The Water Cooler – Garage Sales – Do They Still Work?

April 16, 2014 12:00 pm · 38 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it!

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon!

Today’s question:

When was the last time you had a garage sale, and did you make any money?

Talk about it….

1 Lori April 16, 2014 at 12:05 PM

It’s been about 10 years. Yes, made about 800.00. Money was nice but I think I’ll stick to donating to Goodwill. I can’t handle people that expect you to just give your stuff away. My stuff was very reasonably priced I basically wanted to get rid of it but if you’re gonna snivel and whine move on to the next garage !!!!

2 Yes April 16, 2014 at 12:10 PM

In my experience (in North Concord), Saturdays are busy with swap market resellers stocking up on merchandise to sell on Sunday. Sundays are hit or miss.

Craigslist is obviously very useful for advertising. The key to people finding your garage sale is good, *CLEAR*, signage leading to your place. Everyone may have GPS and check Craigslist, but you also want to snag the rubber neckers and impulse shoppers at traveling the major cross sections.

Obviously, sell your good stuff (or what you know is good) via eBay or Craigslist before putting it out for a garage sale.

What I want to know is, what are the limits on garage sales? There are some people in this neighborhood who have a garage sale almost every weekend (taking advantage of swap meet traffic?).

3 Killjoy April 16, 2014 at 12:15 PM

The last time we had a garage sale…….
The first woman there wanted to buy something, haggled of the price saying that was all the cash she had. So I reduced the price. Then she kept shopping and bought more items. WTF?
Then, she insisted on using my cell phone to see if someone wanted to but a tricycle we were selling. She got pissed at me because I wouldn’t let her use it.
Later in the day, a woman wanted to look at the princess dress we had hanging up. She asked if we had any more like it. I told her that all the Halloween costumes were hanging with it. She then went into a dissertation about how Halloween is a Pagan holiday and she doesn’t celebrate it. Then proceeded to tell us that god told her how to live her life and we were doing it all wrong.

I now load all my stuff into my truck, and rent a spot at the flea market.
I don’t have to advertise, don’t get “early birds”, can shut down when I want to and have a ton more people coming by looking at things.

4 Killjoy April 16, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Buy a tricycle. Damned iPhone autocorrect.

5 Concordejet April 16, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Garage sales are awesome cause I see something cheap and resell them on Ebay ha

6 Anon777 April 16, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Not worth the time and effort. And watch out for the little b*tches who come in packs and distract you while the others steal your sh*t. I’d rather donate clothing and items to a good charity where someone needy gets them instead of giving these criminals more opportunity to steal.

7 GROJ SALES April 16, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Are a great way to get rid of old junk. I hate them but the little woman has one occasionally. She makes a few bucks. Not worth the hassle.

8 Enfield303 April 16, 2014 at 12:41 PM

They seem to be a waste of time unless you have stuff you just basically want to give away. My mother had a few and my mother in law had a few, and it was usually a cluster. Haggling with idiots over a twenty five cent item just seemed to drain the life out of them. It’s better to just toss it, give it away or donate it. Bah

9 Chris K April 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Yes, if you are smart. One. Have it on the first Saturday of the month. Two. Have clear signs off the nearest main road to your house that will not fall over in the wind. I had one once, and all the sudden people stopped coming. I live two turns off a main road. I checked, bingo, the sign on the main road fell over. No ne could see it. Dah! Make sure your signs are secure and up the whole time. Also don’t over price your stuff. I know a guy who wanted $100 for an old dirty fish tank. Give me a break. Ya he paid $250 for it, but it was worth $10. And be ready to haggle a bit. A good rule of thumb with only a few exceptions is, you can only get a fraction of what you bought something retail for, even if not used. A working lawn mower, $20. A really nice working lawn mower, maybe $40. That’s about all you are going to get for things..

10 anon April 16, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Junk gets put in trash can, and anything usable is put out with a free sign on it. It’s a win win situation. Good stuff, and people are happy.

11 Suzanne April 16, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Every blue moon, not so often. Just a waste of time.

12 Suzanne April 16, 2014 at 1:17 PM

no money is ever made.

13 GarageBargains April 16, 2014 at 1:32 PM

I had a garage sale about 40 years ago. We made pretty good cash. I like garage sales, but I have heard from many sellers that they have to watch out or peopel try to walk away without paying.

These days, I donate my old clothes and stuff to goodwill or other places like Annie’s on Clayton Road.

14 Did one when Mom died.. April 16, 2014 at 1:39 PM

We did one prior to selling the house after Mom died. Two weekends. 50 years of living up for sale. It was a lot of work.. I think most of the customers were nice and no real problem people. The usual talk down the price or how much for multiple item type of dealing. Prices get lower as the day wears on. After the two weekends, anything useful went to Goodwill..and after that the big blue dumpster.

What did I learn? We are a pack-rat society. Looking at those things bought over so many years…makes you wonder. If we just didn’t fill our houses and garages with “stuff”. It’s our culture to have full closets and a garage you can’t get a car into. Makes you think.

15 Michelle April 16, 2014 at 2:48 PM

I have a garage sale, every so often, just for the sake of sanity and keeping my house in order.

16 dilligafman April 16, 2014 at 2:52 PM

This past Saturday-made enough to make it worthwhile. donated the rest to the Boy Scouts for their “Rumage Sale” I got my garage back and thats all i cared about.

17 Don April 16, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Just had 1 Saturday. Made $120 bucks. What I don’t like are the lazy people that don’t go around after the sale and remove the signs (litter) they put up all over.

