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I hate garage sales

Published to Blog on 29 Sep 2006

I don’t mind them when other people have them - occasionally I’ll look for the hidden diamond in the rough.

I hate when we have them.

My wife is adamant about having a garage sale each spring and each fall. Each time it is an exercise in futility.

Her announcement of a garage sale is always followed by several days of my griping about how they are not worth it, we should just take the stuff directly to the Salvation Army to save ourselves the trouble, or we should just throw the junk out. Next comes me looking through my treasures to find one or two trinkets to serve as sacrifices to the Garage Sale Gods so that all the others can be spared.  This time the sacrifice was a Nintendo 64 with a couple of games and a couple of old mice and keyboards. But I was able to save the Atari, the Genesis, and a couple of boxes of spare computer parts, all of which are eternal inhabitants of my wife’s chopping block. They are all safe until next spring. Now I just need to keep an eye on her today and tomorrow to make sure that she doesn’t try to pull a fast one.

Okay - back to the task at hand - why I hate garage sales. Here’s the thing. She will put several dollars into buying pricing stickers, signs and running an ad in the local paper. Then we will spend a few hours gathering and organizing and then at least 2-4 hours setting up everything. This is followed by two full days of babysitting the damn thing. I don’t care if she only puts her time into it, but I always end up having to carry a bunch of stuff around and for some strange reason I always get stuck tending it for at least half a day. It’s weird how that works out since I always swear that I won’t do it and get promised that I won’t have to.  But yet I do.

Finally, the economics just don’t work out. I’d be better off just packing up everything in boxes, taking it to the Salvation Army or Goodwill and getting some income tax credit for the donation. It’s ridiculous. 

Stickers, signs, and misc junk - $15
3 day ad in local newspaper - $35
Time spent for setup and running - who knows

Spending $50 and untold amounts of time to make $60 over the entire weekend garage sale - PRICELESS

I’m putting my foot down after this. We are NOT having any more garage sales…

(at least until next spring)

Dan Hounshell
Web geek, nerd, amateur maker. Likes: apis, node, motorcycles, sports, chickens, watches, food, Nashville, Savannah, Cincinnati and family.
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  • On 29 Sep 2006 "James Shaw"" said:
    LOL. Soooooooooo true. Persist - it may not seem like it now but it IS possible to kick the habit. But don't approach it from a monetary standpoint - that won't mean diddly to her - stress how much better it is to give to a *charity* that does *good things* for children who are *less fortunate*, etc, etc. All out stuff goes to goodwill now. Awesome.
  • On 29 Sep 2006 """ said:
    Darn, I think someone just bought the N64. (
  • On 29 Sep 2006 """ said:
    She did pull a fast one. She dug out my Atari and sold all my Atari games (about 20) along with the N64 and games !! I wasn't too upset about the Atari because I have another one stashed away, but I was upset about the games. This is going to be a loooonnnnggg day.
  • On 29 Sep 2006 "Dave Burke"" said:
    Funny! You have to admit your wife's spunk and qualities of purging the crap that accumulates in our lives over the seasons. Holding garage sales HAS to be a lot of work. We've never done one, even though our little girl keeps saying she really, really wants to have one. She wouldn't be the one doing all the work you described here, that's for sure!
  • On 29 Sep 2006 "Ken"" said:
    It seems that my wife places a much higher monetary value on our "artifacts" than I do. So, when she is having a sale and it becomes my turn to "watch", I will sell something for much less than she expects. The formula I use to determine an items value selling price = (orig. price - ((weight * size * not returning to basement factor)/trouble from wife factor)) ...or something like that
  • On 14 Oct 2006 "Dawn"" said:
    I usually NEVER post anything on Dan's blog but I could not resist making a comment on this subject. First of all, the reason I get rid of things when I can is because Dan won't. Well that is not completely true, its more like he never gets rid of anything that is his. The kids or my stuff is fine to get rid of. Second,We have a gargage FULL of computer junk! Shelves full of misc. parts, that go to nothing. He says that he is using those parts for something he will make at another time. When???? If it hasn't happened for 2 or 3 years, it isn't going to. That stuff needs pitched!! Or sell on ebay, whatever. Plus I have taken tons of stuff to GoodWill if they dont sell at the garage sale. It does make me feel good knowing someone less fortunate will recieve our things.I also discovered the county we live in Children's Services. I will take the kids clothes there because they really need kids clothes. But if something has a tag on it, or it is brand new, I will try a garage sale first. Why not??? And I always have the kids help me load the stuff into my van to take if it doesn't sell.I dont think Dan has ever actually taken anything to GoodWill. That falls under my job discription. This last garage sale we had the only thing that I required of Dan was, he go through his stuff to see if he could part with anything,( I think I ended up selling things that belonged to him because he never puts anything out!! and so I just picked some stuff that looked like he didn't need them) and that he help me bring things out onto the driveway. And if I wasn't pregnant I wouldn't have needed him for that. And by the way my 14 year old son is always trying to get rid of Dan's things. Especially clothes. Dan always ends up busting him though and just putting the clothes back in the closets. It cost approx $7.00 for our part of a newspaper ad, and we made $165.00 for 2 days 5 hours each day.But I was glad to just have the things gone from our garage. The money didnt matter that much, but the space we gained from getting rid of things ...Priceless. Now if I could just figure out a way to rid my garage of monitors, keyboards, cords, and boxes of parts that have no purpose I would be able to actually pull my van into the garage. I can only imagine.....A garage for the cars??!!! Oh yeah thanks Dan for letting me know you have yet another Atari stashed somewhere, I will be looking for it for the next garage sale in the spring!!
  • On 18 Sep 2009 "Rudy"" said:
  • On 25 Sep 2009 "Jason"" said:
    We are having one tomorrow night. I get to wake up nice and early to hammer signs into the medians all over my city! Yahh!
  • On 4 Oct 2009 "Greg"" said:
    I'm going through this hell right know ( I agree with your argument and have gone through the same griping with my wife. I calling 1-800-got-junk when she goes on her girl weekend shopping trip to Oregon next month.