5 Things I Learned Hosting a Garage Sale

Art to some people.

Serious art to some people.  No kidding.


Garage Sales are a lot of work.  I knew that going in but decided freeing up the space in my garage was worth the effort. I was tired of opening up my car door into a box of something I clearly didn’t need as it had been sitting there for four years. At least I can park my car in the garage; I just can’t get out of it easily.  My suspicions were correct, only worse:  Garage sales are astronomical amounts of work!  Approximately 57 man-hours went into a six-hour sale that netted $130 or $2.28 per hour. And I didn’t get rid of nearly enough.


I will share my wisdom for those hoping to get rich off your unwanted treasures.


  1. Lazy pricing is the way to go! Thank goodness I did not waste time pricing each item. For example, I grouped vases, jars, and sculptures on a table: $5 each or $7 for a set (usually two items.) Originally I offered each item at $5 per item and $10 for a set. I know. It took me a second to realize my genius deal. Don’t get too lazy with the pricing.  Also, I didn’t sell anything off the decor table until I dropped the price to a dollar per item.  See lesson two.


  1. Price items to move, not for profit. The true purpose of a garage sale is to get crap out of your garage or your house.  The event really should be renamed:  “Get Rid Of It Sale.” Anything over $10 did not sell, except for a small lamp. I have a garage full of proof. If you make any money out of the process, consider it a win with fewer trips to GoodWill.


  1. Antiques are better off sold on craigslist, etsy or ebay. I would have made more money charging Looky-Loos admission to see my very cool antiques that I neatly displayed on one table in the antiques section of my sale. (I was very organized.)  Unfortunately, nobody wanted them for fair market value. My crafty pricing I printed off ebay and attached to the item to PROVE the worth of an item did not work. For example, I had a 1950s Bean Pot with working hot plate. I crossed off the $30 pricing on the ebay listing and wrote in $20 with a sharpie, a deal! Refer back to lesson number two.
1920s radio. Weighs a ton.

1920s radio. Will look great on a mantel, or a museum.

  1. Free items sell! Sounds obvious but honestly, it was the most disappointing sale of the day. The bag of crayons, markers, paints, colored pencils and electric pencil sharpener did not go to the desperate teacher I hoped would pick it up. Instead, an early bird threw all the stuff in her car and wouldn’t tell her friend or me her M.O. so we all felt weird, like I left a $100 bill in the bag. I kind of hoped the bucket of markers she got was all dried up and she only found out after testing each one, all 100 of them. If the expectation is to give away items to a certain kind of customer, mark it: FREE to Teachers.


  1. Meet your neighbors. Our driveway was the social hot spot throughout the day and made the garage sale worth it.


  • Hubby taught a precocious ten-year-old down the street how to play Risk, the used game we sold him for $1.  They talked about flag football and whether the QB on his team was accurate.  “Of course he’s accurate or he wouldn’t be the quarterback,” the wise boy answered the silly old man.


  • Hubby taught another neighbor how to take care of a goldfish properly, while giving away four fishbowls, a fishnet and colored rocks. It felt wrong to charge them $5 for the whole kit.  Good thing hubby came so I could work the bigger deals like a $20 lamp (the one big ticket item) and $10 kid golf clubs.


  • An 83  year-old lady wanted to buy the beautiful Garage Sale signs I posted in the neighborhood so she could use them for her sale. I told her I would be happy to make new ones since the date and address were different. She talked to me for thirty minutes about everything from ailments to Beatles albums to broken email.  She admired my muscly son and decided to hire him to move marble tiles out of her attic on the hottest day of the year, 97 degrees.  She wanted everything I wasn’t selling.


Despite all my learning, next time I’m going to skip the garage sale and host a pay-what-you-want lemonade stand instead. I can raise money for a charity while visiting with my neighbors, all worth it.

Share on Facebook

The Superwoman in My Hometown

Remember to Remember

  My hometown is host to a superwoman. Many locals sip her steamy cappuccinos or me, soy lattes with her sweet barista stamp: a heart swirled into the milky froth. Most of us in town had no idea the owner of Café Papillon was a heroine in her home country of Cambodia, saving her family from…

Share on Facebook

Music: What the World Needs Now.

Music made it better.  Friends since preschool.

Something is burning inside of me. I bet something is burning inside of you too. Crazy, crazy acts in our country and around the globe are making us feel as though we are living multiple decades all at once: wars, riots, twisted politics, discrimination. Times I only knew through school or movies and made me…

Share on Facebook

Italy Highlights 2016

Hubby says I stopped it from leaning in my photo.

For two weeks, my family traveled across Italy experiencing to-die-for wine and food, breathtaking views, impressive architecture and art, and a people so friendly we wanted to convert. ROME We started in Rome/Pompei. Hired guides educated us on the Vatican and Roman sights. Our heads were stuffed with historical facts, enough to last a lifetime….

Share on Facebook

Pope Francis at Vatican City and Me

Dang! Hubby is good!

At last, I finally got to see my favorite celebrity in person: Pope Fran! He was on his own turf, right in Vatican City. I wish I could say we sat down with a nice cappuccino. Instead, it was just myself, my family and 30K other crazy Pope Fran fans from all over the world.  …

Share on Facebook

New Stress Release: Coloring Books

collection of coloring books

“I feel like a kid again,” says anyone doing something they haven’t done in years. Eating cotton candy, riding a skateboard, watching the movie Cinderella. There is something about doing “kid” things that brings back fond memories of a worry-free life. Playing games with your kids or watching a Disney movie gives you permission to…

Share on Facebook

Girlfriends Are The Best!

Our first night in SF

You know those moments when you think, “Wow! I have the best girlfriends!” Sometimes I’m driving in my car thinking about how a friend who solved a problem for me. Or I might think about an acquaintance who gave me the low-down for writing a book and becomes my friend.  Girlfriends are the best in so many…

Share on Facebook

I Wanna Be A Millennial

Hipster ideas form here.

Millennials are cool. I want to be one, based on the two I met. I can also say I had a parenting epiphany at the same time. We can learn a lot from these hipsters.   I connected with two very bright ladies through my high school friend, an exchange student from Sweden from way…

Share on Facebook

The Easter Bunny Lives

small easter picture

    And that’s the way it was fourteen years ago. A two-year-old was in a face-off with the Easter Bunny, unsure of this tall furry creature in the park. Dozens of chubby-legged preschoolers dragged their brimming baskets from egg to egg, delighting in every pastel find. Candy-filled eggs with melting chocolate and jelly beans…

Share on Facebook

2016 Election: Vote for the Hair!

Which one is your favorite?

Regardless of your choice of candidates, most people would agree the 2016 Presidential Election is unprecedented. The frontrunners defied all odds. The lack of political experience improved a candidate’s chances. Usually, discriminatory or inflammatory remarks would sink a candidate, but not this race. Young people are making a huge difference. As long as we are…

Share on Facebook