The weather finally cleared and we were able to hold the garage sale yesterday that we had postponed for months.

We had held a garage sale less than a year ago but this time we approached it differently. Last time, we used a neighborhood-wide garage sale as an opportunity to clean out a couple of closets. This time when I went through the house to decide what to include in the sale, it was a “take no prisoners” kind of effort. 

We are going to put our house on the market and hopefully, sell it and move. So when I looked at everything in my cupboards with the thought of having to pack it up, the decision about whether to keep or try and sell the fragile glass chip and dip set that I haven’t used since we moved here 17 years ago got a lot easier.

Steve, always the marketing strategist, had been thinking about how we could improve our message and merchandising for this latest retail effort. For starters, on Craigslist and the signage, he decided it should be called a “Moving Sale” instead of “Garage Sale.” Moving sale has an “Everything must go – including valuable stuff” urgency about it. “Garage Sale” represents it much more for what it actually is, a family trying to get rid of a bunch of dusty, random junk that has been taking up space in the house and garage for years.

Instead of just spreading all the vases, kitchen gadgets, gardening materials, and hardware bits and pieces across tables and waiting for people to ask for a price, Steve separated the stuff into three categories: free, $1, $5 and then big items like the dog kennel and gigantic easel into a “Make me an offer” category with easy to read signage.

We had our son’s old Alienware laptop and an eight year old desktop that we also wanted to sell. Knowing that outdated electronics have about as much market value as old underwear, Steve set them up on a table in the driveway and strung an extension cord out to them so at least people who were interested could see that they worked. And then he priced them for not much more than a few gallons of gas.

The DVD’s, gardening supplies and tools sold quickly. Thankfully, a couple of strapping young men bought a couple hundred pounds of books for $4. We hung in there for a little longer and by noon, some of the clothes, a good portion of the household stuff and even the computers and easel had sold. However, it turns out that you can’t even give stuffed animals away.

By 12:30, we went into free mode. Steve was practically sneaking the remainders into the cars of anyone who stopped to browse so we wouldn’t be left with several carloads of stuff that needed to go to Goodwill.

The day was definitely a success. We had chatted with many of our neighbors throughout the morning and by the time we wrapped it up at about 1:00, we only had the clothes and stuffed animals left.

There is one item that didn’t sell and that we couldn’t fit into the car to take to Goodwill. Know anyone who wants a well-weathered Dogloo?