Friday, July 6, 2012

Chaos Theory

Everyone talks about downsizing and simplifying one’s life. 
“Get rid of clutter!”
“Sell your stuff!”
“Have a garage sale!”

Good advice.   However, the last bit of advice is missing a few steps.  It’s a bit like saying, “then build a rocket to the moon” or “drive to London.”

Yet,  Ms.  LiteraryFirefly, Ms E (Ms. LiteraryFirefly’s daughter and my niece), Ms J, Ms. W, and I decided to have a yard sale together.  The sale is tomorrow, and pure and utter chaos is about to ensue.

I have ten plus years of international finance experience.  And a graduate degree in economic history.  But since I was an investment banker and a former academic, this means I don’t have the faintest clue on how to run something as real world as a suburban garage sale.  Nonetheless, as I’m the bossiest of the group (read: my friends are nice people), my friends came along for the ride—for which I am grateful.

Here are some of the things we are did so far: Check back next time to see how well it worked (ha ha).
  • We first talked about our goals—in our case, the goals are the same for all of us—GET RID OF STUFF, which was secondary to making money.  In my view, there is a huge utility to getting rid of stuff but knowing it's not going to a landfill.  This also simplified pricing-- as the everything is being priced to go.
  • My place was the central warehouse, as I have an empty garage.
  • We decided to pool all our stuff (rather than have 4 different family sales) as that would make for a better shopping experience.  We organized everything by books, kitchen, kids, home ware, high cost items. The latter fully indulged my organization fetish.
  •  We tried to make things look attractive: we tied things with twine, and covered tables with sheets, and folded clothes.  Nicer clothes were hung on a garment rack.  Multi family=lots of resources to tap.
  • Each person will be tasked with keeping a section neat and tidy,
  •  We tagged and priced everything with color-coded sticker (each family had one sticker color).
  • We plan on having one check out. The check out person will peel the color coded sticker or write down the price onto a 4 columned sheet of paper.  At the end, we will tally our shares.
  • We advertised on Craig’s list. I included a picture of a Google map with the location.  We made some signs too. . .
  • The pre-sale organization was made fun, as we got to pick though each other’s things.  And we toasted each other with homemade Limon cello.  While we were mindful of not grabbing anything high priced items, we didn’t accept any money from each other, and everyone got things they needed and got rid of stuff. . .
  • What permit?  I found out that my town required a $10 permit. Who knew?
  • I signed up and got a free SQUARE reader, which allowed me to accept credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) on my smart phone. 
 Also see Ashley's tips-- I wish I had read her advice before I got to this point of garage sale mayhem.

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