Monday, May 29, 2006

Crazies and clutter

With the move looming nearer every day we decided that it was time to start thinning out our possessions. Anyone who has moved before will tell you that you really have no concept of how much crap you own until you have to start cramming it into labeled cartons in preparation for transport. While some rooms of the house seem to be a focal point for the breeding of such trinkets you will find practically every room holds something that you don't need. Kitchens and workshops seem to be the primary locations for this. Thanks to gift giving occasions and housewarming gifts you will find you have a plethora of items that haven't seen the light of day since being unwrapped. People try to give things that you need despite the simple fact that you already have it. Cookie sheets breed like rabbits and barbecue tools take root in the depths of your cupboard like weeds. It seems that the more you thin them out the more they take hold. Workshops are overrun with duplicate tools which serve no apparent purpose. You find you own 200 screwdrivers, but none are the right size for that mirror you are trying to take down off of the wall to pack. So what’s a soul to do with all this crap? Well you could just fire it all in the bin, or drive it over to a shelter or a thrift shop, but like most red blooded Canadians, you hold a Garage Sale (or Yard Sale). Now this isn't only a Canadian tradition as in the UK there have been Boot Sales for years, sort of a mob based garage sale. Like Canadians, who sell no yards or garages at these sales, the Brits sell no boots necessarily.

It pays to have signs EVERYWHERE!!Such sales are an attempt to find homes for all the crap that you can't find a use for or that threaten the safety of your family if the wrong door is opened, triggering a crapalanche. The phrase "one man's junk is another man's treasure" is a key component to the sale's success. You carefully prepare the "products" that you are abandoning and spread them out on the lawn or driveway in an effort to make someone think that they are worth something. Advertisements are placed and signs are posted in order to direct the public at large to your sale and then you wait for the event to start. What follows (after an early morning wake up call and setup) is a festival of negotiation and selling the likes of which aren't seen outside or the Arabian traders of old. Auctions are calmer and more controlled events. In an effort to help you, the unfortunate souls that stop by here time and again, survive you own sales I give you the Rainy Garage Sale Guide.

    When planning a sale, make sure you have the help of a friend or twelve and maybe even a neighbor. Not only do combined sales offer more stuff, making a bigger traffic impairing spectacle of your sale, but this provides you with a captive clientele for your own crap. Your co-sellers will begin to covet your crap and begin to buy from you. Special care has to be taken in controlling your own urges to buy as well as this is a two way street. Before you know it your carload of stuff for sale could easily become two car loads of stuff bound for your home.

    Make sure you prepare your products carefully for sale. This means that you will find yourself scouring ten year old filth off of that item that has been deep in your attic for ten years. This isn't done for the benefit of the buyer but rather yourself. You'll find that load of stuff you have to carry will weigh up to ten percent less once your chip off the crud that is stuck to it. This seems negligible, but after you lug it to the car, set it up, load it back in the car and take it back home you have lifted that much less and will find yourself able to move your arms the day after much easier.

    Wouldn't you stop for this one??  I fonly for a picture?Make sure you use lots of signs to bring people in. Ones like this one here tend to work really well and upset the neighbors. The fringe benefit is that they will come and buy all your crap so they can have that horrible sign taken off the street. That or tear it down and give you something to yell at, either way it's magic.

    Get plenty of rest. This again seems obvious, but is often overlooked. Sure you have all that setup and cleanup to do but that isn't the reason for your need for rest. Rather you'll find that even marathon runners and body builders will find themselves drained after the effort of bargaining with everyone who wants to shop at their sale. Sure this is a pile of crap you don't want any more, but it's your crap and you'll defend its value with your dying breath. It wouldn't matter if you are selling a brand new pickup truck worth tens of thousands of dollars for only ten dollars, nobody will buy it if they can't have it for 8.95. Don't make the mistake of pricing it at 8.95 though or they'll want it for 6.83. People love to bargain no matter the worth. Buying something at a sale like this isn't about the product it's about asserting your rights as a shopper and leveraging the seller into a deal. The seller has a duty to squeeze every last penny out of the buyer. This is the dance that is the reason for the sale in the first place. Realistically you'd just take it straight to the thrift store if you were looking for an easy declutter since you aren't going to make much money at the end of the day. The need to get a deal is what drives garage sale shoppers. They will drive around the city all day long and burn at least twenty bucks in gasoline just so they can buy a ten year old desk lamp with a cracked shade lamp that cost fifteen dollars new for just a dollar. Deny them this at your own peril. Refuse to negotiate with a buyer and you'll see the rest of them scatter like cockroaches when the light switch is on.

At the end of it all you'll be glad it's over and be staring at the pile of crap left over which has been reduced to its lowest common denominator. Just take it to the thrift shop like you should have in the first place and spend the rest of your afternoon and evening drinking a strong alcoholic beverage and rolling the change that constitutes the $26.18 that is your profit. It's'll make more at next year's sale.
This stuff's just really should check out the rest.
Stop by and check out the rest of the strips at're a riot.


Blogger Rowan said...

Had a great time reading your tips here.
Been thinking of selling off some baby crap and such, but you've just made me think twice.

3:03:00 PM  
Blogger Oh great One said...

I hate HATE have yard sales. Don't get me wrong, I love the money they bring in but people haggling over the cost of a toaster? *sigh* I could find plenty of more entertaining ways to spend my day.

Good luck! I hope you make a fortune!

5:46:00 PM  
Anonymous happy and blue 2 said...

Hope you sell it all and become a billionaire. Or someone who sells lots of stuff anyways.
I have never had a yard sale. I just take my "good" stuff to the charity place. Late at night when they aren't open to refuse it..

6:45:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

lol - happy garage sale! I've participated in a few block sales, but never had the time nor inclination to have one ourselves (come to think of it, the strata probably wouldn't let us...) I tend to agree with happy and blue 2, the midnight dump at the local charity is a much easier route - lose a little coinage, but save a lot on the tylenol.

8:18:00 PM  
Blogger schaumi said...

Geez, another person moving....
must be a virus in the air.
I'm getting ready to move but am too lazy to have a yardsale. I'm sure my junk must be your treasure, so I'll just send it your ways..

12:39:00 AM  
Blogger Denny Shane said...

you're right, the strips were very funny!

8:02:00 AM  
Blogger Fizzy said...

lol I wish you luck.
In just send mine down to the charity shops, it is what black rubbish bin liners are for.

As your children will grow you may have to do what I do in order to keep the junk down.... on the first day of every school holiday choose a child (you do the other child the folowing day) and go in to thier bedrooms armed with a roll of black bin liners and a bottle of Diet coke (water for the kids). Shut the door and sit against the door and do not come out /open the door until all the junk is stuck in bin bags .. THEN to top the day off let the children carry them down the road to the charity shop!!!!

8:27:00 AM  
Blogger 40spoet said...

we held two sales before we moved in to our new home. the first one we had $130 at the end of the day, and the second one nearly as much. (we got good crap). there is still more to get clear of. we must have made a dozen trips to the local thrift and anti poverty places.(see pack rat). anyway, i like going to them and i like finding THAT item which i MUST have. get some great bargains, and i am learning what i can no longer buy (k says no more linens, towels, and now flatware, hmpht)
happy tuesday!

10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Martini said...

The way I see it, there's only 1 way to deal with a Garage Sale. Don't haggle with anyone. Let them have whatever they want for whatever price. You want to get rid of it, right?

It's not worth the fight with the lady who argued with me for an hour over a handful of 5 cent CD jewel cases. Finally I gave in because I really didn't want the cases, nor did I want to argue with her any longer.

1:50:00 PM  

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