The focal point of last weekend was an enormous, nine-family garage sale in which I participated. As a people-watching exercise it was second to none. As an efficient way of making money and/or disposing of unwanted possessions it was two days of hard labor for approximately $4 per hour, so it's best to focus on the other.
I knew that my stepmother had a basement full of things she'd like to get rid of, so I offered to take her items and sell them, too. She had no idea how to price her stuff (my answer: as cheaply as possible), so I agreed to do her pricing for her. I left work early on Friday and ran some errands and when I returned home, she and my dad had dropped off about 10 big boxes of miscellaneous possessions. There were a lot of dishes, ceramic knicknacks and kitchen things that had clearly been stored for a long time, so I decided to run them through the dishwasher before I tagged them.
As for my household, we mainly had samples from my husband's last sales job and miscellaneous unwanted decor items that I'd deemed too nice to throw in the dumpster when we had our massive cleanout. I can say with no small amount of pride that our bathroom is now completely free of potpourri-filled decorative jars. Hooray!
I washed and tagged and washed and tagged from about 7 p.m. Friday until I loaded the Jeep at midnight. With the boxes of merchandise and a 6-foot long display table, the Jeep was groaningly full. I abandoned my idea to bring a bag of castoff clothing and a clothes rack.
By then I was really, really tired, but I'd promised to bring potato soup the next day, so I was forced to stay awake long enough to peel potatoes and carrots, chop celery and onions and make a large pot of soup. As soon as the soup was acceptably thickened, I put the lid on, shoved it into the refrigerator and went to bed...
...for five hours. I woke up at 6 a.m. and stopped by a convenience store for some really bad coffee on my way to my friend's house. I unloaded the Jeep in the dark, set up the table and arranged my merchandise before anyone else arrived. Then I made a Starbucks run for a big Caffe Americano so I wouldn't fall asleep in my chair. By the time I got back, the signs were up around the neighborhood, several other people had set up their tables of goods, and the customers had found us.
The rest of the day is kind of a blur. I worked the cash table with my friend L. and we struggled to keep track of nine different people's sales. It was very cold outside, despite the space heater we had on the porch by our table. When we finally wrapped things up at 4:30 p.m., my stepmother had only two boxes of items left (mainly baskets and one of the two espresso makers she'd brought) and I had maybe five or six small items. We'd made...well, a little. As I said, that has to be considered beside the point to stave off the weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The next day I was so tired that I woke up at 10 a.m., drank two cups of coffee and ate some toast, then passed out again until 3 p.m. It's probably a good thing I did, too. I could feel my immune system tanking from the long day in the cold with no sleep.
At the end of the sale, everyone kept saying, "We should do this again next year!" If I'm lucky, I won't have enough saleable stuff for at least a few more years. Still, I'd go and hang out with my friends all day if they want to have a sale. That's the really fun part anyway.