We participated in our neighborhood garage sale today. This is an account of the totally real shit I lived through and observed before noon today…with no coffee in my system.
The names would be changed to protect the innocent, but I was so overwhelmed by the whole experience I didn’t get any names. So every one’s safe.
Months and weeks preceding garage sale… I begin collecting our family’s unwanted items into boxes for the garage sale. Our garage is packed with these items and quickly rendered useless. I start only opening the overhead garage door in the dark, with the lights off, for fear my neighbors will judge us, capture images of the situation, and submit them to that show Hoarders (or “find the cat,” as my friends and I lovingly refer to it). My husband doesn’t feel the same way about the garage, so I avoid being seen near him when he opens the garage door in broad daylight. I reason that by doing this the neighbors will only judge him, and they are less likely to volunteer him for reality shows because my husband has that “I wish you would” look. (Though that doesn’t stop our lovely neighbor from reporting us to the HOA for farting wrong.)
Days preceding garage sale… I start sneaking into the garage to organize the crap tons of things I want to sell. I’m still not opening the garage door, and there’s still so much shit that I can’t walk without injuring myself, so this process sucks. I stop cooking and cleaning because I can’t brave the jungles of my garage and be all domestic. Also, I don’t need much of an excuse to stop cooking and cleaning because I’m not really that domestic anyway.
The night before… To prepare for the garage sale, I begin bringing the stuff from the garage back in to the house. Our house is a freaking nightmare now. I abandon any further organizing at midnight because I want to get up at 4:30am to set everything out in the drive way.
4:30 AM… Hell no. Reset alarm.
5:00 AM… No! No, no, no. Let’s just donate everything. Fuck it! Snooze.
5:20 AM… Whine. Complain. Get up. Get dressed. Move cars out of driveway. Husband comes out.
Me to Hubby: I propose we sleep until 6:00 AM. Nobody’s out yet.
Me too Hubby: Get up! Get up! We have to get everything out before the early early birds start swooping!!!
Hubby: Oh it’s too late to avoid that.
Me: No it’s not. Move!
It’s too late. I open the garage and start bringing stuff out. I try to avoid early birds by running back in the house when they drive up. It’s still pitch black outside. Early birds follow us into garage to ask if we have bikes and computers for sale. They also begin to ask us to sell various family items in our garage.
This shit’s not for sale. You’d know what is for sale if you’d wait five minutes for us to pull everything out into the driveway. You’re confused because you’ve wandered into my house. We still live here and need some of this stuff. Now, back off, before I jack a fool.
6:30 AM… Finally, the sun comes up. And by “sun comes up” I mean it’s no longer pitch black, but there’s dense cloud cover, and it begins to rain. On everything I just pulled out.
6:40 AM… It stops raining. This is Texas, that’s all we get. That’s why I call the rain here “crop tease.” This won’t be saving my yard from death, but I do now have to walk around and towel everything off.
7:00 AM… My husband, having not read my blog about how much I love sales, begins delivering instructions on how to stage my garage sale. ………………………………………………………………………
(These dots represent me pausing dramatically with my “seriously?” face on. Blink blink. Blink blink.)
This is our junk. We are selling our junk. I realize that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and all that, but still….really… it’s just junk. I’m not staging junk. My husband stages the junk himself. Putting items he feels will draw people in, in key places. In other words, anything with a Cowboys logo is front row. If my friend and I had done the staging, the two boxes of books would have been front row, but, to each his own.
Meanwhile my friend and I are trying to get our feet under us on this ‘giving out change’ business. I was taught how to add and subtract using touch math (meaning each number 1-9 has strategically placed imaginary dots on it. Someone thought it would be brilliant to teach kids how to +/- using the dots. You try making change using that strategy.) My friend’s excuse is an overly gracious cash register at her first job at DQ. It told her how much change to give, so she never had to learn. We. Are. A. Mess.
Side story: Once in college I had to deliver a pizza. THIS WAS NOT PART OF MY POSITION. I was doing it as a favor. I figured out exactly how much change to give, based on how much the pizza was, before I left the restaurant. When I got there, the customer gave me a $20 and told me to tip myself $1.50. I stood there trying to calculate the change in my head using touch math. Finally, after about a minute and a half, the guy said, “Just….keep the change.” Let me tell you, that tip was soooo not worth the dignity I lost that night. I did the walk of shame back to my car and drove back to the restaurant listening to Boy George, Crying Game.
7:30 AM… My husband gets back with donuts and drinks for the kids to sell.
We do this for two reasons.
It amuses us to no end that someone will try to talk you down to $0.25 on a $75.00 Chico’s sweater, but they will drop $2 on a single donut and a Coke.
This actually happened:
Shopper to Me: How much for this shirt?
(Shirt is a nearly new Talbots button down)
Shopper: Too expensive (puts shirt down)…… how much are the donuts?
Shopper: And the sodas?
Shopper: I’ll take 4 donuts and 2 Cokes.
I’m going to start telling people the clothes taste just like donuts.
8:30 AM… A woman comes, apparently for no other reason than to toss my neat themed piles of clothes like a salad. Literally, that’s all she did. I seriously wonder if she had a clothes unsorting fetish or something. When the clothes are a complete hodge-podge, she leaves, having bought nothing.
9:45 AM… My husband gets back from our son’s soccer game and immediately asks, “did anyone buy the Cowboys stuff?” I begrudgingly tell him that every piece of the Cowboys stuff has been sold. My husband gloats.
Gloat away, fool. Now what’s our staging strategy? (Note: I don’t actually care what our staging strategy is.)
There were actually two different people at the garage sale who were really excited about the books. (Four if you count my friend and me.)
10:00 AM… My daughter tells my friend a 2 minute story in 30 minutes flat. I say, “we’re working on her story telling. Starting with thinning out the details.” My son is going through all of the junk we’re selling and setting aside items he wants to keep, and items he wants to play with until they sell.
Also, a woman suggests that I could put the clothes in neat themed piles. I explain that they were neat themed piles until about 8:15 AM this morning.
11:15 AM… I look at my watch hoping this is almost over. Thank God, it is. We wrap at Noon, and I’m getting hungry! Luckily, a school board candidate with a platform pitch about financial irresponsibility and sneakiness in our district comes to introduce himself. We’re a high-growth, high-performing district in an underfunded, over legislated state. So I eat him for lunch. Yum, Yum, tastes like chicken. I briefly school him on the district’s policies, public school funding in Texas, where the information he’s looking for can actually be found, and how you can’t spoon feed people information that’s pretty much readily available to them. To his credit, he does listen and absorb my points. Poor guy. (Recommended song for drive home? Try Boy George, Crying Game.)
Meanwhile on the streets of my neighborhood we’ve got people driving on the wrong side of the road; people hauling gigantic trailers with house loads of furniture nearly falling out them; people parking in the middle of the road and leaving their door open to run up to garage sales and hungrily grab items they want. …Which in some cases is crazy shit, like a denim shirt with a Cowboys logo on it.
It’s at this point my son asks if he can go ride his bike.
12:00 PM… Boom! Party over, people. We load up the cars for Goodwill and take a nap.
We did not make a million dollars today, but I can now open my over head garage door in broad daylight. I’ll take it.
6:00 AM the morning after (when we planned to sleep late as both a recovery and reward from yesterday)… BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
Husband: What the hell is that?!
Me: Are you kidding me?!
Me: Sigh, I forgot to disable my alarm from yesterday!