Yesterday I did my first sale at the garage. My plan was to post about it here beforehand but I ended up running out of time. I’ve been pretty busy picking these past few weeks, and I’ve also spent a lot of time organizing my jam-packed space in anticipation of the sale, not to mention my move to a smaller garage in July.
Things were pretty good if relatively quiet for the first hours. My friend Sarah was helping and a bunch of fun people came as a result of my Instagram stories. At one point a garbage truck stopped and the workers came and bought a few things. I didn’t tell them that everything was former trash!
At some point however things got a bit nuts. My friend needed to leave earlier in the day so I had to manage all the stuff (more than I’ve had at any other sale previously) and all the space by myself. Around 4:30 a group of three people showed up, all of whom made big piles of stuff and had no interest in paying anything near a fair price. I tried to be nice and bargain with them; I realized later that this was a mistake. They ended up making bigger and bigger piles and driving harder “bargains” – they seemed to feel entitled to more stuff because they had spent “so much” on the things they actually bought.
At about the same time a couple in a car showed up and started tearing things apart in the back. It was kind of a mess back there to start so I guess they didn’t think it was a big deal to make a bigger one. I could hear a glass thing or two break from my seat on the sidewalk, but since I was trying to dealing with the group of three ladies there wasn’t much I could do. At least those folks paid reasonable prices, but between the two groups my space is now a complete disaster zone.
At a certain point I realized I had lost control over the situation. My solution was to kick everyone out and end the yard sale early (it started raining not long after, so at least the timing of this was good). I was pretty peeved at this point so I wasn’t particularly friendly while doing it! I’m sure those ladies stole a fair bit of stuff from me – at the very least I saw one of them walk off with a nice banker style lamp that she hadn’t paid for – but I wasn’t going to fight them over trash and what is ultimately chump change.
Besides, I think they helped teach me a lesson that will prove valuable in future sales. Occasionally folks will come and feel entitled to pay nothing for quality stuff, and sometimes those people will be extremely insistent. At this sale (and in the past) I tried to be nice and attempt to bargain, but I think by doing so I only encouraged them to push the limits even further. The situation really degenerated once they realized that I wasn’t going to stand up for myself or the value of my items.
One of my favourite aspects about yard sales is getting rid of things. I love junk, but at the same time I don’t like it hanging around for very long. I’m not a minimalist, but having too much stuff definitely stresses me out. So, when people are willing to pay for my finds – even at bargain basement prices – I can console myself with the fact that I’ll never have to think about those items ever again. That, more than anything else is the reason I’ve been willing to negotiate with those who bargain in bad faith.
However, I’ll be taking a more hard-line approach going forward. If I think someone is being unreasonable, I’m going to tell them “no”. If they insist, I’ll tell them to leave. If they won’t leave, I’ll call the cops. I love getting rid of things, but I also have to uphold certain principles and demand respect for both myself and my junk. I can always donate the stuff they wanted to “buy” thereby satisfying my desire to never see it again!
Beyond the unpleasantness I made okay money (800$). I was hoping for more but I can’t complain too much – I’ll be able to pay the bills at least. Cleaning and re-organization that garage is going to be a lot of work though. Fortunately, a couple of friends and followers have volunteered to help.
I might have another yard sale next weekend before I switch garages – I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment! I promise to let you know if that’s a go this time.
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