How to Have the BEST Garage Sale in Town!

FINALLY my parents pulled through and we hosted a HUGE and very successful garage sale last weekend. We made over $2000!! Here’s how:

1. SIGNS!!! make enough bright and legible signs to put on main roads in towns with arrows. Draw the arrows AFTER you put them up. Bring a stapler/tape/etc with you when you put them up. My dad and I ran into a pickle when we started to hammer one of our signs into the ground and the paper came off the wood. Beware of town “laws” regarding signs. In my town we are not allowed to hang signs on telephone poles. Also, add balloons! They can be a great eye-catching accessory to a sign.


2. Online Advertising. I think this is why we had a constant stream of people at our sale. A few days before the sale, I posted pictures of my signs on facebook and told my friends to spread the word. I also posted sale details on ebay classifieds as well as craigslist.

3. Clean the dust off your crap. I really want to buy that pan with the dirt crust on it.   – said no one ever.

4. The garbage can is your friend. Please don’t be like my dad and sell a broken vacuum cleaner!!! (Sold it for $15…guy returned it next day. Then my dad sold it again to a lady for $10. It can probably be fixed but not worth it.) Throw away your broken stuff and stuffed animals that won’t have a chance.

5. Don’t price. I know there are some that will disagree but negotiating is all the fun in it. If someone is interested in one of your treasures, they’ll ask how much. Just make sure you’re close by. Don’t forget to smile!

6. Don’t be greedy. The point is to get rid of clutter. Extra cash is nice but a garage sale isn’t a get rich scheme. There were women who refused to pay more than $3 for a brand new set of pans. So don’t get your hopes up.

6. Get people out of their cars – Have a free box of toys or whatever you wish in the front of the house to get people out of their cars. Also, put the larger items out in front like tables and bikes.sale2

7. Organize. Keep kitchen stuff on one table, toys on another, etc. Not only will it make shopping easier for your “customers,” but it will make packing up after the sale a whole lot easier.

7. Keep it Clean – As the day progresses, less stuff will be on the table and might look messy. Keep reorganizing to make your tables look presentable.

There is still a TON  of stuff in my garage but at least now the rest of it is put back organized and ready to go for the next garage sale. Definitely worth all of the work if you do it the right way.

Happy de-cluttering!!!


Me: I Get A Rush When I Throw Out Garbage in Large Quantities

Last weekend, I was successful in cleaning out a large portion of my parent’s house. This basement still looks like a scene out of “Hoarders” but at least I have a little piece of mind knowing that I made it just a little better. I learned I had obstacles facing me when I walked through the door. My sister and my father were sick. That means 2 less hands I can motivate into helping me. (Not that my sister would help anyway.) My brother was sleeping/working all day so he couldn’t help either. By pestering my mom for 2 weeks, reminding her I was coming home for the sole purpose of cleaning, tossing, and organizing, she was ready to attack the mess.

My strange to-do list is as follows:

1. First, I organized our downstairs kitchen by putting all cleaning products that are normally scattered throughout the room, into a bin. To make room for the bin on the kitchen table, I found a new home for my dad’s 57 dried up sausage links he’s saved from 2006. My mom went through the cabinets and counter space and put all the old vinegar, jarred peppers, and pina colada mix (which is as old as me) on the table to be tossed.

2. We have a closet in our basement filled with clothes my parents wore in the 80’s. I watched as my mom regrettably tossed her once worn suits and sequin dresses and mothball coats into our donation bag, sell to thrift store bag, and my personal favorite, the get rid of and put in the garbage immediately because no one will ever want this ever, bag. 

