A few times a year, our subdivision holds a neighborhood garage sale. We’ve never participated in the previous four years that we’ve been living in our house, but when I saw the signs go up in the middle of the week, I decided that it was time to gather up a bunch of my trinkets (junk) and see what I could get for them.
Here’s what I learned:
We are in somewhat of a slow neighborhood so I put out a few signs to attract the hyenas and vultures.
I also put out some jugs of lemonade, one infused with CBD and one infused with hibiscus. Very refreshing and beautiful, believe me.
I parked cars in front of the house to attract even more buyers. If people drove by and saw no one was there they would just keep driving. “They must have a lot of crappy stuff.”
I had some Reggae music playing softly in the background. I remember reading somewhere that in recent studies they indicated slow music makes people move more slowly through a store, and they end up buying more. Worth a shot—plus it puts out those chill summertime vibes.
I put up a sign that said: “We accept Bitcoin”. I wasn’t actually going to accept Bitcoin as payment, but it did get a couple of laughs.
I was warned by some friends that people will try to low-ball you on everything. They were dead right. The most ridiculous example of this happened when I was trying to sell this Chicago Bulls snap-back that I’d never worn. It even still had the stickers on it. I wanted to sell it for $5 but instead, I put it at $2 because people are cheap.
The guy that wanted it came up to me and offered me $1 for it. I gave in but couldn’t help but laugh internally at the situation. Not in a mean way because I don’t know his financial situation, but I just felt like if I was in his shoes I wouldn’t have even tried to barter for something that is brand new listed at $2. Plus, the look on his face when I accepted his deal—I could tell it probably made his day. I was departing with that hat at any cost.
Luxury Items and Anchoring
My wife put out some fancy dresses and shoes that I’m sure she overpaid for. They were listed for $30 and no one bought them. I had a painting that I paid nearly $300 for that I couldn’t sell for $15.
People that come to garage sales want things that are in the $1-5 range. They love junk.
There’s a psychological barrier when selling something for a 90% discount because you anchor to your purchase price. You know what you paid for it and it’s hard to let go of something for next to nothing, even if it sat in a storage room unused for 5-10 years. It’s hard to let go of these things without providing a backstory to the purchaser. Sounds similar to letting go of your junk stocks— afraid that you’ll sell at the bottom.
My Junk Sold Better
I outsold my wife—probably because of the CBD lemonade—and had to give her shit about it because she is a really good saleswoman.
I even hit her with the “Always Be Closing” line which was immediately followed by an eye roll.
We ended up making $80 in 4 hours. We’ll see who’s laughing when I compound that $80 at 12% over 40 years. I’ll be laughing all the way to the bank and then withdraw my earnings in physical Bitcoin.
We got rid of stuff that probably could have just been thrown away. De-cluttering is great for the mind, body, and soul. We even sold a slutty Dorothy from Wizard of Oz Halloween costume to a 60+ year old lady. Anything is possible.
Remember how I mentioned previously that it’s hard to make new friends that also have kids? Well, because we threw this garage sale we made new friends with our neighbor down the street who has three kids and a lot in common with us. I guess I’ll put the Tinder For New Parents app development on hold for now.
We got the chance to converse with strangers and I felt my social interaction skills being enhanced. Human interaction. Remember that? Before phones and computers when we actually had to talk to people? Good times.
It was a perfect day outside so I was able to multitask with some gardening instead of just sitting there twiddling my thumbs waiting for people to arrive.
We didn’t make as much money as we had hoped to but I had set proper expectations leading into the event so it wasn’t a surprise.
There was some setup and take down time that was kind of annoying.
Would I do it again? Yes, for the reasons listed above.
If you’re doing it just to make money then you’re assuredly going to be let down.
One person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Unfortunately not too many found treasure in my junk.
Before I get scolded by the PC crowd, just know that we’re going to donate some of the stuff that we didn’t sell.
I’m looking forward to next year’s garage sale purge.