18 anonanonagain April 16, 2014 at 3:23 PM

I just participated in our neighborhood garage sale. Second time I’ve done it with our neighborhood and realtor.
I am pleasant and like some of the people that come through.
I love garage sales, but people have become so cheap!!! I sell some pretty nice things and feel I price them rock bottom, but they want you to give it to them for nothing. Not worth my time anymore to deal with rude, impatient and sometimes nasty cheapskates……..

19 RanchgirlCA April 16, 2014 at 3:23 PM

When we have them, biggest $ day is Friday. Go figure.

20 Mr. Pink April 16, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Having a garage sale is a waste of time. We’ve had several, and every time I’ve complained about it and every time I’ve said that’s the last one.

21 J April 16, 2014 at 3:55 PM

FREE signs. Have to tell you items put at the curb with a free sign on them just help bring our property values down. You aren’t supposed to do it in Antioch and I have seen fewer signs. People moan and groan about our quality of life and then do that. Just doesn’t make sense to me.

22 CrazyCat April 16, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Just had a garage sale and made over $500.

23 Rose Garden April 16, 2014 at 5:36 PM

I’m not a garage sale person.

I’d rather throw it away, give it away or donate to charity. Preferably the latter.

We take everything we don’t want or need to The Salvation Army or Goodwill. It’s a win/win situation.

If our church is having a parking lot sale, EVERYTHING goes to our church!!!

24 Incoming April 16, 2014 at 6:12 PM

Didn’t make enough considering
how nervewracking it was and
figuring in what people walked
off with without paying.

25 Sam Y April 16, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Hate them! I sold a bag of VCR tapes and DVD’s to a lady..then the following weekend went to the Flea Market only to find the same lady re-selling my items!! Really??? I thought you said your children loved those movies…Liar!

26 anon April 16, 2014 at 8:25 PM

@Must be diehard early birds.

27 Anon April 16, 2014 at 9:12 PM

Some people must be really having a tough time if they are stealing at a garage sale. Not everybody has benefited from the rising economy. Price of most goods and services have gone up a lot.

28 J. April 16, 2014 at 9:31 PM


People come on Friday so they can sell your stuff on Saturday and Sunday. The people that show up on Friday are the pros that sell at the Flea-Market on Sat and Sun.

29 @dilligafman April 16, 2014 at 10:27 PM

Thank you! You and and a lot of your neighbors donated your leftover items to my son’s boy scout troop. We really appreciate the donations – it will help our rummage sale so much. Your neighborhood is awesome.

30 anon April 17, 2014 at 5:15 AM

works if you know what youre doing. BIG CLEAR SIGNS. without a bunch of writing. just put SALE with an arrow at the right locations and on neon paper. or just make them easy to see and easy to follow. And take them down when youre done.

31 anon April 17, 2014 at 5:18 AM

i think fri. works because you’re out going somewhere already and run into a sale so stop. on sat. either not going out or have plans. fri is great.

32 Connie Dobbs April 17, 2014 at 6:36 AM

Most of my belongings are at least second-hand. Quite a few of them were purchased at yard and estate sales. It’s a good way to find cool stuff.

33 Kelley April 17, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Big clear signs are wonderful! Saturday would be a better day to be seen by everyone, many people work on friday.

34 cuzzzzzzzz................ April 17, 2014 at 9:04 AM

Did one when my mom died. Made around $1600 as there was a lot of funiture. What we didn’t sell we donated to the local ARC so they could either sell it or us it in their group homes.
2 things that irritated me was how cheap some people were. A lady had 6 Corning Ware items including a huge lasagna pan and wanted to pay $5 for the lot. I said no she go huffy put them down and left. Okay fine. Another lady saw that, grab the items and asked it I would take $30 for the lot. I said yes. We both knew the lasagna pan was worth at least $10 used adn $4 for the other pieces was fair. The other thing was stealing. It has nothing to do with “hard economic times” as this sale took place in 2004. It has to do with the lack of integrity of some people. We had a full set (24 piece) of bar ware that had not been used/still in the box. A neighbor of my moms was buying it when I notices that pieces were missing. Some body stole 3 glasses out of it. Whatever……..
I will never do a garage sale again as the work/time involved doesn’t equate a decent hourly wage. I will donate to a local ARC or Shelter Inc where the items are used to set up transitional housing for homeless families.

35 ANON April 17, 2014 at 9:41 AM

We had four garage sale weekends to clear out the house after my in-laws passed away. it was worth it, and we made good money. What was left we donated.

36 Mimi (original) April 17, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Garage sales are HARD WORK! I like to browse at them sometimes, but to have one again (last one was about 18 years ago), highly unlikely!

37 Jess April 17, 2014 at 11:26 AM

I’ve never held a garage sale. We tend to donate/throw out stuff along the way rather than letting it pile up. Books go to the library for their sales. Clothes go to Goodwill. Furniture to Goodwill or the hospice shop. Once or twice we’ve put something out by the curb with a “free” sign. A lot of our stuff is so worn out by the the time we’re ready to get rid of it that it goes straight into the garbage. Who wants an old stained t-shirt or a 20 year old toaster oven or a game that’s missing pieces?

I rarely shop at garage sales because I have enough junk of my own. I don’t need to buy anyone else’s. I’m more in the mood to get rid of stuff than acquire more. The only time I bought anything at a garage sale was when I was looking for stuff to furnish my kids’ college apartments. Picked up a few furniture odds and ends at a good price.

38 Ranchgirlca April 18, 2014 at 12:30 PM

@J – I’ll still take the Friday $ , because Saturday is usually not half as good, which I’ve done when Friday didn’t work out. It’s still more $ than I started with and cleans out my junk.

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