I’ve been on a decluttering kick recently.
By that, I mean about once a month for the past few months I’ve gotten out garbage bags and filled them with stuff. Stuff that I haven’t used in years, stuff that I’ve planned to use for years but never got around to, stuff that was taking up space, stuff that I don’t need. Geez, do we ever have a lot of stuff.
What Do We Do With All This Stuff?
As I was decluttering, I sorted the clutter into three piles: donate, trash, and sell.
The donate pile was mostly old books, clothes and blankets.
The trash pile was papers and other well-used stuff that didn’t have another life left in them.
The sell pile was for the nicest items; items that we’d bought recently but only lightly used. We were planning to sell these items online, although Mountain Papa (our designated seller) wasn’t looking forward to time spent photographing, posting, haggling, and shipping said crap, all necessary steps to selling online.
A Frugalazy Opportunity
A few weeks after I began accumulating our stuff into piles, but before I got around to dropping off my donate pile, I got an e-mail from my neighborhood’s chat group about an upcoming yard sale. They were gearing up to hold a neighborhood-wide garage sale.
After about 3 seconds of thinking it over, Mountain Papa and I decided to join in. We didn’t have to spend any money or time getting the word out, and since we’re in a densely populated neighborhood, there was sure to be a great turnout.
Although we’d initially only set aside 10 or so things that we had planned to sell online, we still had bags of items in our donate pile. We figured, if people would potentially pay for our old clothing at a thrift store, they might just pay us for it at a garage sale. Why not try to sell everything before we donate it?
The Right Mindset for a Frugalazy Yard Sale
Mountain Papa and I both understood that everything we placed outside for the yard sale would not be coming back inside. Any amount of money we could get would be more than we’d started with. We got up early on the morning of the sale and put all the stuff I’d accumulated in garbage bags on a tarp on our driveway.
We didn’t bother taking the time to put price tags on anything, more as a result of our laziness than from any intentional planning on our part. I was a little worried about this lax approach to pricing, but it went swimmingly. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that I’ll never price things at a garage sale again.
No one was put off by the lack of pricing. If someone wanted to buy something, they asked us the price. We came up with a number on the spot, and they could either take it or leave it. If they came back with a lower price, we took whatever they offered. All of our stuff has to go anyway; isn’t fifty cents better than nothing?
A Hidden Perk of Laziness
One of the unintended side effects of our frugalazy pricing technique was that, for some items, we were able to get a little more than we’d anticipated. For example, we’d received a gorgeous crystal picture frame as a wedding gift. It was absolutely beautiful, but was just not our style. We thought about returning it, but it came from a department store whose closest branch was 5+ hours away. So it sat on the floor of our office. For almost three years.
Clearly, we weren’t ever going to get around to returning it. We put it out in the garage sale and would’ve been happy to get $5 for it. Any amount of money was more than it had been making us sitting on the floor of our office for the past three years.
At one point during the sale, we had a group of visitors. One woman eyed the frame immediately. She picked it up and gushed to her friends about how beautiful it was and how much she loved it. She even knew the exact location she’d put it in her house. Eventually, she got around to asking how much we wanted for it. Since we hadn’t priced anything, I was able to play off her excitement. I took a chance and told her we wanted $10 for it. Truth is, I would have taken much less. But she happily agreed to $10. I think she might have even paid $20. It was a win for all of us – she got an expensive, beautiful frame for $10, and we got paid $10 to have one less item of clutter in our house.
A Cleaner House and A Fatter Wallet
We made a grand total of $168 at our yard sale. Not a killing, but with our “it all must go” mindset, we were happy to get any coin for stuff we’d already decided to get rid of. I’m sure we could have made more if we’d taken the time to price things aggressively, but I don’t think we would have gotten rid of as much stuff.
All in all, it was a great day. The weather was beautiful, and MP, Baby Bear and I had a blast sitting outside chatting with shoppers. Once the yard sale was over, I put everything that didn’t sell in the back of our car and dropped it at Goodwill.
Our home is less cluttered, our wallets are fatter, and we spent a day outside as a family, enjoying each other and the company of friendly strangers. That’s what I call a frugalazy win!