posted by Carrie Wattu, editor
a baystateparent of three girls (twins, age 6, and a 3rd grader, age 9)
My family had a yard sale yesterday. I would post pictures but I wouldn't want to scare you. We had a huge garbage bag filled with nude Barbies with matted hair (sad in so many ways...it felt very poetic). Also, I was so busy from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. that I did not have a second to snap any photos.
Have you found that the monetary profits really are not worth the long hours and labor of lifting, dragging, sorting, tagging etc.? Plus, the day before our sale I was running around making and posting signs around town until 10 p.m. I am literally sore in every muscle of my body today.
For me, the best part of our yard sale was the endorphins that were released from getting clutter out of the house. That was the high (certainly not wads of cash)!
Here's what else I found out about having a family yard sale:
1. It only sounds fun in theory...early-morning coffee and donuts with neighbors and friends, the kids making some extra money and setting up their tables, people you haven't seen a long time stopping by etc. You get over it quickly.I think I had a "fantasy" about hanging out with my friend, making change for all of our customers, as the kids set up little "stores" and sold their wares.
2. The work continues long after the sale is over. You have to lug everything to the street and make "FREE" signs for everything that does not sell as well as bag everything to donate to recycling centers and road-side donation boxes. I took many trips last night getting rid of all the stuff.
3. If you don't sell the items in the morning, you really lose steam. The last thing you want is for anything to re-enter your house (it's very amusing to me that an item tagged to sell for $10 at 9 a.m. suddenly becomes FREE and "Just take it" after a few hours).
4. The kids were fine with parting with their toys because each game, doll, etc...represented a dollar sign in their eyes. (This was surprising -- their willingness to part with everything -- makes me kind of happy that they don't really value "stuff" in a way. Stuff comes and goes. They are not entirely unsentimental though as their stuffed animals would never make it into the sale).
5. One of the best-sellers was bottled water! Many times we made $3 a customer selling water , more than we got for mint toys valued at over $50!
I felt kind of dirty though looking at all our stuff laying on blankets and makeshift clotheslines in the yard. It's all very personal. When we put the FREE sign out, we peeked out of our windows watching the cars pull over and fill their trunks with our discarded Christmases, birthdays and more. The kids would yell, "Someone's taking our Barbie house!" It felt strange.
When all was said and done, there's only one thing I don't feel good about: throwing away two mid-sized plastic toys (I just couldn't take searching for the tiny pieces and parts to make the toy complete, even though I knew that I had them somewhere). Everything else that we had dragged into our yard ended up getting reused and recycled.
So after a very busy day, I didn't even bother to count the profits (it was that insignificant, and we had good crowds too), but I realized that I will no longer feel guilty about not making extra money for our family by selling our stuff. Sure, I've ebayed and Craig's-listed it for big ticket items...that seems to work for us. But as far as getting .50 here and .50 there for a random toy or article of clothing, I'll pass (pass it on, that is).
What have yard sales been like for your family?