This past weekend, my wife and I participated in a church yard sale. By “my wife and I”, I mostly mean my wife as she ran the show.
I usually have strong feelings about everything. It’s just in my nature to lean towards everything being either black or white. I know there’s lots of gray. I’m trying to get more comfortable with that as I get older, but it just isn’t natural to me.
Yard sales baffle me. They are one of the few things that I’m wishy-washy about.
Here are some thoughts about each side of the coin… I’ll leave it to you to determine the context on how I feel about each item.
As a Yard Sale Seller
- So Much Work – There’s a reason why my wife runs the show at yard sales. It’s a lot of work… and I’m so very Lazy. That said, I was up an hour early making coffee and doing other household chores to help make the yard sale work.
- So Little Money – A couple of years ago, my wife sold a ton of baby stuff at “high ticket” prices. It netted around $200. After the $25 table buy-in, we (she) made about $30. I won’t even look up what a per-diem pharmacist could get with a single hour of work… that would depress me.
- No More “Stuff” – Kids grow and the old stuff needs to be replaced with new stuff. This includes books, toys, and clothes. We’ve accumulated so much of all it. I’m guilty for some of the toys, because I have zero impulse control on anything with “STEM” in it. Toys aren’t terrible… I can see how a new toy lights up the mind of my kids. It could be quite possibly the best feeling I can think of.
- Recycling – I hate seeing anything thrown into a landfill. Kid stuff should last through multiple kids. They grow so fast (at least through age 5) that clothes are still good.
- Bargaining – One person said that she bought clothes at $0.25 a piece at the last yard sale she was at. I wish I was quick enough to say, “It’s a $25 buy-in to a very good charity. So you are asking us to sell 100 pieces of clothes to just break even with our time here?
As a Yard Sale Buyer
- Bargaining – I respect game. The person above had game. I think it’s best to take the game elsewhere. You are getting things for pennies on the dollar. I never bargain. Please don’t bargain at yard sales unless you know an item is overpriced.
- Treasure Hunt – I love a modern-day treasure hunt, without the work of “hunting.” I went to see what other people were selling. I found a General Hospital board game from the early 80s for $4. It seemed like it could be worth more, but more importantly, my wife thought that she could use it for a possible social connection in her past. I didn’t think about money because those social connections are priceless.
I also bought a 260-piece Harry Potter puzzle for 25 cents. It says “8+” on it, which would turn-off my kids (age 5 and 6) normally. However, I pointed out that they are 11 combined, so they can work together and do it. The next day my oldest said, “Since I’m 6 and a half, and my brother is 5 and half, it’s like we’re 12.”
Perhaps the best 25 cents ever spent?
Another person at the yard sale spend about 15 minutes negotiating about the prices. He ended up buying about a quarter of our stuff. After the negotiattion, he pulled out a stack of $100 bills. He didn’t have change. This exploded my mind.
If you have a way to put my mind back together (or have other yard sale thoughts), let me know in the comments.