I don’t know about your family, but in our family, we mark the New Year by cleaning the house like crazy. Since our mother is a hoarding fiend that saves even the tiniest of papers, the house tends to be cluttered by various oddities like barely-used electronics, trinkets, barely-worn clothes that are two sizes too big, shoes and in my case, tons of toys, books and notebooks.
So, the Tuesday morning prior to the end of the year, just as we were gearing to clear out the trash from our respective rooms, the family and I had the brilliant idea to stage a garage sale. After all, we have been known to give away our things whenever we tire of it. So why not profit for it. Buoyed by the fact that we are curious where the big sale can lead us and desperate to let go of all our previous trash, we started laying our things in front of our house, marked and priced them and started calling the attention of our neighbors.
Up for grabs were heavily-discounted bags from Singapore, Bangkok and London; old china and brand-new shot glasses, bric-bracs and a lot of accumulated notebooks and notepads; barely worn clothes and shoes; a 24-inch barely used television set; my sister’s Blackberry (used for a month only); brand-new Skull Candy head phones; my old Japanese magazines (still no takers up till now) and four boxes of books.
While we really didn’t mind getting rid of the rest of the stuff, my sister and I had trouble and a lot of heartbreak letting go of the books. But, space have been scarce, we were done reading these books and wanted others to enjoy them. The fact that we will be earning from the sale is just a plus. We unloaded a lot of young adult novels, including six Gossip Girl books, the whole Twilight Series which was bought on a whim–to date, only one sold during the Garage Sale; Nicholas Sparks novels which sold like hotcakes, plus three cartons more worth of the stuff.
At first, we really didn’t know what to do with the money, but when we hit a thousand bucks, we all decided that whatever the proceeds of the garage sale maybe, we will use it for our New Year’s Eve feast. Sort of, the old things we have paying for the celebration of the incoming year. By second day (which was New Year’s Eve) we already sold about five thousand pesos worth of stuff. Not bad, considering that these are the same things that we used to throw or just give away.
Happy with the progress, my dad, my sister and I went to grocery shopping by 5PM of January 31, happily clutching assorted bills earned from a day of unloading our unwanted stuff.
Our “house trash” was successfully transformed into this:
The New Year’s Eve feast was something: prime Australian lean meat steak; green salad with two choice of dressings, fruit salad; a cake from Tous Le Jours; porkchop; a potato and egg salad as side for the steak; baked rigatoni smothered in melted cheese; plus a cheese spread composed of Quezon de Bola, blue cheese and cream cheese. All these without spending any of our personal money at all, funds sourced from the proceeds of the garage sale.
Honestly, this made me realize that we are prone to mindless buying of things which end up as trash after a year. We accumulate and we buy stuff without putting too much importance on their value. Our family knows nothing about practical and intelligent spending. We are prone to buying things we really don’t need and out of “just because”. The Garage Sale taught us to put premium value on our possessions. Learn what’s really important. Do not be afraid to weed out what’s unnecessary and out-dated. Case in point? Our book collection. As nerds, we worship the stack of books that has accumulated on our shelf, but forgot that there may come a point that we need to share them to others.
There is an old Tagalog/Filipino saying, “May pera sa basura” (There is money in trash) and the garage sale was a testament to that. My sister and I agreed that we will stage the garage sale bi-annually — during mid-year and before the end of the year, which will give our family opportunity to earn more. Our goal for the potential proceeds we have based on our remaining inventory is to earn enough to buy the house a new sofa set. Ours is really old and we really need a new set in the living room. Hopefully, with two remaining days prior to the start of the first work week in 2015, we’ll have enough to cover this expense.