraising for a project to create a school library in Botswana. People were generous when we told them what our sale was for. We surpassed our goal!


Jen April 15, 2009 at 10:31 am

Katy, do you shop at garage sales too?


thenonconsumeradvocate April 15, 2009 at 10:48 am


I do shop at garage sales, but I actually try to avoid them a bit as I have everything I need and then some.

I used to go to garage sales with family members as a fun day-long activity. (I have a hard time resisting all the fabulous cheap goodies.)

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


Angela April 15, 2009 at 2:40 pm

We don’t really have a good neighborhood for a garage sale, and our front yard is covered by two trees and a lot of ground cover and clover. So I’m going to try craigslist this year.

We used to have garage sales with some friends of ours. They would sell everything for 25 cents, no matter what it was. A lot of people got some great deals!


BohoBelle April 15, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Try and entice your neighbours to garage sale on the same day; you attract more people as the word of mouth circle is bigger and you can share the costs of newspaper adverts/street signs etc.

I’m moving house today and I’ve already got one box of things for ebay, another box is going to goodwill.


Sheila Lina April 16, 2009 at 7:17 am

I’ve been a huge fan of Karen Kingston’s book and I was pleased to see you mention it. I have tried the colon cleanse that she recommends and it’s not as yucky as one might think.

your colon does store a lot of your undigested food that comes from eating processed sugar, meat and other animal products. you never realize how that weighs you down until you finally get rid of it.

when i did the cleanse, i followed the instructions faithfully and ate a vegan diet, as natural and raw as possible. the cleanse consists of taking four kinds of herbal supplements that are meant to clean out your blood stream, liver and gall bladder, lower bowel and kidneys.

there was a lot of stuff that came out of me that i never realized i had. i lost 12 pounds total when i finished the cleansing period. my skin cleared up and i felt incredible light and energized. i also noticed that i got sick less.

although i switched back to eating animal products, i decided to do the cleanse annually after that.

i saw how much the difference was between eating meat and other animal products and being vegan that i permanently switched to a vegan diet.

there are other ways to clean out your colon that i investigated and I think that the herbs kit that Karen recommends is actually the gentlest and easiest to implement among them. what i like about it is that you still get to eat normally (although vegan) unlike other cleanses where you fast on juices or other methods that are quite extreme.

the best thing about a colon cleanse is that it is preventive medicine that helps you avoid a lot of other costly procedures later on.


Tracy April 16, 2009 at 9:34 am

Fantastic idea! I love going to ’em; they’ve become, along with Cheapcycle, eBay and thrift stores, my alternative to retail. I’m having a garage sale with a friend in May, which in Michigan can be risky; I love your term, Junuary. We, too, often go through all four seasons in one day.


Clean Simple April 19, 2009 at 3:56 pm

I hate seeing people look through my stuff so I don’t do garage sales. I’d rather donate items I no longer want/use and take the tax write-off. It’s not cash in hand, but it’s easier on my psyche.

good luck with your sale!


Donna April 20, 2009 at 7:06 pm

We just held a garage sale with friends this past Saturday. We’re in Hawaii so it was a nice, sunny day – Good thing my friend set up a canopy for us, we needed it. Our daughters set up a lemonade/snack stand. It was a lot of fun. Made some $, got to declutter. We lucked out that there were other garage sales in the neighborhood so we had a lot of traffic. But for big-ticket items, I prefer selling on craigslist or ebay.
When planning a garage sale, leave yourself plenty of prep time (at least a week or more) to go through your things and organize them in one place. It was fun to get together with friends to sell – lots of people got some great deals that day!


Suzanne Saxe-Roux May 31, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Over the past few years we have been on a continuous journey of decluttering. I tall started when we moved to France for a few years and had no closets (see my article on closet clutter ). After moving a household into two storage units we realized how little we needed and how little we really liked! Salvation Army to the rescue. I say donate, donate, donate. The library and school received dozens of books, Goodwill and those in need received tons of clothes (and still do every month). I put a bag in my daughter’s closet and anything she doesn’t wear for 6 months, is too small, or worn out goes in the bag and is given away.

Garage sales are wonderful and in France I loved the vide greniers the communities held together, but sometimes I find donating is a whole lot easier as you can do it a little at a time which keeps everything less cluttered.


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