Garage Sale: Worth it or not?

I have become over-whelmed by the amount of stuff I care-take on a daily basis. We live in a neighborhood that has a ridiculous snooty homeowner’s association that says we are not allowed to have a garage sale so when I heard about Portland’s Largest Garage Sale I thought – perfect I will rent a $50 space and get rid of a ton of stuff. I have teenagers they can run the sale and keep some of the cash, win…win.

I used every inch of the 10′ x 10′ space!

Here is how it really played out.


  • There was a fixed date on the calendar that I had to shoot for when cleaning out closets
  • We got rid of a lot of things
But…the kids had to test EVERY toy as they were sorted!
  • We made some money
  • By renting a space at a large event we did not have to do ANY marketing – thousands of people showed up to shop
  • I actually had fun setting up the booth. I kind of enjoyed the whole retail display aspect…make it pretty!
Toys and games galore! (Games don’t sell well)


  • If you can’t use your own garage you have to limit the number and size of things you can sell and you have to pack it all up!
Load it…unload it…set it up…reload or donate what doesn’t sell…
  • You have to touch everything you want to sell multiple times – cleaning out the closet, setting it up, pricing it, selling it, or sorting and donating if it doesn’t sell
  • You have to keep your pricing very low and simple
Kids costumes $1 a piece
  • It took over 7 hours to load in, set up and price. Someone has to man the sale – in our case from 7 AM to 5 PM and then pack up
  • You are left with items afterward to decide what to do with
  • We made almost $300 but could have made a lot more (probably) in our own garage, with a larger variety of items and no limit on the space we have. Doesn’t seem like the best return on the time invested.
Having a good variety of items we did attract a lot of people!

We have only had one garage sale before in California when we were moving to Oregon and made tons of money, but we sold tons of stuff. Since then I have been a Goodwill girl, it is the easiest way to recycle goods and feel good about contributing. But I have sorted out most of the things that are easy to just give away already, I now am faced with items of some real value.

How do you recycle your children’s outgrown toys, decor items, gifts from aunts that never worked for you? I’m now debating the merits of Craig’s List and Ebay – if you have any tips let me know! Otherwise I will keep you posted on the adventures of simplifying my life, one outgrown toy at a time.

You know sometimes it’s not just my kids that want to physically hold onto the past. Their are emotional costs in shedding items as well, but I know there will be a lightness as the end. Colton is not so sure “You are selling my childhood!” No, Colton, not really just sharing the joy with some new children.

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    1. I think you are right, my husband loved it when little kids would be agonizing about which item to buy with their single dollar and he would give them both. Making a child’s eyes light up is what gave us the greatest return on our investment!

  1. gee, Barbara, with five kids, a design business and a book to come out soon, you really needed something to fill the time like a garage sale.

  2. Here are some free´╗┐ mobile phone apps great for gaarge sales: MediaScanner gives fast dvd and video game prices. And Garage Sale Rover maps craigslist gaarge sales and gives GPS directions.