Once a year the community we live in here in Silicon Valley sponsors a city-wide garage sale. This is presumably to entice people from other communities to come get our junk so that it doesn’t end up in the city landfill. We would rather have it end up in their city’s landfill.
I’m not quite sure why they need to designate a special weekend, since I often see people enticed by garage sales held by individuals rather than a whole cluster of individuals. In fact, I’ve seen people waiting on sidewalks at 7:30 on a Saturday morning for one to begin, and I’m sure the neighbors love that.
Over the years, we have accumulated stuff that we don’t need, either as gifts or from parents as they have started clearing out their clutter. One way to alleviate this situation is to move to a bigger house. We took that path nine years ago, so it’s not an option this time. We do Freecycle, and drop clothes off in those parking lot bins (I don’t even want to know what the inside of one of those looks like), and contribute to Goodwill.
But we’re thinking it may be time to join in the annual garage sale. Anyone who wants to disabuse us of the notion that this is a good idea, now’s your chance. (I’m finding this column works extremely well as a problem-solving tool; when I complained last week about not having enough plastic shopping bags, I was immediately notified that friends would be shipping them in from Massachusetts, Florida, and rural parts of California.)
Never having done a garage sale before, here’s what I’m worried about:
Not Having Enough Stuff. You have to have a certain volume of goods to entice people. On the other hand, toward the end of the day, you’re going to have less stuff to display anyway (assuming it’s sold).
Letting Go of Stuff. Some of this stuff I’ve kept for a long time because it was a gift from close friends. But if we’ve never, ever used it, isn’t it time to let go? I think I’ll take digital photographs of some of the framed art prints I’m getting rid of, just in case I ever want to see them again.
Not Getting Rid of Enough Stuff. There’s probably some stuff that I’m going to heave a sigh of relief about it not having been snatched up by the hordes. The rest, I guess I’ll just pack up and drop off at Goodwill.
Not Having Enough Change. How many rolls of quarters and one-dollar bills should I have anyway?
Pricing and Haggling. So do I set the prices high enough that I can come down when people start to haggle? I don’t like haggling. If I’m on the buying side, I still feel like I paid too much. If I’m on the selling side … well, I’ve never been on the selling side. I do have an idea, though – I’m going to print out pages from eBay to show similar pricing for the same items.
Tag-Switching. Do people really do that, switch tags in order to get a better price? Maybe I should put together a master price list, just for checks and balances.
People Touching My Stuff. Do I really want strangers on my driveway touching my stuff? Maybe I should just stop thinking of it as my stuff right now. I’m sending it back into the universe for someone else to enjoy.
Stay tuned, or better yet, stop by on September 21st!