by Susanne Dietze
|Ye olde Yard Sale (alas, not mine)|
One of my friends thinks I’m nuts. “Donate your stuff to charity,” she tells me. “Saves a lot of hassle.”
Indeed. I’m all for donating to charity. Between Goodwill and our church’s annual rummage sale, we donate (and purchase donated) items every year, and we share outgrown kids' clothes with smaller friends. But we have a few specific reasons why we’re choosing to host a yard sale this autumn, too:
We’re getting to know our neighbors. We don’t know all of them as well as we’d like, and we thought going door-to-door, inviting neighbors to participate in a block-wide sale, might help in this regard. Perhaps new relationships will grow from these encounters (which, for Christians, is always hoped for. We want to bless those around us and lead them to Jesus, if they don’t know Him already). On a financial note, more customers come when more houses join in on the sale, so it benefits everyone who participates. Besides, we’re paying for the ad in the newspaper. They just have to set out their stuff.
We’re selling for a purpose. No, our purpose is not noble. We aren’t saving for a mission trip or to bring clean water to a village. It’s so we can go to a theme park. My children have been saving change in a shoe box for over a year to help fund the expensive trip. We decided as a family that our yard sale earnings would go into our theme park fund, as well.
We’re learning to simplify. We have too much stuff. Clothes we’ve outgrown, wedding presents which baffled us, and oodles of scrapbooking stickers I’ve never used which, if I’m honest, I probably never will. I tend to hold onto things out of guilt, but recently I realized some of my unused items could perhaps bless somebody else. Besides, I don’t want to end up on that show, “Hoarders.” (My episode would be “Buried Alive by Scrapbook Stickers.”)
Should you find you have a goal or want a good way to get to know your neighbors, a yard sale might be an idea for you. Here are a few tips to help you set up.
Choose how—and what—to price. We only put price stickers on a few things, although we put a mental price on everything. A friend once told me there are two kinds of garage sales, ones where you want to make money, and others where you want to actually sell things. We’ve chosen her “sell things” approach, finding it encourages dialogue and product movement. And haggling, which some people thrive on. Not me. But it’s worked for us, and saves a lot of time on set-up.
Folding tables help. Sometimes people are willing to go through piles on the ground; others aren’t. We’ve also found it’s helpful to set up tables in the garage the night before our sale, and then move them into the driveway/yard when we “open for shop” on Saturday morning.
Dust your stuff. Items look nicer, but also better cared for, if they’re clean.
Group things together. Put all the kitchen items on one table, boys’ clothing on another, toys on another.
Go to the bank and get change in advance. Stock up on grocery bags, too, for your shoppers’ convenience.
Lastly, smile. Strike up conversations. Like the rest of life, welcome Jesus into the moment—you never know how He wants to touch that person. Maybe they’re looking for a church. Or are new to town.
I’m off to sort my scrapbooking stuff. With any luck, somebody’s been searching for those disco-themed stickers I never knew just how to use.
Do you enjoy yard sales? Have you ever found any deals?
Susanne Dietze has written love stories set in the nineteenth century since she was in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others to the glory of God. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and spending time with family and friends. Her work has finaled in the 2010 Genesis Contest, the 2009 Gotcha! Contest, and the Touched By Love Contest, 2008 and 2009. You can visit her on her personal blog, Tea and a Good Book, http://www.susannedietze.blogspot.com/.
Photos courtesy of wikipedia.