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Thread: Gar(b)age Sales

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Gar(b)age Sales

    I confess I like to shop garage sales. It's a good way to be frugal and re-using things instead of buying new stuff is environmentally responsible behavior.

    That said, the idea of holding our own garage sale turns my stomach like sour milk. What a hassle! Seems like donating all the stuff we no longer want to a place like Goodwill would 1) take a mere fraction of time required for a garage sale, 2) would permit us to name the value (to a point) and take it as a tax write-off; 3) wouldn't have to deal with those god-awful chiselers (like me) always trying to get everything for nothing.

    Anywho, the in-laws want to hold a gar(b)age sale and are asking us to contribute both our items and our time towards the enterprise. Mrs. Maister seems to actually be not appalled by the idea If she agrees you just KNOW I am going to get pressed into service. How do I get out of this?

    Along more general discussion lines - are you personally a garage saler? Have you ever hosted one? And you say you'd be willing to do so again? Really? What's up with that? What kind of medications do you take?

    What are items that you see at every garage sale that NEVER sell? Dont you feel sorry for all the schmucks trying to sell their old "Lethal Weapon 2" plastic cups they got at Burger King and McDonalds?


    50 cents - $1 seems to be the going rate for VHS tapes these days.
    $1-$2 for CD's or DVD's
    kids clothes - depends but expect $2 for pair of pants in decent shape
    Last edited by Maister; 16 May 2012 at 11:19 AM.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Don't go to many garage sales. Prefer estate sales, much more interesting merchandise. People tend not to part with the good stuff until they die.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    I'm the opposite of you Maister.

    I do not shop at garage sales, but enjoy having one of my own every year. Last year we did two - one for the neighborhood sale and then before we moved. Won't be having one this year.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  4. #4
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I've thought about hosting one in the past but we don't really have that much stuff I want to part with and, more importantly, my wife doesn't like the idea of strangers pawing through our stuff.

    I enjoy stopping by other folks' garage sales but rarely buy anything. I really just like looking at other folks' junk! I did however purchase a very nice croquet set and some garden tools at a couple sales around the end of last summer. There are a few neighborhoods near us that are full of million dollar homes and I always stop if I find a garage sale when I am running through or driving past with the hopes of finding something cool (that's where I found the croquet set). I'm hoping to find a jogging stroller at a garage sale this spring or summer. We've also begun going to estate sales on occasion but have discovered the contents can be very hit or miss. We go because we are on the look out for a couple large pieces of furniture and a few other bigger ticket items but it seems that a lot of the estate sales are nothing more than an indoor garage sale.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  5. #5
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    I don't shop garage sales very often. I have enough junk at home, I don't need to buy someone else's. I tend to donate unused items to Goodwill/Salvation Army. I don't want the junk around my house any longer than it already has.

    We had a garage sale a few years ago and it went relatively well. My parents brought stuff over from their house. That was a little bit annoying because rather than just bring it all over the day before the sale they brought crud over almost daily that we then had to store until the sale. If we do it again I'm giving them much less notice! I think we ended up making a few hundred dollars. I priced some things too high but I couldn't imagine selling some nicer items for pennies on the dollar. Those items got packed back up and are still in our basement. Towards the end of the sale we held a mini- Fire Sale for some neighbor kids. For $.50 they could take as much as they could carry.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    We call them "tag sales" around these parts.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    I've thought about hosting one in the past but we don't really have that much stuff I want to part with and, more importantly, my wife doesn't like the idea of strangers pawing through our stuff.

