Do you ever feel like your stuff owns you?  Or that you spend your day picking up stuff?  With three little toddlers and my husband, I feel like I run circles all day long putting stuff away or cleaning up after everyone, plus putting away my things…essentially the things in my house own me.

When I was tired of cleaning house and picking up after everyone or just wanted to avoid the mess, we went shopping.  But when we went shopping, buying more things did not make anyone happier in the long run.  So when we decided to move into an RV, for our 50 states in 50 weeks trip, we knew we had to get rid of a lot of stuff and take in the minimalistic mindset.  We decided to do a garage sale.

When Colter and I decided we were going to live in an RV for a year, a garage sale sounded like a good way to send things out the door and to also make a little money.  Getting ready wasn’t as easy as it may seem though.  Actually getting ready was quite daunting.  First, we set a date.  Second, we needed to sort through what we needed to keep but not necessarily what we wanted to keep. Third, we needed to organize the items we were trying to get rid of and price everything. Last we needed to get people there!!

Set a date or deadline

Labor day weekend was our ‘date’ when we decided we would do the garage sale. If you give yourself a time frame you can more effectively make a plan and get everything ready.

Sorting through ‘stuff’

We live in a world with internet and credit cards where we have everything our heart could desire at our fingertips.  We can always pay that back later…  I love shopping maybe about just as much as the next person and oh do I love a ‘good deal’ even when I didn’t know I ‘needed’ the item.  There is something about having new that makes us think we are happy and creates an elevated value for us.

Let’s use the example of shoes.  I have (had) five bins of shoes.  One box had running/exercise shoes, the other work shoes, high heels, house shoes, and summer/winter shoes.  Some of these shoes I purchased at end of season sales but I only have worn them on a rare occasion.  I have my favorites though and the rest go to the wayside.  So I put them in a big moving box and out to the garage sale pile they went.  It was hard to keep just one pair of heels but that is all I supposedly need.

So it seemed like we had it planned out and I was going to take a little time each day to go through rooms and get rid of items we do not use or have not used in a long time.  With three little kids, my plan didn’t work like I had wanted it.  I had to juggle my work, taking care of my girls’ needs and continue keeping my house somewhat presentable.

I didn’t get through even a quarter of what I wanted to accomplish by the Friday night of the garage sale.  To my credit, I was able to find an hour here and there in the days and weeks before to sort through some things but not enough to have a garage sale.

One tip for sorting through your belongings; have boxes standing by, and aim to fill them up.

This was at the beginning of our garage sale, just pulling stuff from our storage corners.

We almost didn’t have a garage sale.

Then we looked at when we would EVER have TIME to do a garage sale.  It was now or never.  We got to work and spent the midnight hours going through each section of our house we knew we had stuff we never used.

How to make money at a garage sale

We barely had time to get our stuff out in the garage, let alone price everything.  Pre-pricing actually never crossed my mind.  When people started showing up an hour to half-an-hour early asking how much we wanted for things, well that was more stressful than sorting through things we wanted to keep and get rid of.

The sentimental value of our things compared to the actual value is crazy.  Obviously, we hold items we buy at a higher value then does someone else.  I was tired by the end of the garage sale. I did realize there are three different types of garage sale people.  First, you have the browser who doesn’t buy anything but touches everything.  Second, you have the questioner or that person that asks you a price on an item, you ask them what they would offer…they shrug their shoulders…, you give an amount, they scoff and put the item back down.  Last but not least, you have the bargainer.  Yes, that one who tries to talk you down to the bone.  They don’t walk away like the questioner but hammer and hammer until you are tired and just practically give it away.

The roller coaster of emotions of getting an offer, counter-offering and the decision on the other person’s side to either buy or pass takes a lot of brain energy. Another tip on having a successful garage sale, price everything ahead of time, even if it is just a sign on the table with a list of items and prices.  Holly Hammersmith has some great garage sale hacks to help things go more smoothly.

A full, organized garage after a garage sale.

How to get customers to your garage sale

To get people to come to our garage sale we put up garage sale signs at major intersections, going toward our neighborhood and into our neighborhood.  We also were able to place items for sale on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.

The short of my long learning lesson is that purchasing items doesn’t make me happy.  It clutters my house, it wastes my money and causes me unnecessary stress.

The fun part of getting rid of things is that my children have not missed anything that has gone out the door.  Well, maybe the Barbie boat because they still have the Barbie RV, but that is all.  I am happier because I don’t always have the mess to clean up and I can spend that extra time with my kiddos.  Here’s to less stuff and more happiness!

Please comment on ways you have been able to minimize and change your mindset of buying stuff!