Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Adventures of a Garage Sale Hostess.

The garage sale.

It's an American tradition, and I decided that it was finally time to jump on the bandwagon. Several friends of mine have hosted garage sales over the years, and they have bragged of making hundreds of dollars in one weekend.

I wanted a piece of the action.

My basement is full of boxes that my husband has wanted to pitch, but I have held him off with a simple request of, "No, I'm saving that for when I have a garage sale."

Bill grew increasingly doubtful over the years as he would see a box, sigh, and say, "As if that's ever going to happen, Clare."

My procrastination has ended. A sale in my garage happened this weekend.

Of course, organizing items and pricing them takes time, but I wouldn't say that hosting a garage sale is the most difficult or time-consuming thing I have ever done. It doesn't even crack the top ten. However, it's a good thing that I don't have a garage sale every weekend.

Because I would have to kill my husband.

Well, now I'm just being dramatic. I wouldn't really want to kill him. I'm a peaceful gal, and I love the man.

I'd probably just give him the silent treatment for a day.

As we were on a date night last night, sipping glasses of wine, my garage sale long over, Bill leaned in and asked, "Are you going to blog about today?"

"What about today?"

"You know, how annoyed you were with me."

"Oh that," I said flippantly, as if I had no memory of how much my dear husband grated on my very last nerve, as he is wont to do at times. "Are you okay if I talk about it?"

"Sure. I expect you to talk about it. It was kind of funny, you know."

Funny indeed. In retrospect many things are funny. Spilled gallons of milk are funny in retrospect. My son as a toddler painting his face with $40 worth of my brand-new Lancome makeup is funny in retrospect. Falling on my ass at the mall is funny in retrospect. My husband driving me crazy at my first-ever garage sale is funny in retrospect.

In the moment, however, none of these situations will send one into fits of laughter.

There's not really a specific story so much as there was just a general annoying pall over the Saturday of my sale. Friday went smoothly, with two of my four children at school for the day, plus my husband at work, and I unloaded copious amounts of crappity crap super awesome stuff.

My trash is your treasure.

On Saturday I was "fortunate" enough to have my "helpful" husband home for the day, and I quickly realized why, for the sake of my usually happy marriage, I must limit myself to a garage sale every 5 to 10 years.

The unsolicited advice from this man made my head spin. He, who has never even attended a garage sale (although he claims he has, yet I remain skeptical) is, apparently, an expert on sale held in one's garage.

"Put this table over here, Clare."

"Why is this stuff all under-priced, Clare?"

"What about moving the tables further down the driveway, Clare?"

"Don't you think you should arrange that display differently, Clare?"

"Five dollars for that, Clare? Don't you know that those sell brand-new for twenty five to thirty dollars?"

"Clare, why are you selling this? I use it all the time!"

"Didn't my Mom give this to you, Clare?"

Furthermore, my husband believes that the ugly framed pictures of Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth from his childhood are priceless. Therefore, how dare I slap a $5.00 sticker on each of them and THEN have the audacity to take $5.00 for the pair? Also, do I realize that he paid $40.00 for that Nike Golf shirt, and there is NO way that I can slap a $2.00 sticker on it, and have the nerve to take $1.00 for it? No matter that it's used and has seen better days. "It's Nike Golf, Clare!"

On and on and on it went. I snapped.

"Get. The. Hell. Away. From. My. Garage. Sale. NOW. You're driving me crazy."

"I'm just trying to help, Clare! I'm a marketing guy! I think this way!"

Yes, that is true. My husband is a Marketing Director for a large company. His brain is trained to think of the best ways to market a product to a consumer. I get that. I get that he wanted me to get the most bucks for my bang.

But here is the part where I reminded him that this is a sale of used things. As in things we don't want anymore. In my garage. Complete with oil stains on the floor. Spiders hidden in the walls. A hose reel attached to a spigot on the wall. It is a garage in which we park two cars, one of them a minivan that smells like it has farts trapped inside, and the other car being a clean, sporty sedan belonging to my husband that does NOT smell like a thousand farts.


Yes, it was a sale in our humble garage, and not a sale in a chic, posh boutique.

Thanks for your help, Bill, but no thanks. My garage sale was a financial success, in spite of your "help".

While I am on the topic of garage sales, allow me to say that it is perfectly sane to carry a can of Mace on your person while hosting a garage sale. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Don't you remember that Lifetime Movie when the woman hosted a garage sale and a bad guy knocked her out, stole her box of money, and then robbed her blind?

Or was that on an episode of "Dateline"?

Or "48 Hours?"

Nope? That never happened? That's just my vivid imagination working overtime?

Well, it could totally happen, and not just in overactive brain, and I am nothing if not prepared. I was a Girl Scout in my youth. At first glance, you might think you could snap me like a twig. You will soon discover, however, that I am scrappy and I will Mace you. Or stab you in the eyeballs with the house key I also conveniently hid in my pocket. Or SING your ass. (Solar Plexus, Instep, Nose, and Groin) Back away from my box of money, my kids, and my house, or I will cut you.

Logic will tell you that we live in a safe neighborhood that the local police patrol several times a day.

Logic, schmogic.

I watch Oprah, people.

I watch Lifetime.

I watch "Dateline".

Fortunately, I did not have to go all Jackie Chan on anyone. All my customers were kind and civil and not particularly interested in my box of money. Or in robbing me blind.

Except for that one older lady who talked me into letting her have two of my old handbags for $10.00. That was just criminal.

Go ahead. Laugh it up, people.

I'm always prepared.

In my defense, the Mace hearkens back to my days as a single girl living in downtown Chicago. It's not like I carry it to Target, so as to Mace someone if we start brawling over the Merona. And, I just had it with me on Friday when I was all alone at the house with two of my little ones.

I know. Excuses, excuses.

Perhaps I am watching too much of "The Mentalist", or "CSI". You think?

The garage sale. Good times.


  1. You are waaaaayyy more chill than I was at my garage sale. I'm going to go ahead and assume you are more organized than I. Nice work on the Babe/Ty pics, you won't regret that.

  2. Good for you! At least you got SOMETHING from all your things-2-rid-of. We have gotten rid of so much over the past 2 moves...seriously I don't think the trash collectors want our junk lowering the property value of our curbside...and GoodWill would laugh me away!--Oh! and I can sooo totally relate about the Lancome--my 2 year old as a 1-year old, decided to redecorate the front door with a brand new tube of MAC--not cool. :)

  3.! YOU are so funny!


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