After selling some larger items on Craigslist and giving away some special possessions to friends, we decided to sell much of the rest at a garage sale today.
Our kids were a big part of the process as most of the items for sale were their old toys and books. They helped with making signs, setting-up, and for the most part pricing their own items.
We probably had a few unspoken goals for the garage sale:
- Get rid of as much as we could – the rest was going to Goodwill.
- Make some money.
- Help others.
So, these goals were constantly competing, depending on what it was we were selling, who we were selling to, and what time of the day it was. We could even see the “tension” in our children. Sometimes, they’d be asked to negotiate their price, and they wouldn’t budge. But at other times, especially if it was a neighbor friend, or even a new “friend,” they would be happy to part with it, often even just gifting it in the end. And of course, by the end of the sale, when temperatures were well over 90 degrees, we found ourselves piling things into people’s arms and just wanting it all to be over.
We came to the same conclusion as most garage sellers – our stuff, after we’ve used it and enjoyed it, just isn’t as valuable to someone else. I had to keep remembering that we’ve already gotten the value out of it. I found myself emotionally connecting with the ones who did end up choosing to buy things like my favorite wall-hangings or children’s books; saying things like, “I’m so glad you liked that.” As if their approval or rejection of items was some kind of personal statement to my choice of decor and taste! It was a funny experience.
My favorite part of the garage sale, of course, was meeting new people. I loved asking if they had kids and trying to find things their children would enjoy. One of my favorite customers was an aunt whose nephew was visiting for the summer. She took home 3 whole stacks of great books and resources to share with him over the coming months. He was interested in birds and insects and castles, so we had plenty of things for him.
All in all, it was a very successful day, and our home is clearing out. I thought our kids were awesome, and our daughter especially was a rock-star. She had a natural ease about her in selling and dealing with transactions. While typically a more reserve-natured girl, she showed poise and confidence the whole time, even getting to practice a bit of her Spanish.
They all were able to reap the rewards of selling their items. I think it is helping for this transition experience of parting with their possessions. They were more willing to make the trade-off when they saw that they could make money or make someone else happy. This whole process is changing them already. It’s pretty cool.