Elizabeth Taylor once said “It’s not the having, it’s the getting“.  Liz and I were not besties but I’m sure she was alluding to the great American past time of the garage sale.  It’s that time of year again where the American public opens themselves up to the humbling experience of self-enterprise.  Where complete strangers follow the beacon of handmade signage to obtain the holy grail of ” THE DEAL”.  I confess I am one of the flock. Not only do I look forward to this pilgrimage as a customer, I also become a vendor.  Today, I’m directing this entry to the pilgrims.

Each year I tell myself that it will be the last.  Exhausting hours of preparation and imploring my friends for extra tables has left me wondering why I do it.  Why do I continually subject myself to the humiliation for pennies on the dollar?  Because…it’s fun!

You may have guessed that I’m not an introverted person.  I actually enjoy meeting “my” strangers and listening to those who need an ear.  I love seeing the excitement come over their faces when they score the jewels (junk) they’ve been yearning for.  But, as with any endeavor involving people, there are the troublesome few who spoil it for the whole.  To you, I bestow the following good form advice:

→Don’t knock on the door asking if you can gain early entry.  This happens to me nearly every time I hold a sale.  I once had a women knock on the door of my home at 6am with six children in tow asking for early entry into my garage.  My published start time was 8am but I generously told her I would make every attempt to open a few minutes early.  Believe it or not, she got angry with me at the same time three of her little sweethearts barreled through my front door.  This brings me to point #2.

Don’t ask the homeowner to use their bathroom or any other part of their home.  The world’s a crazy place with lots of crazy people.  Understand this is a safety issue above all else.  Don’t put the seller in an awkward position of having to politely decline your request.

If it is early in the morning, please be quiet.  While the homeowner may be up and ready to bargain at 8am, some of her neighbors may not be.  Be respectful of the surroundings.

Please do not park your vehicle in front of the driveway or mailbox.

Carry small bills in that swanky leatherette fannie pack of yours.  This is a yard sale, not Nordstrom’s.

Be respectful of the merchandise.  Leave the items where you found them and neatly re-fold any clothing you may have handled.  Being respectful of the merchandise also means you may have to stifle the giggle rising in your throat.  I know there is nothing funnier than a pair of mans leopard Zuba pants from 1980 BUT they actually might have some sentimental value to the seller.  Please don’t insult no matter how ridiculous the item may be.

The art of negotiation is an art form indeed.  Fair negotiation is expected but haggling incessantly is rude.

If you are a neighbor or friend coming to scope or snoop, limit your conversations if there are other customers present.  As a customer, I’ve heard many conversations that should have been held privately. You don’t know who could be listening. Actually, everyone listens even if they pretend they aren’t.  In addition, if your seller is distracted by chatter, they won’t be able to tend to their customers.

And now…for the piece de la resistance!

I humbly offer you a glimpse of what my garage sale may offer you this year.


It’s just too good to be true isn’t it?  If Liz was alive I know she’d be the first one at my sale.