This past Saturday I visited a community garage sale in a nearby neighborhood. It was the first time I’d been to one in years. It was incredibly hot and I spent the whole morning walking around using google maps and the printed map I got at the community clubhouse.
I think I probably walked about ten blocks. The experience was initially confusing because the neighborhood is designed with garages around back in an alley, presumably to keep the “hometown USA” aesthetic out front. So to go to the garage sales listed on one street, you have to walk down one alley, then come out and cross the street, and then walk down the other alley.
Did I have some success?
Well, yes. I got a ton of baby clothes for an expectant friend.
The seller also gave me a boatload of bows for free!
Newborn shoes are not super practical, but they are SUPER ADORABLE.
I also got some free t-shirts for my middle child from a lady who was closing up and just wanted the stuff out of her house.
I also learned something about myself — I don’t enjoy the community garage sale experience. Here’s why:
It’s very time consuming if you don’t have a truck or golf cart.
Many people who were looking for large items like furniture brought trucks to haul stuff away. They could also drive from one cluster of sales to another quickly. Because it is a very upper class neighborhood, some of the people who live in the community have personal golf carts, so they could toot around the neighborhood with great speed. Meanwhile, I was walking from sale to sale, and only visited about 8 to 10 garages in the whole morning.
People overestimate how much their stuff is worth.
I found that many of the items people had for sale were priced way too high. I understand that emotional attachment to the item might be the reason for this, but that doesn’t mean anything to the buyer. You may have picked up that box on your trip to Russia 10 years ago, but that doesn’t make it worth $30.
I don’t enjoy haggling.
I know some people get a big thrill over acting shocked at the price of something, and then haggling the seller down to something more reasonable. But I’m very conflict averse I just have no interest in doing that.
I genuinely prefer the thrift store experience.
When I’m thrifting, I get to go out by myself, with my coffee, in an air-conditioned environment. I can walk the aisles at my leisure and circle back through departments if it’s the kind of store that brings out new stuff every few minutes (like Goodwill). No one is trying to convince me to buy their stuff, and I can take the time I need to think through purchases.
At the end of the morning sailing the garages, I felt like it’d been catering to other people all morning by rushing from sale to sale, rather than having a refreshing “me time”.
So will I ever go to a community garage sale again?
I’m glad I was able to find a few things for other people, and I’m not going to say never, but probably not any time soon. I just didn’t enjoy it. But now I know, so I guess it was a good learning experience.
Have a great week!