How To Survive A Garage Sale In The Suburbs

No big shock.  I live in the suburbs.  My fairly nice neighbourhood in the suburbs is right smack in the centre of a University town.  I kind of love it, and I have to tell you until about a week ago I thought I knew the people of my town pretty well.  Conservative.  Polite.  Respectful….and then I went and had a garage sale.  

garage sale

These my friends are my new rules for surviving a garage sale in the suburbs. 

1.  It’s Not Personal.  Understand that when you are selling your wares at a garage sale and people drive up, merely glance at you and your “stuff”, and then drive away without so much as a haggle, it’s not personal.  Yes, they are garage “saleing” and are looking to buy some crap, just not your crap. 

2.  Remember you goal.  You are there to sell!  You are hawking items that I am sure do not include the best of designer clothes, Granny’s China or incredible works of art.  Price accordingly BUT leave a little bit of wiggle room!  Why? Apparently there is some unwritten rule that everyone who steps within in ten feet of a garage sale must ARGUE with you about your price.  It doesn’t matter to the professional garage saler that you have done your very best work pricing fairly, that you think that brand new in the box set of books originally priced at $19.99 is a steal for $1.00, they will only want to pay you 50 cents!  So leave wiggle room or be prepared to stand your ground.   Umm, I might have done a little ground standing and ended up making a big fat donation to Good Will at the end of the day. I’m okay with that.

3.  This leads me to rule number three.  Stand Your Ground.  Yes you are having a garage sale, but you can still keep your dignity!  That rude RUDE woman who wants the entire High School Musical Set and matching singing Gabrielle and Troy Dolls for $1.00?  Sigh.  I’m sorry but she can kiss my a$$.  I’d rather see that sweet doll house go to charity than to rude pushy garage sale lady.  

4.  Love thy neighbour?  I do, but my new rule; You don’t have to love all your neighbours.  Need some examples?

One:  I don’t love the guy who came back to my house half an hour after the garage sale was OVER to EXCHANGE a Barbie for something else?  Um, this is not how garage sales work.

Two:  When a prospective buyer shows up at my house, opened her car door and spat a big fat loogie on my front lawn, so massive that she in fact has to step OVER it as she exited her car, I decided I did not have to greet her with grace.  Yep, I decided this was a lesson I was comfortable teaching my kids.  When a strange woman from the suburbs spits on your front lawn,  it is okay to break down into what can only be described as a sleep deprived, shocked state of giggle.  I mean, who does this? 

5.  Rejoice.  Rejoice in the purge.  Yes, put all your crap out on the front lawn.  Celebrate the cleaning out of the basement with doughnuts for the kids and coffee for yourself.  Rejoice in the fact that even without trying you are making memories with your kids.  Strange and quirky memories, but memories none the less.  Rejoice that you will indeed make a little money!  Accept almost every offer and then take the money and run!  Some of cash went to charity, the rest is headed straight to our Disney fund! 

I have always known the Suburbs was hiding some interesting characters.  Turns out if your really want to meet them, all you have to do is have a garage sale!


  1. my number one rule is…nothing comes back in the house…once it goes out it is gone…there are some realy characters you meet at garage sales as well…oy….lol

  2. Some people are so pushy. Spitting on the lawn, ewww, so gross.

  3. You are way more energetic than I. Garage sales are a ton of work! Good for you. 🙂

  4. Every says garages sales are the way to go, but I just don’t have it in me to do one. Especially when the goodwill will come to my door and take my crap!

  5. I’ve have had two garage sales because of moving. Your reasons are all the reasons I don’t like them. Great post!

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  7. I think this post is absolutely BRILLIANT! LOL

    As an avid garage saler and someone who has HAD garage sales in the past, I try to respect the ‘rules’ of the game, as well as the people holding the garage sales.

    I definitely don’t want to be seen as that rude, pushy person!!

  8. O.M.G. Couldn’t have said it better myself. We had our first garage sale last year and I too discovered the above rules. People never cease to amaze me. HILARIOUS.

  9. Oh we have had a couple of garage sales you should try selling in the country it is a lot of fun. People think because they used about $50.(Can) worth of gas they should get everything free:) I am just kidding.
    I am glad you purged and you really do have lovely neighbours:)
    Good memory creating, even if it was laughing at the strange people coming to the yard, that is the real thing about them. I know we had a great time. B

  10. We are good garage sale people, we don’t spit on the lawn, or haggle. When I garage sale, I’m looking for something special and I’ll pay whatever price within reason, that it has on it.

    Thanks for stopping by, and yes, you do have to go the right and read us from the start. Otherwise, you’re just sitting there going.. WTH?

  11. Lol I can relate, we had a garage sale when I was heavily pregnant with son no 1. People turned up at stupid hour and then got annoyed with me when I wouldn’t let them in , don’t mess with the pregnant woman, you hear!

  12. I have had exactly ONE garage sale. Just one. And I will never, never, never do it again. I swear.

  13. I love garage sales. Going to them, having them. Love it all. I agree with precious poster…once it’s out it stats out.

  14. I laughed because you just described garage sales to a T! Last time we had one, I swore NEVER AGAIN!! I have participated in a few just because I’m on the board of a mission and we have to make money, but I hate it! But honestly, in all my years (and that’s a lot of years) I have never heard of anyone coming back to exchange something! That has to take the cake! 🙂

  15. I’m just like you. I’d much rather donate it than let somebody pay an insulting amount!

  16. My neighborhood has yard sales twice a year and I have yet to participate… we always have something going on. I’ve lived here for 5 years which is the longest I’ve lived in one spot as a adult. I DESPERATELY need to purge!

  17. We don’t have garage sales here much (at all, in fact!), but yes, I can imagine how pushy some people can be.

    I would rather donate or give away rather than accept an ridiculous or insulting offer.

  18. It’s so true. It brings out all the weirdos doesn’t it? I remember having a big sale in Toronto and my mom was helping. She got so offended by people haggling that she ended up buying a bunch of stuff herself to prevent the hagglers from getting it:)

  19. And if you have a garage sale in Southern California- you will get the guys that come up offering to buy all of the girls clothes you are selling (for a low-ball price) as he is just going to take them down to Mexico and turn around and resell them to American tourists- true story.

  20. Oh my. I’ve been banned from ever having a garage sale since 1998. I had a lady spit a loogie on our driveway because I refused her offer on a pair of shoes. I had someone change a baby diaper and leave the dirty diaper on my driveway too.
    From now on….everything goes to charity.

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