Yesterday I took part in a garage sale at a friend’s house. I helped set up the night before (some work, but also fun to see friends) and arrived bright and early on Saturday morning to get ready for business. Our family made less than ten dollars, but we didn’t have much in the sale and we did get rid of our old, beat up pack & play. Was it worth it to take part in the sale? Hard to say. From a fun/social standpoint, yes. From a time & money standpoint, probably not. From a decluttering standpoint, it’s a toss-up since everything we got rid of could have been donated to the Salvation Army.
Of course, now that the sale is over, I see a number of things that could have been in the sale — sandbox, highchair. On the other hand, we would have needed to haul those items to our friend’s house, and haul them back home if they didn’t sell.
I can see why FlyLady generally advises against having a garage sale. It requires so much work and time and space (space to store things before and after the sale). I feel sad for my friend, Angela, because she had been saving her boy’s clothes and gear and toys for years, in anticipation of having a huge garage sale, and it didn’t turn out that great. We didn’t have as much traffic as we had expected, and the customers we did have didn’t seem to be in need of baby gear. Angela seemed genuinely sad and disappointed about the results of the sale, and I can’t blame her considering all of the time and effort that she put into it. Angela had a nice bouncy seat priced at 3 dollars, and the fact that it didn’t sell tells me that we just didn’t have the right customers. I have seen similar (or not as nice seats) priced at 10 to 15 dollars, so I know price was not an issue.
In the end, all of the people participating in the sale put most of what didn’t sell on the curb with a FREE sign. It’s sort of depressing and it makes me wonder whether it was worth it to have a sale. If the goal is “just to get rid of stuff” and you don’t care how cheaply stuff sells for, then why have a sale in the first place? Why not donate everything to the Salvation Army here in town? The more valuable things, like highchairs and the like, can be sold on Craig’s List, consigned, etc., for much less effort than holding a garage sale.
For the past few years, I personally have been taking my nice baby gear and baby/kid clothes to a local children’s consignment shop. Now, I am more certain than ever that this is the right route for me. The fact that I don’t have to pay for a garage sale ad (which costs about 19 dollars) or even for a share of an ad is a huge advantage, not to mention that it takes very little time, effort, and planning to go the consignment route.