Saturday, September 19, 2009

Painful but Cleansing

A couple posts back I posted a "before" picture of the play room in our home. It was literally covered in toys. When I spent 3 days cleaning it, I took the opportunity to do a major purge. I set aside all kinds of things from the playroom for a garage sale.

For the last 5 days I worked to organize my garage sale for maximum profitability. I used many of the suggestions from a handy little booklet called "How to Have Big Money Garage Sales."

The premise of the booklet is that you can do a little work and make a little money, or you can do a little more work and make a lot of money. I didn't have the wallet-busting results some of the satisfied customers testify to, but I surpassed the earnings goal I spoke out loud to friends and family and came close to reaching my secret earnings goal that I kept to myself so no one would laugh at my cockeyed optimism.

I started by cleaning out the garage and then cleaned the toys with antibacterial wipes. I made cute hang tags out of scrapbook paper and attached them with ribbons to clothes I was planning on sending to Goodwill. "Adult clothes don't sell," is what everyone will tell you. I sold almost every article of clothing I put out.

I organized my merch into little areas: the game table, the book bench, the toy tables, and household goods corner. I put 2 or 3 Happy Meal toys each into little cellophane bags and tied them up with a ribbon and arranged them all in a basket with a sign that said, "grab bags, 25 cents each." out of 18 bags, all but 2 sold.

I advertised! Craigslist, the Hillsboro Argus, and 8 strategically placed, graphically appealing signs. I bought latex balloons to put at the foot of my driveway to give treasure hunters the extra clue they needed to find my place. Latex! I hate latex!

My point is, I made some sacrifices.

Was it worth it?

Of course! My main goal was to earn enough money to get me closer to my ultimate goal of buying a Macbook laptop computer. I reached the goal. Life is good.

My secondary goal was to declutter and reclaim space in our house. Check!

At the end of the sale, I boxed everything up and portioned it out to the appropriate places: Goodwill and Northwest Children's Outreach (thanks Jill for the pick up service!)

Everything is gone.

The cars are back in the garage.

And for the first time in a week, I hope to not wake up at 4am with a noisy "to-do" list going through my head.


Emily Laing said...

So proud of you! I always think I am going to put cute tags and make tons of dough, then I just get so busy with other things, that it just ends up at the Goodwill! Good job! I hope you'll be joining me for NANOWRIMO this November on your new computer.

Afton said...

I'm definitely doing nanowrimo on my new macbook!

Senia said...

I'm impressed, as usual, Afton. You are my hero!

Erika said...

Way to go! What a great example I'm sure you have set for your boys by saving up for something you want and finding ways to earn a little extra money. How fun to get a new little toy!!

Debbie said...

Congrats! :)