    I enjoy stopping by other folks' garage sales but rarely buy anything. I really just like looking at other folks' junk! I did however purchase a very nice croquet set and some garden tools at a couple sales around the end of last summer. There are a few neighborhoods near us that are full of million dollar homes and I always stop if I find a garage sale when I am running through or driving past with the hopes of finding something cool (that's where I found the croquet set). I'm hoping to find a jogging stroller at a garage sale this spring or summer. We've also begun going to estate sales on occasion but have discovered the contents can be very hit or miss. We go because we are on the look out for a couple large pieces of furniture and a few other bigger ticket items but it seems that a lot of the estate sales are nothing more than an indoor garage sale.
    If your interested in estate sales check out estatesales.net. Most ads there have 50-100 pictures so you know what to expect.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    I don't go to yard sales, just have never had the interest in such. We've held a couple yard sales and made a few bucks, but it didn't seem like the $$ received was worth the time it took to do it. For some reason Wee P has wanted to hold a yard sale, but I'm not sure why.She doesn't usually want to part with stuff.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  9. #9
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jsk1983 View post
    Don't go to many garage sales. Prefer estate sales, much more interesting merchandise. People tend not to part with the good stuff until they die.
    When I was back in Buffalo, one of my best friends got me hooked on estate sales. There's usually 10 or more large estate sales going on any given weekend, and I've gotten quite a few bargains there. It's a lot more convenient than hitting up scattered garage sales with small, usually unknown quantities or qualities of stuff.

    My estate sale strategies: visit the Web sites, check out the photos, find the sales that seem the most promising to you, and hit those first first thing in the morning. Become familiar with quality: know what the truly high-end clothing, tools, housewares and electronics brands are, and you're ahead of most of the crowd. You can find RevereWare or Chicago Cutlery at any estate sale, but if you see All-Clad or twin Henkels, snap it up. At the sales you hit later, always go into the basement first. usually there will still be plenty of decent tools; often from unrecognized, long-gone American brands, that were passed over in earlier in the day. If you're interested in something you know others might not be interested in,or which you think might be priced on the high side, wait until the second day, when it'll probably still be there, and half price.

    I found the best sales tend to be in middle- to upper-income pre-WWII neighborhoods (generally tasteful, higher-quality goods items), and neighborhoods that experienced racial transition 10 to 25 years earlier (holdouts with lots of family heirlooms, great local ephemera, and often outstanding tools.). The worst are working-class suburbs (lots of gaudy Rococo and French Provincial furniture, knick-knacks, big CRT televisions, and Christmas ornaments, but occasionally decent tools) and upper-middle class suburban neighborhoods developed in the 1990s and later (everything is too new and too middle-end, never any decent tools). Sales promoted as being those of professional athletes can usually be passed; the prices will be jacked up, there's almost never much there that's extraordinary, and you won't get any certification of provenance. Is there really a market on eBay for an Ikea desk lamp from some Sabres benchwarmer?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    I absolutely refuse to go to them. I had to go to garage sales, estate sales, antique stores and flea markets with my ex. Never again will I go to any of those.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    I've never had much luck selling stuff at garage sales. But if I just leave stuff out I don't want they do seem to disappear.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    I've never had much luck selling stuff at garage sales. But if I just leave stuff out I don't want they do seem to disappear.
    This makes me wonder if I could go to some garage sales and leave my junk there and hope nobody would notice...
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  13. #13
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    But if I just leave stuff out I don't want they do seem to disappear.
    We've done this with larger items (night stand, chest of drawers) and it works like a charm.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Garage sales are depressing. The only thing that's a bigger downer than a box full of old paperbacks nobody wants to read is somebody trying to sell a box full of old paperbacks nobody wants to read.

    "How much for this book?"

    "50 cents"

    "Come on, nobody wants this. I'll give you a quarter for it."

    "50 cents"

    "I wouldn't pee on this book for 50 cents."

    "Don't care what you do with it, Perv-O, if you give me the 50 cents."
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  15. #15
    Cyburbian terraplnr's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    I don't shop garage sales very often. I have enough junk at home, I don't need to buy someone else's. I tend to donate unused items to Goodwill/Salvation Army. I don't want the junk around my house any longer than it already has.
    I feel the same way. Also, I am not enough of an early bird on the weekends to get up and go to garage sales (aka yard sales out here since a lot of people of have converted their garages into living space), unless I know the seller(s) personally.

    But on the other hand I do like to frequent thrift stores, for whatever reason I don’t feel guilty letting my son pick out whatever toy he wants there while I browse the books and stuff, versus buying something new at a regular store (nope, sorry little guy), I guess it's that the money goes to a non-profit.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    We've done this with larger items (night stand, chest of drawers) and it works like a charm.
    I've always been surprised at how quickly things disappear when put out on the street, even the there's-no-way-in-hell-somebody-wants-this stuff. Are there people that just cruise the streets looking for free isht?