3. I used to share a bedroom with my sister until I went away to college. She lucked out big time because she now has a king sized bed after she pushed the 2 twins together. I left a bunch of my crap home for storage all in her closet: yearbooks, shoes, picture albums, kitchen stuff, bags of scarves, blah blah blah. I moved all of my stuff downstairs and put all of the books/yearbook stuff on a shelf and donated most of my clothes and shoes that couldn’t be dropped off at the thrift shop. That made a lot of room for my sister and she now has a shoe closet -_-

4. I organized a “holiday closet” in my basement, gathering all Christmas, Easter, Halloween decorations into one place.

5. I donated our old cell phones (we had about 15) to Verizon. 1 cell phone = $5 to go towards a charity called “180 Turning Lives Around,” which that helps victims of domestic violence. More about that here: Hopefully my dad will let me get rid of old computers next time I’m home…

6. My dad dusted off my grandmother’s 30ish leather handbags and packed them in his car to sell on Canal Street. I’m not sure if he had any luck with that, but at least they’re out of the house!!

7. At dusk on Sunday, my dad and I went to the recycling center in town where we (I) blissfully tossed a car-full of glass bottles, plastic, and cardboard accumulated over the years.

My family really did come a long way last weekend considering the awful clutter I described in my last post.

Today, Jesus must really love me because word is that my neighbor is having a garage sale and my parents have been invited to contribute to put out their crap for some thrifty finders. Personally, I’m not a fan of garage sales because they take a whole lot of time and energy for not much profit, but they may get lucky. I’m proud of them because at least they’re TRYING. More to come….




“Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.” -Wendell Berry

I never understood why my parents have consistently clung on to their junk for the last 20 years: boxes old phones and computers came in, ratty dolls with eyes missing, or a bottle of everclear that was in the cabinet when they first bought the house in 1994. My dad is by far the worst hoarder out of them all. My mother catches him on garbage day rummaging through our GARBAGE in hopes of pulling out a not-so-empty toothpaste.

We live in a small 3 bedroom house so the junk piles up quickly. Fortunately I don’t have to see the clutter every day now since I moved out, but it haunts me every time I spend the weekend home. There is clutter in every cabinet and every bedroom. My dad’s work clothes and receipts cover the dining room table. The amount of towels and extra sheets covering our BROKEN treadmill in the basement, make me want to scream.

In the bathroom, there are about 37 bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Half of those have enough left in them to get 4 uses out of. My mother cannot resist the 67cent bottle of shampoo on sale….or cereal on sale….or pasta on sale, etc etc.

Over the years, little by little I’ve donated bags of baby clothes, books, and toys to the salvation army, It is just so incredibly overwhelming that once you start, the task at hand to de-clutter seems impossible. My mother has agreed.

Yes, I’ve urged my parents to stop hoarding. Last weekend I went in our garage and saw a box of popcorn. I immediately headed for the garbage with it but ran into my father while doing so. He said he wanted to SAVE it so he could RETURN the box to get a new one. -_-  I placed the old box of popcorn into the garbage. I don’t think he understands how ridiculous he sounds. The time and effort to do such a thing is incredibly stupid. I understand that some people hang onto things because of sentimental value, like a baby blanket or irreplaceable photos, but my father gives the term “pack-rat” a whole new meaning. Embarrassing.

This weekend I’m going home to help them throw a lot away and prepare for a hopefully upcoming garage sale.

5 Steps to De-Clutter an Entire House

1. One Room at a Time. Start with the smallest room with the least clutter, like a bathroom, so you won’t overwhelm yourself and give up within an hour. Work your way up to the more disastrous areas of the house. I know I’m saving the basement last for this weekend.

2. Bag and Toss. Have plenty of garbage bags on hand. Toss the useless, un-donate-able toys/clothes and expired food. Don’t forget to recycle.

3. Donate or Sell. A huge portion of clutter in closets are clothes. If you haven’t worn an item of clothing in the past year, put it in either your “donate” pile or “garage sale” pile. My parents will never wear their clothes from the 80’s again. Guess where all that is going?

4. Organize and Condense. Use the precious under the bed storage for shoe boxes or paperwork. Hiding the clutter into a useful and manageable space will make you feel less stressed.

5. Don’t give up!! De-cluttering a house is a huge undertaking and won’t take just a weekend. It will probably take weeks. But as long as you pace yourself and have a plan, you’re on your way to having your home back.

As for me, I intend on taking the garbage bags to a recycling center so my dad doesn’t have a stroke on garbage day. Results and photos to follow.