Monday, August 30, 2010

Why I Can't Afford to Ever Have a Yard Sale

In our area, local real estate agents occasionally organize neighborhood garage and yard sales. There is one of them taking place on our street this weekend. I won't be taking part...

The first and last time I held a yard sale, I had all my worthless junk "gently used" items arranged in my driveway, in front of my open garage. I threw the crap on the ground went to a lot of trouble sorting it all out and marking prices.

I had no idea what I was doing was relatively new at this and a few things became very clear to me.

1. People will steal things when you're not looking.
2. People don't want to pay a penny they don't have to.
3. People are more interested in what's NOT for sale.

I sold very little of the yard sale items.  What I didn't sell, I gave to Goodwill.  I did however, pretty much empty out my garage.

I sold:
An old poker table that a friend left at my house, for $20. A little new felt and it was probably worth $50. I should have gotten at least $30.

A non-working 25" television set for $5. I learned later that most of them can be "fixed" for less than $20, if you know what you are doing. I should have gotten at least $25 for it.

An old tandem surfboard for $20. I found out later that they were rare and I should have gotten at least $100 for one that old.

Sold all my old scuba gear (that I thought I'd never use again) for $100. I saw what I think was the whole set-up in the next week's PennySaver for $200.

Sold a bunch of rusty old worthless Craftsman tools for practically nothing. I found out later that you can take ANY old Craftsman tool back to Sears and they will replace it with a brand new one for no charge.

Last but not least, I sold my old crusty and rusty old bike for 5 dollars. I forgot that I had an "emergency" 20 dollar bill hidden under the seat. So, I actually ended up paying the guy 15 dollars to take it!
The obvious label choices for this post are many...

Blockhead, dolt, donkey, dope, dunce, fool, imbecile, nitwit, numbskull, simpleton, twit, addlebrain, blunderer, bonehead, botcher, bumbler, butcher, clod, clumsy oaf, duffer, dunce, featherbrain, fool, foul-up, fumbler, goof off, goofball, harebrain, idiot, ignoramus, incompetent, klutz, mismanager, muddler, muffer, screw up.


  1. Hahaha...oh this made me laugh!!!
    I have done the very same things....but with different items up for "sale". Oh the money I have lost!!!!
    I now resort to taking it in to stores that can sell it and put the money into different organizations....hate the Yard Sale Work!
    Lesson learned;)
    have a great week!

  2. That post just made me burst out laughing. The first and last time I had a garage sale, I kept wanting to give away everything. My husband banished me to the house.

  3. Hahahaha, oh that last one was priceless (oop's pardon the pun - giggle)! My eldest daughter and her friend had a "car-boot sale" which is the equivalent to your yard sales, only you rent a pitch in a field for a fiver, and bring along a couple of tressle tables to set out your goods on. She wanted to raise spending money for a school tour she was due to leave on. I can't believe the garbage folk will buy - and it's the first good clear out my cupboards have seen in many's a year, too!

  4. OMG, people stole stuff from you too? Unbelievable isn't it. The last garage sale I participated in was when my Mom and Dad were selling the family home. My Mom, always being the nice hostess, even had a little table set up with free coffee for our 'shoppers'. She was right royally PO'd when she realized what vultures had shown up to bicker over our stuff. We had a rope over the driveway to keep early birds out but by 9:15 there was a row of people standing there eyeballing items while we were still bringing stuff out. When it was time to pull the rope back at 9:30, the people RUSHED the driveway and one elderly fellow got knocked over. I'm not kidding you. It was insane. My Mom was so mad!- G

  5. Ha ha, very funny labels!
    I actually hate when our neighborhood has garage me, it is just a perfect opportunity for potential thieves to 'scope out' the neighborhood without looking suspicious.

  6. I don't recommend you participate in any more yard sales either. And if you do, please let me know so I can clean you out, er, get a good bargain!

  7. I guess maybe that's why we keep our stuff for so long!!!

  8. Oh stop. All preowned stuff loses like 70% of its value once you remove it from the box. As far as I'm concerned you got your clean garage so it's a win. BTW...if you sold Action Comics #1 for $5.00 then I'd have something to say.

  9. Oh no Pat! Horror at the bike one!
    Just shows it pays to rather be a hoarder...

  10. Yard sales, is not something we usually do here Patrick. When garages or storerooms are filled up, we are trying to get rid of everything we dont need, any possible way. Sometimes we are paying to get rid of stuff.
    If some things can be of use, then just offer them to someone if we know he needs and can use them.
    A couple of months ago.. I had to get rid of a few things. I loaded half on my car to take them to a place where similar stuff was taken, and if in a few days they are not picked-up by someone then.. the garbage collectors get them.
    By the time I was back to deposit the second round, someone was there .. filling his trunk with what i had thrown away earlier, and can you believe it, he helped me unload the second load from my car to his.
    have a great day.

  11. This sounds like me.. to a point.. My one and only yard sale had me having a blue light sale because I felt sorry for the buyers.. They looked poorer than me..Until I saw them loading their purchases into new SUV's and flashy cars.. I definitly was idiot of the year on my one and only yard sale..

