So, we had a tag sale this past weekend. Or garage sale. Or yard sale. Or whatever your particular region likes to refer to these things as. I tried to do lots of research before putting it all together. The thing is– we’re not tag sale people. We’ve never had one before and, to be honest, we don’t shop at them. I have NOTHING against tag sales. It’s just not “my thing”, if you will. So there you go. I definitely needed help.
Here are ten bonus things you may want to know that I’ve learned from my time in the trenches:
- Quarters are essential. If there is one unit of money I feared would be depleted, it would be quarters. We started with a whole roll, but they seemed to go fast. Now, by the end, we had over $14 in quarters. So… it all worked out. But make sure you have enough.
- Bags are easy to steal. I know this sounds awful, but it’s the honest truth. If you go through the self check-out, you can take some extra bags. I rationalized this by pointing out that the reason I didn’t HAVE abundant grocery sacks was because I use reusables all the time. So… it all works out in the end.
- You never know what people will buy. I came this close to tossing a few cans of air freshener that I just never, ever use. I don’t like the way it makes me want to hack and gag. But, hey, I threw 25 cent stickers on them and put them out. They went in the blink of an eye. I’m glad they’ll get used and I made a buck. Win-win.
- Your faith in the human spirit may be reinforced. We had people buy clothing for a foundation in Brazil. Another bought books to send to impoverished countries where there’s no such thing as preschool and those board books are treasured. I was so, so happy that I’d priced things “way too low” when I saw these kind souls.
- Your faith in the goodness of people might be shattered. A friendly, chatty lady whose company I had enjoyed stole from me. Just a few dresses, only a couple dollars worth of merchandise. But it hurt and upset me.
- You may hear heart-warming stories. I loved hearing a great-grandma tell me how she scours tag sales looking for “talking animals” (aka those noisy stuffed animals we parents usually hate). She lines them up on the back of her couch and her toddler great-grandson loves to push them all. Isn’t it awesome to have a great-grandma to do that? Most of us mommies would never put up with that racket.
- You may hear sad stories. Like the mother of a 19-month old looking for a second bathtub, potty seat, and toys because she and her husband were separated. That broke my heart.
- Sometimes talking helps. Pointing out a sun hat that was handmade and cherished helped. Mentioning the Baby Einstein videos made one young mom’s day. You know what you have and you can help people find what they need/want. So talk away.
- But sometimes you should shut your mouth. We sold all of our kids’ clothing, but most of the adult clothing we got rid of was my stuff– and mainly jeans. The people who bought them? Were teenaged girls. They don’t want to hear about how those jeans were worn by some 35yo mom of three. I kept my trap firmly closed even when I would have loved to say, “Oh, I used to love wearing those with a long white tee!”
- There is value way beyond what you earn. Yes, we came out ahead with this tag sale. And that’s great. But we honestly ended up donating almost as much as we sold. Still, it was so very, very worth it just to have all that STUFF out of my house. Most of it was totally out of sight, but it was still there, taking up air and space and I’m so grateful to be done with it!
Would I do it again? Absolutely. But I hope to not have to for a good long time.
(Oh! And also? Lemonade Stands are wildly successful. Our kids did super well. I can’t even tell you how many people bought nothing from us but still got lemonade.)