Sunday, August 8, 2010

The success of my yard sale.

A quick 7:15 AM shot before the crazy day of Friday began.

It always amazes me that you can take a bunch of needless-to-you items, slap them on some tables and whatnot in your yard, people WILL come and WILL pay you for your stuff.  I love it. 

I'll start with what you really want to know.  How much did I make?  $276.00.  That is not at all a bad haul.  My plans for the cash that we raised is to take $150.00 to purchase K- a savings bond towards her college education and the remaining to go into kitchen spiff stuff. 

The sale started before the sale.  My neighbor told me that he would list our Burley Cub Bike Trailer on Craig's List.  I'd never done Craig's List before and frankly, it has gotten a bit of a bad rap from some bad apples out there.  In the end, the gentleman who said that he wanted it came with his wife and 4 1/2 month old daughter.  They are so excited.  He paid us $100.00 for it, when we know darned well that we would have never fetched that from having a yard sale alone.  Thanks, Don!  (Yes, the sale of the bike trailer is included in the total amount above.)

We were all out on Thursday night setting up.  Hubs was able to borrow two EZ-Up tents for us (no garage) and some tables.  As we were setting up, a guy and his wife came through to see if they could look.  It was dark, I was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes and couldn't believe that he was actually for real.  Well, and we looked like the big top circus had come to town. 

After he left, Hubs went in with K-, had her taking a bath and it started to rain.  Hubs insisted that it wasn't supposed to but it did and rather vigorously for a bit.  Since we had two 10 x 10 tents cable tied together, it leaked down the seam where they were butted together.  One place on the roof gathered water and I had to stand up to push it off, as it was leaking on my stuff.  Over all, most things remained dry and I was thankful to have the opportunity to set up the night before.

Friday morning started bright und earlie (as we say in our house.)  I was out wiping things off and getting things ready to go before 7 AM.  Sure enough, our first folks came through at 7:15 AM.  There was a slow, but steady flow from there.  I had a woman at about 8 AM (our sale was actually set to start at 9) ask me, "How firm are you on that price for the stroller?"  I was selling a Baby Trend Expedition Jogging Stroller.  I had researched it online the night before.  I knew what a new one was worth.  ($139.00)  "I'm very firm.  It's just the start of sale and technically, the sale hasn't really even started yet."  "Oh."  I had another guy in later.  "I'll give you $15.00 for your stroller."  (I had it tagged at $25.00.)  "I'll take $22.00."  "You mean that you won't take $15.00."  "It's a $140.00 stroller."  He started some mumbling and grumbling at me.  "Well sir, I know what I have and I know what it is worth."  He told me that he would be back at end of sale on Saturday.  You'd be glad to know that the stroller did sell for $25.00 without a quibble.  Many women came in and told me that it was a wonderful price. 

This past fall, I purchased a big wooden disk swing for K-.  Hubs was thinking that he was going to build her a play set, but in the end the nice Amish men sold us one for basically we would have paid to build one.  The disk swing didn't work on it, though.  Hubs tossed it into our pile on Thursday night and I plunked a $15.00 tag on it.  A woman offered me $10.00.  She was stunned when I wouldn't take $10.00.  "Ma'am, this is a $33.00 swing that I bought in anticipation of building a swing set for our daughter.  We bought an Amish set instead and this didn't work with it.  I'll take $13.00."  She paid $13.00 for it and I admit that in the end, I at least broke even.  She didn't really need to know that I bought it on clearance for $13.00.

This past spring, we had some internet issues.  The neighbor had us purchase a wireless antenna and a range expander.  In the end, we couldn't use them and couldn't return them because of Best Buy being a horrible place to purchase things.  On the antenna, I had marked that we paid $50.00 and marked it to $30.00.  "I'll give you $20.00 for the antenna."  "I'll take $25.00."  The man looked at me stunned.  "Sir, I bought those new this spring.  We couldn't use them and couldn't return them because they were in an open box.  At $25.00, you get it at 1/2 price."  He bought it.

The one big sale that delights me most is the sale of my Coach bag.  That bag was snagged by my mother-in-law from my sister-in-law's garage sale in Chicago.  She had all of her Coach bags for sale for $2.00 each.  (Insane, I know.)  I carried the bag for 7 years.  My sister-in-law had carried it previous to that.  In the end, for what was probably a 12 year old bag that I lovingly mink-oiled prior to the sale, I sold it.  I had it tagged for $25.00, which Hubs thought was ridiculous for a bag at a yard sale.  The lady asked me, "Would you consider taking $20.00 for the Coach bag?"  "Oh, absolutely!"  She was thrilled.  She had her money and her cell in her hand, put her belongings in the bag, put it directly on her body, paid me and went away happy.  I did mention to her that I swore that it was real.  "Oh, I could see that!"  We were both happy.  It was making me no money by sitting in my closet.  It needed to go. 

