How much work does it take to have a successful garage sale? That is the ultimate question. The answer depends, of course, on your definition of success. But let’s be clear. From the obsessive (if not obsessed) to the most carefree, there is a continuum of garage sale effort. And, more often that not, the amount of effort undertaken is related directly to the bottom line, the amount earned at a garage sale.
- It takes some folks 24 hours or less to throw a garage sale together. These laissez-faire sellers literally “wing it” and hope for the best. They have minimal costs and wait for a nice day. These sellers settle for whatever is earned, believing (or rationalizing) that they don’t have much “skin in the game.”
- Most sellers spend a bit more time than that on their garage sale project. They are willing to spend a week or so in the garage, basement or attic. They do what they can, in the time they can spare, and are pleased enough with the results. They weigh and balance to get it done with expedience and efficiency, given the realities and practicalities of their busy lives. They fall in the middle of the continuum and are the norm.
- Still other organizers plan for the event 360 or so days of the year. From the moment that their garage sale is over, they are planning their next sale. They are most typically organizational sellers, raising money for charities, missions or the like as a group. They learn from their sales, year to year. They hope to make more money year to year and they get bigger and better in doing so.
The organizers at Trinity Lutheran Church in Mission, Kansas fall within the “definition” of this last group. They appear quite devoted to, and proud of, their self-proclaimed “Great American” garage sale and the good works it accomplishes. They keep records (try anyway) from year to year of their helpers, sales, and their charities. They have been conducting this sale annually since about 1982. They spend about 6,000 hours on the sale with about 300 volunteers. Each year they select charities to support, who/which receive garage sale proceeds. (There appear to be 16 recipients this year.) They have posters to show the organizations that they are assisting, locally and internationally (including in Uganda and Guatemala) for all volunteers and shoppers to view.
This sale appears to get bigger and bigger each year. Perhaps it is because they collect stuff for their sale all year long, not just the week or two before the sale. They are generous about what they accept as donations and when things may be dropped off or picked up. They do not exclude many, if any, items. The buyers can determine what is trash or treasure. There are even sections for things that are not seen often at sales such as mattresses (starting at $5.00) and live plants.
Trinity’s garage sale has a ton of everything. There is merchandise inside the air conditioned building and outside, mostly under tents and canopies, given heat and weather. There is a main hall filled with shelves of knick-knacks and whatnots. (Be forewarned however; it is a relatively narrow hall so it may be tight quarters with all the shoppers and their wares at hand). There are rooms of stuff off this corridor. The rooms are organized by category of garage sale goods, including electronics, linens, toys, books, clothes, holiday decor and Ebay type collectibles. Furniture, large toys, art, medical related supplies and sporting equipment are outside in tents.
And, the stuff is priced to go, go, go. Items (excluding the collectible area) are reasonable and in line, if not below, standard garage sale fare. (Hard to hate that!) Plus, you can pay with certain credit cards.
If you are hungry for a yard sale and you can’t stand the heat, head over to Trinity starting tomorrow. Trinity is located at the northwest corner of Shawnee Mission Parkway and Nall at 5601 W 62nd Street. The sale runs Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 until noon. Most items will be marked 50% off on Saturday.
Let your garage sale examiner what you thought of this sale and of garage sale effort in general. Have fun shopping and stay cool and hydrated!