  17. #17
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    I've always been surprised at how quickly things disappear when put out on the street, even the there's-no-way-in-hell-somebody-wants-this stuff. Are there people that just cruise the streets looking for free isht?
    Yes. My desk chair was garbage picked. Oak swivel chair, unsure of vintage but has some age.

  18. #18
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ursus View post
    Garage sales are depressing. The only thing that's a bigger downer than a box full of old paperbacks nobody wants to read is somebody trying to sell a box full of old paperbacks nobody wants to read.
    I'm just the opposite. Old paperbacks were read and enjoyed, or maybe not. They served their purpose, and if nobody else wants them, they should be recycled, or returned to the earth as mulch.

    I know there's a general mindset among many that the written word is sacred in all of its forms, and that hoarding books is noble and encouraged even though hoarding sheet metal, old newspapers, junked cars and cats is a sickness. Librarians regularly weed their collections of books, and you should have no qualms about doing the same.

    Leave it to the pros at the libraries to archive the contents of old books you otherwise have no use for. Don't fill your house with stinky, yellow, and otherwise unloved silverfish colonies out of some kind of misplaced respect for the written word.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  19. #19
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    I've always been surprised at how quickly things disappear when put out on the street, even the there's-no-way-in-hell-somebody-wants-this stuff. Are there people that just cruise the streets looking for free isht?
    There are the same three or four few that drive through our area every Thursday night and Friday morning to look through our garbage. I once set two cheaply made, old interior doors out by the curb one Thursday evening last spring and they were gone by the time I took the recycling out just before bed a few hours later. If somebody wants to take my trash and reuse, recycle, re-purpose, or resell it I don't have much of a problem with that. I've noticed that appliances and broken furniture, regardless of the apparent condition, don't seem to last on the curb long enough for the garbage man to actually come and get them.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    I don't shop garage sales very often. I have enough junk at home, I don't need to buy someone else's. I tend to donate unused items to Goodwill/Salvation Army. I don't want the junk around my house any longer than it already has.
    I'm the same way. Besides, I'm in the "let's get rid of stuff" stage of life, as opposed to the "let's acquire more stuff, and then we'll buy a bigger house" stage. I also have no patience for shopping. I know people who are really, really good at finding some cute-but-decrepit piece of junk at a garage sale, fixing and refinishing it, and ending up with a beautiful piece of furniture. I just don't have that talent.

    As far as hosting my own garage sale, forget it -- the "no patience" clause above applies to that, too. I'd rather give something away via Freecycle or Goodwill. It's not worth it to me to spend the time doing all the organizing, schlepping, advertising, etc. for a garage sale where you might make 100 bucks if you're lucky.

    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    I've always been surprised at how quickly things disappear when put out on the street, even the there's-no-way-in-hell-somebody-wants-this stuff. Are there people that just cruise the streets looking for free isht?
    Yup. Student ghettos are the best for that sort of thing. I remember my brother-in-law finding these awesome chairs while walking around one of the college student neighborhoods. At the end of the school year, students abandon all sorts of items, many in excellent shape.

  21. #21
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I've hosted one garage sale after the house in California was sold. If necessary, I might host another.

    I never go to garage sales.

    I left the last Weber bbq at the curb one afternoon; it was gone before sunset.
    I don't do anything right.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    50 cents - $1 seems to be the going rate for VHS tapes these days.
    $1-$2 for CD's or DVD's
    VHS tapes, IMHO, are completely worthless. Trash, gift-wrapping ribbons, sapling pole ties, etc.



    Audio CDs - 25-50¢, DVDs - I'll agree could be in the $1-2 range.

    I'll sometimes stop in at gar(b)age and especially estate sales if the time allows and I see interesting looking ones close by the route that I am driving at the time.

    A couple of years ago I did pick up an unrestored antique radio that could easily 'hammer' in the $500-1.5K range (at auction with serious collectors) for $30 at a local yard sale.



    Mike

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