Monday, September 17, 2012

It's Time To Purge

I hate garage sales.  In theory, I love them.  Put out all your stuff and watch it disappear while you make money.  And if you need or want something, you can get it cheap.  In practice, it never seems like that.  It's a pain in the neck from pulling all the items out to haggling with people who want your brand new but never used items that cost you $100, but they only want to pay $0.25.  Or less.

I was going to do a garage sale this summer.  I have so many items that I'm not using anymore that really need to go, from the baby items of the wee ones that I'd never parted with (I still have my pack 'n play and high chair) to all my riding things (I've finally given up on the idea of ever seriously riding again, so it's time for my tack trunk to find a new home) and beyond.  My mom had a garage sale, and I brought a bunch of stuff over there.  I'm amazed by how much went during that time, but I was surprised at how little money I made from it.  I'm pretty sure items walked off by themselves or my sister and her brother in law "accidentally" kept the money for themselves when I was running the wee ones home from summer school and the like.

I was going to have my own garage sale after that since I already had everything priced.  Then the heat wave hit.  There was no way I was going to sit outside in 100 degree heat and 95 percent humidity for hours on end with no shade to save me.  Call me a wimp.  I'm fine with that.

And so my garage has sat full of items that I can't quite bear to part with for nothing all summer.  And I hate it.  Then the brilliant Melissa introduced me to a Facebook group in our area that is a buy/sell/trade group.  It's like Craigslist, but you see pictures of everything, you know it's people in your area, and you can see who is buying a lot of stuff and who is offering for things and never showing up (yes, that happens - and I've already been on the receiving end of this one).

I'm in heaven.  While this group was in my area technically, the people who are primarily active in it tend to be further from where I live, so it was hard to make arrangements.  I was crushed.  Then I searched and found another group near me that has people who are right by me doing the same thing.  I rejoiced internally.

Every day, I've been taking a half hour or so to photograph items that need to leave my home and upload them into an album in Facebook on the group.  I describe the item and its condition and how much I want for it.  And generally within minutes, I start getting responses from people who are interested in one thing or another.  Not all my items are ones people want, and it's crazy to me what people do and don't want.

But it's Awe.Some.

This morning, I have people coming to pick up what feels like half my basement from things I listed yesterday.  And I am still getting messages from people asking me to let them know if the sales fall through.

It feels so good to purge, and I love that my items are going to a new home.  We take care of our belongings, but I'm still amazed by how many toys we've had for up to eight years still have all their pieces.  The fact that many of my items are in really good condition helps - but I had four offers on my very well loved mini jumper that I listed on a lark, figuring I'd have to throw it out.

Someone wants every last bit of dress up clothing that I have, bought and given as gifts in the mistaken notion that Little Miss would be a girly girl.  Although friends of ours have worn the clothes, Little Miss has mostly ignored them as they sat in the basement.  That gold dress on the right?  It is a really nice one and has matching cloth heels, and the selling price of $15 isn't questioned.

Dress up clothes ready to go to a new home

And another grandmother who watches her two grandchildren is making her second trek to my house in just a few minutes.  She wants to get toys for them to play with when they're at her house, and I'll be collecting close to $100 from her for all her new treasures - yet we both feel like we're getting a great deal, which is what this is all about.

Resale items ready to be picked up

Another woman is coming tomorrow morning and wants all my board books, plus any Dr. Seuss or Sesame Street books I can find.  Oh, and she also wants my angelfish rocker.  Sweet.

Board books and angelfish go quickly on sale sites

I've done garage sales.  I've tried consignment sales.  Nothing is working anywhere near this well.  With the consignment sale, I sold way more items, but after the seller fee and the percentage kept by the consignment sale, I didn't make that much.  Today?  I'm going to collect 100 percent of the proceeds, and the work was way less.

