We've been keeping a pile of stuff in our garage for our annual garage sale. It's not much, but just enough for a day like yesterday....a day when I realize our neighbors are having a sale and we can piggyback on their traffic. As I sat there waiting for people to look through our cast off clutter and take it to a new home, I realized a few things.
1. There are two kinds of people - lemonade stand customers and lemonade stand ignorers. Be a lemonade stand customer. This is one of the reasons my girls wanted to have a sale, and it makes me so happy when kind garage salers (probably not a word, but I'm going with it) let go of two of their quarters to brighten a kid's day. It brings back memories of my own lemonade stands and childhood ambitions. I made a new rule for myself yesterday - if I see a kid selling lemonade and have the capacity to buy it, I will. Even if it means I have to run home and get money.
2. If you approach it casually, having an impromptu garage sale is a great way to slow down your day. We didn't pre-price or advertise. The only thing we did before hand was declutter and move unwanted items to a box in the garage. My girls are highly motivated to declutter when they know a sale is in their future. I tell them we can consider a sale when two boxes are filled.
Once we had everything set up and ready to go, all we had to do was wait. Because our sale wasn't huge, we didn't have tons and tons of traffic. We had a lot of down time....time to sit, read, talk, practice violin and even weed the front yard!
3. Having a garage sale is a great way to interact with the neighbors. I talked to all kinds of neighborhood dwellers yesterday. Some were just driving by on their way to or from their house, some were out on a walk and some came over specifically because they saw we were out. This was one of my favorite parts of the day....connecting with those people who live near us.
4. Kids dressed up in costumes attract customers (or at least it makes customers more friendly). During one of the longer stretches of down time, my girls decided that the garage sale was like a garden and the customers were like butterflies. My oldest suggested that she and her sister were the flowers and they needed to dress up to attract the butterflies (customers) to the garden (sale). They disappeared and then reappeared dressed as a knight and a princess.
5. Kids make the best customers. Two boys rode by on big wheels and saw the lemonade stand. They excitedly rode back home and got their $ (which wasn't much). When they returned they agonized over what they could buy and it was fun to watch them interact with my girls. The older boy was so disappointed that he was 1 penny short - it didn't even occur to him to bargain! (I saved the day and gave him a penny).
Another little boy sat right down in my daughter's chair by the table and looked like he was manning the sale. He just sat there, waiting for a customer to come.
So...as much as I want to just donate all our old stuff to a charity or thrift store, my experience yesterday made me realize it was a worthwhile way to spend part of our day. My girls got to have a lemonade stand, we interacted with some neighbors and my front yard got weeded! The best part is that a friend of mine is having a huge sale today, with proceeds going to the Orphanage in Mexico that we visited, and she picked up everything we didn't sell.