My mother-in-law was funny.  She put some items in the yard sale for me to sell, which I picked up on Wednesday.  I was up until 2 AM Thursday morning pricing and evaluating my own items, as well as re-pricing my mother-in-law's items.  She had a baby gate marked to $1.50, which I re-priced to $7.00.  She had bed rails marked way too cheap, too.  She laughed that I sold them for the higher price with no quibbling.

What I found most interesting is that Friday was by far way busier than Saturday.  Friday had such a constant flow that it was difficult to even eek in time to run to the bathroom.  It rained off and on on Friday, which left me to putting the sides up and down on the tents. 

A funny end to my Friday was one lady who seemed to need a lot of assistance.  She needed me to explain everything.  Then, she got to the bag of wine bottles I had out for free.  (I was going to craft with them, but never had the time.)  She wanted to know if I had any from Italy.  I did find one, then she wanted a green one.  I dug through the free bag o' bottles and found her a green one.  "How much are they?"  "They are free."  "Oh, well, do you at least have the corks for these?!"  "Um, no.  They are free."  So after we dealt with that, I asked if she wanted a bag.  "Yes and wrap those bottles up well so that they don't clang around in my car as I'm driving."  Really?  I did wrap them with a little paper, was struggling to get them in the bag, but she offered not a spot of help.  I took a deep breath and wished her a great day of shopping. 

At about 3 PM on Saturday, I started parting pieces of yard sale leftoverness into bags for people that we knew.  Bethany got a bag, as did Lena and Julianna (her brand new baby sister), Grace and Anna.  We delivered all but Anna's, but did leave hers at church with her grandparents.  I packed up boxes of homegoods into the back of the RAV.  Don, the neighbor who organized the sale, asked where we were going.  I told him to the Goodwill drop and asked him if he wanted me to take anything.  He loaded me down with about 50 pressed and starched dress shirts (he is a retired Dean from one of the local colleges) and a couple mink coats.  I drove them up to the Goodwill drop and started carrying things to the man in the drop trailer.  "Don't you have any bags?"  "No."  [insert humph from him]  I carried the shirts in chunks because they were heavy.  I then started carrying one of the two boxes of homegoods over.  It was a big box and one top flap that I had been carrying was giving way.  "You know, you guys can't bring boxes overflowing like that!  Those are entirely too heavy!"  I tried to ignore him, but he kept grumbling.  I carried the next box over and placed it on the floor of the trailer.  He was humphing and belly aching.  "Sir, I'm not even 5'1" and I'm about 125 pounds and somehow I can manage to carry these things over to you just fine."  "But I have to lift them above my head," says the trailer attendant who wasn't wearing his attendant shirt, but rather a button down shirt that was left unbuttoned and flapping in the wind.  I walked to my truck grumbling about how you would think that he would be pleased that we were donating.  I walked back to the stairs and stood there.  "Yes?"  [add a snotty tone] "Um, do you still give out receipts?"  "Oh, yes." Really?  This is the first time that I've gone to this Goodwill drop in the nearly 11 years that we have owned our home that I've been treated like this.  He never left the trailer.  Never offered to help unload anything and complained about everything.  Don called later to see how the drop went.  I told him and he called me later to say that he had e-mailed Goodwill about the attendant.  I have to truly tell you that if they remain having that man as an attendant, I will be taking my donations elsewhere.  Ugh.

My neighbor went up to the Goodwill drop today to leave off some more items.  He ended up discussing the matter with the attendant there, who happened to be the supervisor.  He said that he'll be writing up the problem.  I certainly don't want anyone to lose their job, but if you are being paid to take donations for a place that depends upon donations to resell to help those in need, don't be so mean and unhelpful!  The neighbor told the attendant that he considered leaving his items at another donation drop and he asked him please not to.  I do believe that the matter has been officially handled.

In the end, I find myself exhausted, but pleased.  K- had a brownie stand.  She sold brownies for 25 cents a piece and ended up pulling in almost $18.00.  She learned valuable lessons on making a product, packaging to sell, the disappointment that not everyone wants your product, and the need to make change.  She ended up taking her profit (I told her it was all hers to spend as she wanted) to Hallmark and took advantage of their 60% off Zhu Zhu pet sale.  She managed to purchase 3 additional Zhu Zhu pets and a truck with a surf board for just a handful of change more than she made.  We now have Jilly (the one she already owned), Scoodles, Nugget and Winkie living with us.  It is the most bizarre toy, but she loves them and we are thankful that we accidentally found out about the clearance sale that they had. 

Smiles in my weekend:
-  Listed above. 

Have a great day!

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Sounds like you did well!