Friday, August 13, 2010

Extra cash.

Shortly after we had moved to Utah, my sisters and I decided we should have a boutique. And since I had just moved into my house and hadn't done any painting or decorating yet, I suggested that we have it at my house. That way we could hammer away at the walls to hang racks or pictures or wreaths or whatever and I would just patch the holes later when I painted.

So my three sisters, my brother and sister-in-law, a couple of my nieces, my mom, a few friends, a few friends of my sisters and I all commenced on our craft projects. We spent countless hours and countless days, painting wood, making floral arrangements, stitching and stuffing this' and thats ... you know how it goes. Then as the date approached we had new ideas so we would stay up all hours of the night frantically trying to finish what we thought was SO adorable and would fly out of the house and also making sure we had baked goods too.

That first event, was just the beginning. Because things actually didn't "fly out of the house." Some things did walk away ... but definitely not enough to have made it worth our while, you know what I mean?

So since we still had quite an inventory of items, we thought it would be a good idea to get in on other holiday boutiques. So we would pack up, load up, set up, take turns monitoring our booth for three days, then pack up, disassemble, load up, pack up .... time and time again.


I was recently reminded of this experience (I guess I have subconsiously blocked it out) the other day when I happened upon the cutest blog. Her post for that day had pictures of her booth at a fair that she and her mom had put together.

It was darling! Really sweet vintage pillows and pictures. Some vintage items that she had found and cleaned up to resell. They had made an adorable banner with their name on it ... and at the end of her post she wrote, "We barely broke even."

I felt her pain.

I kind of feel the same way about yard sales. Now, if you have a yard sale the way the experts tell you to have a yard sale you will spend countless hours and days preparing, sorting, marking, displaying ... all to get top dollar for your stuff. (The stuff, mind you, that you are wanting to get rid of anyway because it is just taking up space in your house but no longer serving a purpose, right?)

The last time I was involved in a yard sale, it definitely wasn't worth my effort for the amount of money I made. I vowed that that would be my last yard sale EVER.

Last Saturday, we had a yard sale at my house.

I am having some work done in my basement so that I can rent it and the first thing the contractor needed me to do was to clear out my storage room. Completely.

I have lived there for 14 years and I tend to hang on to stuff. Not in a pack rat or hoarder kind of way, more in an organized, I love this and want to keep it forever kind of way. (I also pride myself on being a pretty darn phenomenal packer which means that I can get a LOT MORE STUFF in a storage room than most people.) It has been a challenge.

But since I had to clear that out anyway, and set up more shelving in my garage, and get rid of stuff from my spare bedroom upstairs to make way for the basement stuff .... my sister talked me into having a yard sale.

She said, "C'mon! It'll just be fun to be together all day and at the same time we'll get rid of stuff we don't want and other people will take it away instead of us having to do it."

Good point.

So even though Leslie and I know that the Martha Stewart way of having a yard sale would garnish us more moola, we put very little effort into this one. We are old, we are tired, we are over worked and we just didn't care that much.

We did have the men folk haul out some heavy stuff on Friday night, but Saturday morning I set up four borrowed church tables, loaded them up, dragged out the broken bikes, laid out the ancient yard tools that hadn't been used in who knows how long, and shouted out prices as people started to arrive. Nothing was marked ... we didn't care.

At one point Leslie told me I was giving stuff away and should ask more than I was for things ... I didn't care. I was watching people take away all the stuff that I would have had to haul away myself to the Good Will anyway. They were doing me a favor, right.

We had McDonald's for breakfast, the Sweet Tooth Fairy for a snack and Einstein's Bagels for lunch. It was cooler than it had been in days and my driveway stayed shaded for most of the yard sale. People were cute, they were funny, they were cheap ... we didn't care.

I made $200, which almost paid for my kids' high school registration.

So, I guess my point with all of this little ranting, is that sometimes you can put a few extra dollars in your pocket with just a little bit of effort - THAT'S the way to have a yard sale, Martha.


  1. Oh sweet friend...I can soooo relate. I have been wanting to have a yard sale for ages..everytime I clean my house I find oodles of things..but they always seem to make it to big day I do need to get my act together.
    We are house hunting so when we move that may be motivation.
    Have a great weekend. xoxoxo

  2. I am laughing right now...I have had all of those experiences! I have done shows and have just broken even or lost money. I also have done two garage sale in my life. The first one, in my 20's, was a throw together affair. Very unorganized and cheap and I made money. Second one more Martha, and I made nothing. Here's the fact- Rummage sale people- they don't care so much about presentation- they care about things costing 25 cents. And, I can totally respect that because when I go to a yard or garage sale- I am looking for a great deal- a steal. So, there it is.

    Thanks for your sweet comments about my 80's wedding. ha ha- I really had to humble myself for a moment to go back to those 80's and put them out into cyber space. :)
    But, it is who we were...

    I hope that you are having a wonderful Saturday,

  3. The best part of the yard sale was your new HALLOWEEN idea. Laughed me head off sista. You'll have to post about it in October! :)

    AANNDDD....don't give away that DARLING picture of you as a little girl.

  4. The funniest thing actually was our sister Leslie sprawled out taking a restie on the sofa that was for sale!!! Perhaps not the best sales tactic lele! But nonetheless, as always, good good times :)

  5. Funny!
    The last big sale
    we had was advertised
    on Craig's list....
    7-9AM, I'm not joking....
    Everything was one dollar
    unless marked otherwise...
    BEST sale we ever had,
    with the least amount of
    effort! I enjoyed catching
    up on all of your posts;
    I was in NYC last December
    and visited the MacKenzie-Childs
    store in Manhattan; I LOVED
    it, even though I bought
    nothing. I do have a couple
    of pieces, courtesy of my
    sweet mama! Thank you for
    your very dear comments on
    P&H; it was so nice to get
    back from the beach and see
    that you had stopped by.
    Happy weekend!!
    xx Suzanne

  6. Hi there..I missed you too! I am having fun looking over all your posts I have missed! I loved who Ali picked too! :D

  7. What a cute post!!! I have owned a gift shop and candle company... so I know what you are talking about! I am so happy you had a nice day... and made 200 dollars!
    Have a pretty day!

  8. I just read your comment on my blog , THANK YOU! I think that is party of the problem... why should we ask someone why they take the time to look pretty??!!
    Have a pretty day!