We’ve all been there and done that.
We find ourselves knee-deep in an adventure and we reach a point where we declare that we will never, ever go there again.
Then, something happens. We’re there again.
I’m talking about garage sales. Yes, I’m talking about opening our garage to the world.
Becky and I have been at the never, ever again point several times. We’ve always ended up questioning whether the preparation ordeal for a garage sale is worth it. It’s usually about 4 a.m. the day of the sale that we enter the never, ever again zone.
We survive the day, but at some point during the day we realize that next time – if there is a next time - we will dispose of our treasures some other way. We will not have another garage sale.
Becky and I moved about nine years ago from a land that was garage sale-crazy. When you advertised, you had to state: “No early callers.” People would come by your house the night before wanting to look at your garage sale merchandise.
And if your garage sale was scheduled to open at 8 a.m., some people would come by at 6 or 7 a.m. and bang on your closed garage door.
“Are you open yet?” they would ask.
Oh, yes they would.
I would try to respond gently, telling them that what we normally do is open our garage door when our sale is open.
After our downsizing move a year ago Becky and I decided to bypass the garage sale route by selling our treasures online. We had limited success there, however, so, yes, we finally started mapping out our route to a garage sale.
Becky and I had some not-so-pleasant memories of olden day garage sales, but with this one we were better prepared and prayed-up. How could we fail?
There was an issue or two, beginning with a pre-dawn rain shower. There was a time – like two hours of time – that we wondered whether we would have a customer. In fact, we even wondered whether we would even have a prospective customer.
But at the end of the day, Becky and I were happy people. We had sales. We sold those two room-size rugs. We sold some other stuff that needed to be sold. And, if you know Becky, yes, she got to give away a few items.
The best part of the day was having daughter Amy work the 8 a.m. to noon shift with us. If we hadn’t sold anything at all, we still could have called the day a success because of the time that Becky and I spent with our little girl.
My biggest excitement of the day occurred during a pre-dawn hour. I pulled those two room-size rugs out of the garage and spread them out on the driveway. I also spread about six other rugs outside.
As I was standing back, looking at our beautiful rugs that we would surely sell that day, it began to rain. It was a light rain, but I knew my choices on what to do were limited. In fact, the only thing I could do at that point was roll the rugs up and drag them back into the garage.
Yes, of course, the rain stopped immediately after I got the last rug safely back inside the garage. I waited a few minutes, then dragged them back to their outside spot on the driveway.
We didn’t have to promote that we did not want early callers. I reached a point where I just wanted callers. Early would have been just fine with me.
Our garage sale signs were planted at various neighborhood locations, and at 8 a.m., we opened our driveway gate. We waited. We waited some more. And at some point – like about two hours after we opened our sale – someone got a little tired and frustrated with waiting. That would be me. During that two-hour period, only six cars passed our house.
Then something strange happened. Three carloads of people arrived. Woo and hoo.
They looked. They shopped. They bargained. The bought. From then on, we had a steady flow of customers. This was turning out to be a wonderful experience.
But we still had those two big rugs.
I ended up posting them for sale on some of those online sites. Within minutes, I got some interest from prospects. A woman from Wylie told me she wanted the rugs and was on her way to get them. I love it when a plan comes together.
When I started writing today, I thought I would be telling you horror stories. Honestly, I can’t remember those stories. All that comes to mind is the ordeal of going through our stuff, then sorting and pricing.
That never, ever again feeling is gone.
In fact, I’m getting a little excited. We still have lots of treasures boxed away. I’m not going to break the news to Becky just yet, but I think I’ll start sorting through some stuff and planning another garage sale, maybe in the springtime.
I’ll do some things differently next time.
I’ll start sorting and pricing a little earlier, pray a little more, market a little better and, of course, invite early callers.
Jim Hardin may be reached at email@example.com.