It can be frustrating sometimes.  I had two women who were going to buy all my 2T, 4T and 5T girl clothes and my 5T and 7 boy clothes.  That's a ton of stuff that I'm happy to have go to a new home.  At first they were coming one Wednesday and one Thursday.  Then both Friday.  Then they decided I was too far to drive and canceled entirely.  Then they offered to meet me halfway (which I was happy to do since they were buying so much), and I haven't heard from them since.  But that seems to be the rarity, and I know now to avoid that particular buyer.

Best of all, these Facebook groups aren't just by me.  I searched a few other areas, and each one I searched had a Facebook group like this.  As one of my sellers told me - and I agree completely - this is way better than Craigslist.

So what are you waiting for, or are you already doing this?  Tell me how you purge your house of unwanted items when it's time.


Pat September 17, 2012 at 11:30 PM  

This sounds like a great idea. I end up donating regularly to a thrift store and then claiming it as a deduction on our income tax. We live in a remote rural area with a low population density, so a Facebook group might not work as well for me. It's kind of hard to find our house if people aren't familiar with this area. But in regular residential areas it would work very well.

Tami September 18, 2012 at 8:52 AM  

I just heard of this in my area. I need to check it out because I have quite a few items that have taken over my bedroom.

Melisa Wells September 18, 2012 at 9:22 PM  

Wow, fun. I wonder if there's a group down near me...

Sandra September 18, 2012 at 10:47 PM  

Just hours before reading this post, I was invited to a FB group similar to what you're describing, and I hadn't had a chance to look at it yet. But now I know what it is! Sounds like a great purge-aid. Will be looking into this group near me!

Toni September 21, 2012 at 7:10 AM  

I am the queen of purging...the anti-hoarder, if you will. Though, for some reason, just because we have "room" in our house, people want to give us stuff...LOTS of stuff. 99.9% of the time, I don't want it. I used to love doing a garage sale, now I'm at a point where I don't care if I sell it or give it away, I don't want this stuff in my house any longer. Glad you found a resource that is time and cost efficient! :)

Lisa Hanneman September 21, 2012 at 10:51 AM  

I actually love garage sales, but I don't really haggle. I pay what they ask and if it's too high, then I just don't buy it. We have found amazing stuff in our area at garage sales, but I've had trouble unloading some things that I'd like to get rid of on Craiglist... I'm totally going to check this out! It could be the answer.

Brandie September 21, 2012 at 1:07 PM  

Purging is awesome. We stopped going garage sales and just took things to good will because it's so much easier. It's gone, right away, no need to pile it up.
But, last summer we went back to garage sales as a way to raise money for the Avon walk. So I'm back to collecting and piling things up. It's worth it in the end, I think anyway LOL!
Glad your house is losing weight =)

tiarastantrums September 22, 2012 at 10:40 AM  

for real? Can you email me this group?? I have never heard of this and garage sales are so much work and I hate to have things parted for 25 cents! MY CRAWL SPACE if full of old crap!

liveyourlovoutloud September 25, 2012 at 7:59 AM  

Fahbulous....what group? Porter County Swap and Buy?

Michelle September 27, 2012 at 6:25 PM  

Pat - It has been working marvelously. Now if I can just find someone selling a ninja costume, a 24" bike, and a digital kitchen scale, I'll be thrilled ;)

Tami - It's amazing what's out there. And yes, there is a bit of a voyeuristic feel to it. I'll admit.

Melisa - YES. There is. I think I sent you the links already, right?

Sandra - Too funny! Your group isn't close enough to me, but... well you see what's there now :)

Creative Door - I know. When I calculate the hourly wage, it's really depressing, no?

Toni - You're just too sweet. Everyone wants to help you, and you can't say no ;) What doesn't get sold gets donated for me, but I'm amazed by how much gets sold. Not huge prices, but that's fine with me!

Lisa - I don't have so much of a problem going TO garage sales. It's holding my own and getting stuff out effectively. There has to be something by you.

Brandie - It is way easier, and yes, a lot of ours will go to Goodwill. I love that you used yours for the Avon walk - how did I not know this?

Teresa - Yes, I'll email you. :) List. And buy!

Heather - No, I'm northwest of the city. But hey, that just goes to show you how many groups like this are out there, no?

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