    Great post Pat!!!!

  12. I know I shouldn't laugh, but it sounds like a yard sale at my house.

  13. The $20 under the bike seat is a classic!!! Sorry that happened....but it's funny...for us!

  14. Pat simmer down- this looking back is doing you no good-

    Train you brain to think like this:

    They needed the money more than you did.

    That's easy-

    See- you are so generous- good hearted and kind!

  15. I had my last garage sale around 15years ago and people stole some fifty cent items. That's when I decided it probably wasn't a good idea to attract these people to my home. Probably 99% of the people were honest, but that 1% ruins it for everyone. Later I read in the paper that some people were just coming to garage sales in the area to check the garage for power tools that they could come back later and steal. So, no more sales for me. I'd rather donate to Goodwill.

  16. That is exactly why I leave those things to my wife.

    1. I would always ask too much and sell nothing.

    2. I know what nothing is worth to anyone.

    3. I would be packing heat and shoot any thief right in the knee cap.

    4. Too much effort for too little money.

    However, I'm glad YOU had a good time!

  17. I was laughing throughout but the label choices... Man, that's hysterical.

  18. I think "donkey" says it all! I chuckled all through this post!

  19. Well, I don't think you really got taken. You would have never known all that if you had not actually had the garage sale. At least you got SOME money for it all.

  20. Fabulous post !!

    You are so right about how these
    things turn out.. it is faster and
    less painful to just load everything up and take it to goodwill.

  21. I guess it pays to research ones items before selling them.

  22. I've only had one garage sale, and I will never have another one. People are such dipshits!! Besides, this is the age of information-sharing, and Craigslist is such a beautiful thing!! You can post and repost to your heart's content, and it costs you nothing but your own time to do it. (Not like eBay, who charges for every little thing, every time you have to post and repost. Screw them.) Have sold (and acquired) many things via Craigslist, and I can't imagine going about getting rid of stuff any other way! (Except hauling it off to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, which for me involves several flights of stairs and the Austin hell...I mean, heat. So I avoid that like the plague. LOL) Sorry you had such rotten luck with the garage sale route! =(

  23. I figured every guy knew about the Craftsman trade in. I once traded in a broken shovel with cement dried to it and got a new one.

  24. We don't have Garage/Yard sales, but Car-Boot sales too, and I think that you had better check out the things that you intend to sell first.
    I know that I have picked up some real bargains at Car-Boot sales, it was just a case of looking up the items on the Internet, and the fact that I have a friend of a friend who is really into antiques.
    Another friend totally recovered a couch as a project she was working on at Uni.
    Loved this post!

  25. Dawn - Now I just give it to charity (most of it anyway)

    Clarissa - I learned my lesson in only one try!

    Shrinky - Car boot sale? that's a good idea! We accumulate stuff far too fast to sell it out of our car.

    Gerogina - Yup! I didn't know any of these things!

    Joe - Yup, and they all applied!

    Alex - I think you are right...but stay away from my house anyway! LOL

    Brian - that's right! Dust catchers!

    Jesse - It was nice to have a little extra room! Oh man, I sold that comice for a buck...

    Nat - that's right, I'm hording now!

    Costas - That's a good idea. That way a lot of stuff gets reused!

    Lynne - I totally understand. I also gave away a lot of the cheap stuff, because I felt sorry for them.

    baygirl - I share your pain

    Marlene - We still laugh about it

    Ren - LOL, you are right and I hope changed their life just a little bit...

    Betty 1951 - I was told that sometimes it's a team effort. One person distracts you another steals. I agreee, goodwill is the way to go...

    Chuck - That's tood funny! Great comment! Somebody had a good time, too bad it wasn't me...

    Tim - All true!

    dot - Just doing my job, madame...

    BB - Donkey! That's me...

    Cheeseboy - Too bad I'll never get to use my newfound knowledge...

    faye - you are so right. It would have been much easier to just give it all away.

    Warren - Oh yeah! I did exactly ZERO research...

    POTM - They are dipshits, too bad the biggest one was holding the sale, and that one was me! We use Craig's list also for some things.

    PTM - Every guy but one knew! I keep my eye out for old Craftsman tools now...

    Alice - Thanks Alice! Lessons learned....BY ME!

  26. EEK! I usually sell things online rather than have a yard make more, and it's less work. :)

    That is sad about your bike, but hilarious!

  27. Brandi - Hi There! Long time no see here... From now on, we either sell it online, or give it away.
    congrats again to you!!!

  28. If you didn't want the stuff and weren't going to do anything else with it - have no regrets. Sucks about the 20 though.

  29. This is a total hoot, Pat! Your 'labels' had me rolling on the floor!

  30. Warren - That's why I'm here Warren. I'm a walking public service message on "what not to do."

    Jhon - You are so right! When it was all over I was happy to see some of the stuff gone.

    Breanda - Thanks Brenda! I'm sure there were more labels, but I got tired...

  31. I've always wondered why people do this. It's probably nice to get rid of the stuff you don't need anymore and GET PAID for it too though.


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