The long and the short of it is - Papa Al (the girls' great-grandpa) recently decided it was time to sell his little house and move into a retirement home. And since Papa Al's street wasn't the ideal setting for a garage sale it was decided everything would be moved into storage in our garage and the sale would be held in our driveway at some point. Over the weeks our garage has slowly been filling up with stuff. We don't have a large garage, it's a rather tight fitting one car model, that has seen better days, but we packed it full with Papa Al's stuff. No joke, for the week before the sale our lawn mower was outside in the backyard because Papa brought the last load up when I was cutting the grass and after he unloaded the trailer and left there wasn't a single inch of free space available.
It was a big and difficult job in many ways. I don't envy Grandma Linda having to pack up her parent's home and by extension their lives there with the intention of dispersing it to strangers. Since everything was stored at our place Mike thought we should do what we could to lighten the load and we tasked ourselves with the job of pricing every single item in every single box. That was a huge undertaking, but so very necessary. I spent some time googling garage sale tips and the number one thing. The thing they couldn't stress enough was pricing your items. So Mike and I spent countless hours in the garage unpacking, cleaning, pricing and repacking. As well I decided to ruthlessly clear my house of clutter to sell. So there was a lot of cleaning, pricing and packing going on indoors too.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect of the weekend, but it was so much better that I could have imagined. I won't keep you in suspense any longer - the garage sale was a tremendous success. Mike and I cleared over $650 and Papa Al's take was similarly impressive. But I think this weekend was about so much more than the money..... here are some highlights:
The sale was advertised in the paper, but I also posted in on craigslist, kijiji and facebook. This led to 4 people showing up at our house Friday night asking if they could look through our garage because they weren't sure if they could make it back the following morning. That falls under the category of - not my problem. I will tell you of the four, two of them were back on our doorstep, just after seven the next morning. Sale started at eight btw.
We found it endlessly fascinating all weekend, what people were buying. Papa Al had a fairly large "media collection" consisting of books, records and vhs movies. We were staggered at the vhs tapes and records that sold.
Also, some people are cheap. Mike and I had priced things to sell. The majority of it was priced a dollar or less and people were still trying to haggle. We had $10 on Papa Al's microwave which was in terrific condition. There was a haggle session and in the end it went for $7.
Maybe the most bizarre, Papa Al had an old set of encyclopedias, as well as several sets of Time Life books. We were positive none of it would sell. Why would anyone buy a set of outdated encyclopedias when we have the interwebs? Then two young, pierced and tatooed lads showed up. One offered Grandma Linda $2 for the set. Grandma Linda countered with $3 and his friend piped up - I'll give you the $5 for it. Sold! In the end they left with 2 of the Time Life sets as well. I cannot imagine why they were even interested in them.
Oh no wait... that wasn't the most bizarre. A lady shows up and right off the bat, she's complaining to me about how long of a drive it was out to my place. She was quite certain she was driving to Texas. I should have maybe tried to sell her Papa Al's globe. Look at me up here in Canada - no where near Texas! She wandered around for a while and finally settled on one of those fibre optic flowers in the plastic case. Your Grandma probably had one. Basically, you plug it in and the flowers change colour - fibre optically. She asks Grandma Linda where the cord is. It's in her trunk, so GL walks across the street, gets the plug, comes back, plugs it in and shows the lady it's in working order. It's then she tells GL, "oh I don't want to buy it. I just wanted to see it work." She finally settles on a couple of thing totalling a whopping $1.25. As I take her cash she snorts at me - A drive all the way out in the country for a $1.25. That's just great. Clearly garage saling is her greatest passion. I mean she was obviously enjoying herself, so why not keep doing it?
I have to say the best part of the weekend was the laughs. For the most part it was Mike and I and Grandma Linda and her brother, Uncle G-Mac holding down the fort and we may have laughed for the entire weekend. We made up a drinking game that made fun of Uncle G-Mac. Then we made one up about Grandma Linda. Mike took a beating for being a Toronto Maple Leaf fan. We forced Uncle G-Mac to admit his celebrity to a random garage saler (he's a writer and does a radio show). There was no shortage of fart jokes, because farts are always funny. We flipped through Papa Al's record collection and laughed like crazy over some of the album covers and some of the albums (Saucy Sylvia Agent Double oh sixty-nine Adult comedy album, I'm looking at you). And we ate a ridiculous amount of chocolate chip cookies and brownies. So while it was a huge amount of work, I think the memory of the day will more than make up for it. We will be talking about this weekend for many years to come. At the next family dinner, some one is bound to say - remember that crazy lady who made you plug in that flower light because she wanted to see it work and then didn't buy it? Or Uncle G-Mac will mention his radio show and we'll all yell - do a shot! Or we'll remind Uncle G-Mac how he lost the cash box and then contemplated tackling the woman he thought stole it.
I kinda wish we could do it again next weekend.... Okay not all the unpacking, cleaning, pricing, repacking, unpacking, displaying and selling, but definitely the hanging out and the laughing. Maybe we should start planning for a garage sale in 2010.