Twice a year, the small community where we live hosts a community-wide garage sale. It’s advertised in all the local papers and draws people from miles and miles away. It’s a big deal.
The second one is always on the first Friday and Saturday in October. The first one was cancelled this year due to Covid-19. But ordinarily, it would have been held on the first Friday and Saturday in May.
It’s been two years since we last participated in the community garage sale. It’s not something we enjoy doing. The reasons are seemingly endless and yet we find ourselves participating once again. I offer a few of the reasons.
- You put what you think is a fair price on all your items. It takes days’ worth of work to get it all priced (that doesn’t count the time taken to sort it all out) and yet someone wants to low-ball you. You expect a certain amount of haggling. But when you put a price of $25 on a nice metal, four drawer filing cabinet and someone says they will give you five bucks for it, you just want to punch them in the nose.
- People seem to want to park on your landscaping. That’s just rude.
- It’s really hard to eat lunch. Lunch is an important feature of our lives, especially my husband’s.
- People drive through our community like it’s a speedway. And they are so involved in rubbernecking that they often don’t see the jaywalkers (garage sale shoppers who are rubbernecking while walking) until it’s almost too late. Makes me very nervous.
- And if we don’t happen to be participating, shoppers tend to use our nice, big driveway to turn around (when we participate, the driveway is too full of stuff for them to do that). They start doing this at 7:00 a.m. while we are trying to enjoy a nice, quiet breakfast after taking Maddie for the first walk of the day. Very annoying.
- Taking Maddie for walks on the garage sale days is like taking your life in your hands. Very risky because of said rubberneckers.
- Inevitably, not all you offer for sale will be purchased. So you either have to put it back in the basement or take it to Goodwill. Either way, it is more work.
- It takes at least one day, typically Wednesday, to clean up the garage and drape all of the things we do not wish to sell.
- Then it takes another day, typically Thursday, to get it all set up.
- We have to park both our vehicles alongside the garage for several days leaving them open to the depredations of the local horde of pack rats. So we have to take measures to dissuade them from getting inside our engines and chewing the wiring to pieces. Very inconvenient. Of course, I just recently dismantled a huge pack rat nest in the juniper hedge that borders one side of our driveway. So maybe the pack rat threat won’t be as severe this year. They had been collecting prickly pear cactus fruits. That wasn’t much fun. The spines on those things are very small and fine, hard to see and real bother to remove. Plus they hurt quite a bit.
- We usually start working on the sale a month in advance. And believe me, it takes us that long to go through all the crap … ah, uh, items … in the basement. It’s a big investment in time.
- We know some people that make close to a thousand bucks each time they have a garage sale. But that’s not us. Last time we made enough to buy a new battery for my car.
So you might be asking yourselves why we do this at all. I do also sometimes wonder.
The main reason is that there are some things you just can’t throw away … well, according to my husband, Bernd. Originally, I told him I’d like to rent a dumpster and fill it up and have it all hauled away. He couldn’t wrap his mind around it. His thought was that some of the stuff was too good to throw away. So then I said we should take it to Goodwill. He said it was way too much stuff to do that. Rock and a hard place, right?
When we finished the last garage sale, we said we were never doing that again. Ever.
So much for resolutions.