Friday, March 23, 2012

How We Threw a Pinterest-Worthy Garage/Yard Sale

This past week, we all benefited from Spring break with Squire home to ourselves. It was so great, it made me wish Squire could just stay home with us, with no study commitments all the time! I asked Squire if he would, and he said he'd like to, but that he's got to be a man and get good grades so he can bring in the bacon and stuff like that. *Sigh.* Soooo close.

Though it was Spring "break", it certainly didn't keep us from being busy, busy, busy. We decided to capitalize on our downtime by selling some of our stuff in a fantastic multi-family yard sale with a few of our friends. And not to brag or anything, ;) but our garage/yard sale was pretty much only second to Disneyland with its magical feeling.

What was so magical about our sale? We set it up boutique-style. There was no throwing-stuff-on-to-a-ratty-old-blanket-on-the-ground-good-luck-picking-through-that-pile-ness going on. No no no.

We cleared out all of our beautiful garage shelving, and covered up Squire's work bench and the chest freezer and 50-gallon water jug with brightly colored blankets and sheets.  One of the shelves was dedicated to the small more delicate items. We gave them height and importance by laying down a variety of sturdy cardboard and plastic boxes face down and covering them with large luscious fabric I had laying around in my closet. See what I'm talking about?

You can't see them well, but in all but one of the picture frames (the 8 square frame), my friend cut out prints of artwork from an older art magazine she had. They looked so cute, I decided I would hang on to one of the frames that didn't sell, because I liked how it looked with the makeshift art!

Like the tricky people we are, we placed toys and unbreakable bedding in the line of sight of the kidlets. Haha. Selective advertising - that's right!

Squire installed two bike hooks from our garage ceiling and hung one of our wooden closet bars from them with a little rope for a makeshift clothes rack. It worked beautifully. We hung most of the clothes from plastic hangers on the rack and from the metal shelving above Squire's work bench. Oh, and we steamed all the clothes, too. (My friend Amanda and I have both done our time working retail, and retail has apparently done its own number on us as well. Hehe.) And, I had some left-over yellow lace from making my shower curtain that I added to the hooks for a little flair. :)

We also had quite a bit of scrap fabric, baby onesies and burp rags to sell. To make them more appealing, we bundled them in groups, folded or rolled them and tied them up with twine or ribbon we had laying around.  See them on the work bench and table? :) They were absolutely adorable.

I made sure to write cute messages on the two chalkboards I was selling, "You know you want me! I'm magnetic!" Haha. And, "You can write on me!"

We organized patterns, and scrap-booking and paper goods in the magazine rack I was selling. I also sold some of my hand-crafted jewelry during the sale. The stands full of colorful jewelry added a nice touch.

Squire nailed a few nails into a board that we had leaning against the back wall to display the purses in a staggered line. You can't see them all, but you can see a few if you look towards the stripey green quilt in the back.


We advertised our yard sale on and I even got our yard sale to be featured on the yard sale search website (which means it was at the top of the listings and was starred and in a different color than the rest of the yard sales in Tucson) by including a link to their site on my blog for the week.  I think you can pay $5 and get the same featured status if you're not in to advertising for other people on your site. I tried to make my ads detailed and entertaining. Because there's no second chance for a first impression, right?

Speaking of first impressions . . . I made sure to go all out to make beautiful yard sale signs, so that they would be sure to catch anyone and everyone's attention. We got comments on how awesome my handmade yard sale signs were throughout the course of the day. Who would have thought that some old acrylic paint, a few big pieces of cardboard and a really thick Sharpie marker could work such wonders?

We had a few others things to make the mood light and merry. We made sure to have music playing throughout the day. I had plans to make a custom playlist on for the event, but that didn't happen, so we just played my Spring Romance CD that I got from Bed Bath and Beyond a few years ago. It had charming jazzy tunes from Ella Fitzgerald and the like.

Also, we had many free items to give away during the sale. Instead of throwing them in a box on the sidewalk, we hid free items throughout the shelves and tables. We made a limit of 2 free items per family.

We also sold lemonade and had a bake sale as well. We sold chocolate chip cookies, rice krispie treats with green sugar for St.Patrick's day, regular brownies, and "man-catcher" brownies with Reese's peanut butter cups. Yum. Every customer that spent over $5 at the yard sale received a free glass of lemonade. :)

A few of the leftovers from the bake sale.
I don't think we made more than $5 per hour for all the labor we put into this yard sale. Haha. But, we still considered it a massive success. Our yard sale was successful because:
  • No, our labor wasn't cost-effective, but we did still bring home a nice chunk of cash each. Money in exchange for things we weren't using anyways. Pretty neat. (I'm pretty sure Squire picked up a shelf job or two from the event though, so the money might just keep coming . . .)
  • It always feels good to do something really well. Especially when no one expects it, and it isn't required of you. 
  • Ahhh! Beautiful space! We sold quite a bit of our stuff. Then we donated a bunch after that, too. Made some fresh room in our homes.
  • Because we had to clear out all of our shelves and such, our garage is now much more organized than it was before. And our fish tank that we decided we couldn't part with, is nice and clean.
  • What a trip down memory lane it is when you go through boxes of your old things! We all enjoyed sharing stories and laughs about the items we were selling or were keeping but rediscovered in the search for things to sell.
  • We made friends with several neighbors we didn't know before the sale. 
  • We met other interesting people - like the guy who said he didn't have any more money in order to haggle down a price, and then produced another dollar for some other item just minutes later. Or the Schwan's delivery guy who stopped in to kill a few minutes and bought only a small bouquet of fake flowers.
  • I'm not going to post the name here, but I heard the most adorable baby girl name at the sale. I'm pretty sure I'm going to snag it for one of my future daughters (if I ever have a daughter.) *Fingers crossed.*
  • My appreciation and understanding of my friend, Amanda has increased tenfold. We had so much fun laughing and working together. We are determined that this will not be our last project together - Swap Meet booth, here we come! :)

And little Linky? He enjoyed the yard sale, too. Running around with Amanda's kidlets and playing in the yard - what more could a little boy want? Well, maybe a brownie . . . which he made sure to grab when we weren't looking. Haha.

As the sun sets on this 6-day old memory, it leaves only the glow of nostalgia, pride, and satisfaction. 


  1. Thanks for embarking on this journey with me. We did create some great memories...and a little cash too. Till our next adventure!

  2. cute garage sale!! that is such a good idea to make it attractive and so creative! i love it!

    i saw you blog on my sidebar for BlogHer and am stopping by :)

  3. That's true. A lot of effort is needed to make yard sales work. Apart from organizing your things, you also have to engage people to come. And one of the ways to do it apart from online advertising are the signs you've made. They don't just announce the site and direct people to come over, they can also indicate how much effort you've put through. Even if there are times when your labor isn't cost-effective, what's important is that, at least, you've had fun with your yard sale.

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