Saturday, May 28, 2011

Garage Sale Season

The weather is allegedly warmer, even though it's not, and garage sale season is upon us.  The neighborhood is filled with homemade neon signs pointing you toward dusty crap and old women haggling.

Last summer I had a major garage sale.  The experience was, overall, traumatic for me.  I am incapable of pricing items for a garage sale.  Seriously.  I'm one of those people pleasers that make us all nuts.  I don't want to over charge someone!  I don't want to offend them by asking too high of a price!  Here, take it!  For free!  Go!  The last time I had hosted a garage sale, I apparently underpriced things a whole, whole lot.  All these Mexican women were so happy to swoop up all of my loot, with cries of "How cheap!"  And I made like $15.  $15!

Last summer, I was selling most of my things for an upcoming move.  I sold most of my furniture and everything.  I had my sister and nephew come up to help me get things sorted and to help me price, and I found myself completely immobilized.  It wasn't fear of moving.  It wasn't sadness getting rid of my things.  It wasn't having anything to do with the recent loss of my dad.  It much do I charge?!  My sister wrote a blog post about it:

Garage Saling
Yes, I can turn the noun garage sale into a verb, just as easily as I do the word tornado.

Anyway, so as I already mentioned, M and I went to Non-Mommyville to help Non-Mommy prepare for her garage sale.  She is selling almost all of her furniture, which she is finding to be very cathartic.  The problem is, Non-Mommy can't seem to price anything.  I think most people would struggle with pricing correctly, either over or under, but she is having trouble coming up with a number.

It's actually quite hilarious.

I don't want to tell her how much to sell her stuff for, so my advice was to think about what you'd be happy to get for the big ticket items, then ask just slightly over, believing that people at garage sales are generally hagglers.

That tactic didn't work.  I said "just tell me what you were thinking of selling the couch for, and then after you tell me, I'll tell you what I was thinking", but all I got was a "I don't know!". 

Some items were easier than others, like the gas grill.  This is the grill that fell over at our house and broke, then birds nested in it, then my dad cleaned it all up for Non-Mommy, but the ignitor stopped working so you have to throw a match into it and pray you still have your hair afterwards.

After we made a list of all the big items, we went to her piles of smaller stuff to start stickering them with prices.  It's an eclectic group, from what I have seen so far.  There was a nearly brand new photo printer, Princess Diana books (which she thinks someone will buy!), watercolor brushes, a wooden shelf that I'm pretty sure my mom bought for me when I was in fifth grade and various Italian countryside prints.

Every other sentence out of Non-Mommy's mouth was "is that too much?".  Literally, books I started to price at 25 cents each she followed up with "is that too much?"  When I suggested 15 cents for an item, she admonished me for forcing someone to go to the extra mile and find a nickle, on top of a dime!

Seriously, she needs lessons in garage sales.  This thing is going to be a hoot.

I can't deal with hagglers.  Imagine how I coped with all my extended time in Central America.  Not well, people.  Not well.  I can't do it.  (Seriously, I was in a third world country.  Instead of arguing to make the price lower, I wanted to give them my entire savings account.  It's just wrong, haggling!  WRONG!)

Next time I have a garage sale, you're all invited over for a pricing party.


I'll provide the stickers.

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