HOW TO CONDUCT A PROFITABLE GARAGE SALE AND HAVE FUN DOING IT

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Approximately 4 years ago my wife (then girlfriend), Holly, and I hosted our first garage sale together. I was moving out of my bachelor pad and in with a friend who had a fully furnished home. So all of my non-matching and eclectic furniture needed a new home.

Around the same time, Holly and I had a friend who was a sophomore in high school, and she was wanting a car. She needed a few more dollars to make that happen, though. So we decided all of the garage sale funds would go toward our friend’s car budget.

After it was all said and done we profited nearly $1000. It probably goes without saying that this experience made me a fan of hosting garage sales. Since then my wife and I have hosted two per year (Oklahoma City’s allowed limit), and we have learned a few things along the way. Below are eight tips for conducting a fun and profitable garage sale.

1. ASK FOR ITEM DONATIONS – we normally donate all or at least a portion of the money we make, which helps when asking for garage sale item donations from others. Some people don’t care why you want it, they have stuff they have been sitting on for a while that they want to get rid of. They are normally happy to dump it on your front lawn. Tell them about your cause and they might even want to contribute financially. These sales and donations were a big help for me and my wife when we rode our bicycles 500 miles down the California coast to our wedding spot via the Love Does Tour (more affectionately known as #LeftCoastLoveStory), all while raising money and awareness for a school and kids in Africa.

2. BUDDY UP – ask neighbors and local friends or family to co-host. A variety of options is what will get people to stop and get out of their cars. Have them bring their items to the sale to beef up the selection. Plus, it’s just more fun to have others to socialize with during down times.

3. ORGANIZE – a day or two before the sale my wife and I always organize our sale items in the garage. Clothes go on hangers and a clothing rack. Everything is neatly compiled on tables or in bins. That way on sale day we don’t have to do anything other than open the garage and drag a few tables outside. It’s been our experience that customers will show up early, especially if you have advertised notable items. So the less work you have to do in the morning the better.

4. PRICE ITEMS – some interested buyers don’t want to negotiate a price or ask how much something costs. Give them a reason to pick up an item and simply pay for it. Price everything!

5. ADVERTISE – My go to line for almost every garage sale customer I interact with is, “Are you out making the rounds today?” Many times I get insight as to how they found out about our sale. Below are a few of the biggest reasons we seem to get customers.

-CITY PERMIT – In OKC, the potential fine for conducting a sale without a permit is $200. We have never had a city official show up to see our garage sale permit, but we always purchase one for $7. It’s a minimal cost. And, in OKC, I believe purchasing a permit gets your sale posted on the city’s website. Serious garage sale customers will know this site well. Check your city’s website for details regarding garage sale protocol in your neck of the woods. Also check in with your city officials and / or CPA to determine if you need to report your earnings from your sale.CRAIGSLIST – I always post our sales on Craigslist a week before the sale and the night before the sale. Include pictures of items you know will spark interest.

-SIGNAGE – There are two major entrances to the neighborhood I live in, so I post signs there. I also post a sign at the nearest intersection to our home. Several customers have told me they were out with other intentions when they noticed our signs, and that they decided to stop by because of it. We have a neighbor who lines his entire driveway with flags you might see at a NASCAR race when he hosts a sale. Get people’s attention somehow!

-FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE – It’s been my experience that when someone attends a garage sale they want stuff on the cheap, and they often aren’t willing to pay top dollar for an item that actually has significant value. I put these items on display and for sale just in case (and to entice potential customers out of their cars). However, I also post these items on Facebook Marketplace. It’s been a good way for me to receive a fair return on a number of items. If the purchaser shows up during the garage sale it’s possible they might spend more money on additional items. Win-win.

6. HAVE A CENTRALIZED CASH COLLECTION LOCATION – make it easy for customers to know where to pay. In the past we have invited neighborhood teenagers (some that we’ve known for a while) over to handle a cash collection station. It frees me and Holly up to take care of other responsibilities. Many times we are raising money for these kids, so we want them to be involved in the process in some way. It’s a safe environment for them to learn how to give and receive money, since me and Holly are easily accessible if they get confused. It can also act as a “lemonade stand” and give them selling experience. At the cash station we have featured bottled water, lemonade and popsicles. It’s the goal of our cash handlers to sell these items for 100% commission. Try to recruit a youngster to help with this process. It’s hard to say no to a toothless smile.

7. HAVE FUN – we have ladder golf and corn hole sets we always set out on the front lawn. It’s a fun way to interact with customers, and a lot of times those items alone are enough to get customers out of their cars. Just be prepared to tell people over and over again that they aren’t for sale.

8. GET RID OF THE EXCESS – if you’re done selling for the year then curb it, trash it, donate it – just get rid of it! That was the original plan, remember?

9. *BONUS* | SELL FOR OTHERS – become so good at selling your items that others want you to sell their stuff for them. This has been one of the unforeseen benefits of expressing my love for conducting garage sales. I’ve had others, including a parts manager at a car dealership approach me to list their items on Facebook Marketplace in exchange for a percentage of the yield.

There is no easy way to conduct a garage sale. The fact is, it’s going to be work. For some people the amount of work it requires will seem like a waste of time, especially if you were to calculate your hourly rate.

If you go into the experience expecting to make tons of money you might be disappointed. To be honest, since our first sale we haven’t even got close to the $1000 mark again. We probably average somewhere in the range of $200 – $400 per sale, so approximately $400 – $800 per year. Looking at our budget that’s enough to take care of our Christmas shopping or vacation expenses on an annual basis or car insurance biannually. It could buy groceries for a month. It could also be a great gift to a high school student who doesn’t have the money for a driver’s education class, which has been our goal the last several sales.

In the end the money is only a piece of the puzzle. My wife and I have fun completing these projects together. And as mentioned above, traditionally we have guests join in the experience.

Garage sales force my family to evaluate the items in our home, and it gives us the opportunity to discard the things that are not adding value to our lives. Just because those items are no longer meaningful to us doesn’t mean they won’t be to someone else at this stage in life.

Do you have any garage sale wins you can share with our audience? Please comment below.

Happy selling!

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Library Value Calculator – December 2018 – $57.00 Saved

This is the eighth in a series of monthly posts in which I will attempt to prove the awesomeness and supreme value of the Metropolitan Library System (MLS).

In January of 2016 my wife and I moved into a home less than a mile from one of the MLS branches that we now frequent. I also help run a job readiness internship for young adults, and I had an opportunity to help place one of the program interns in a position at another branch in OKC just this past summer.

In addition to becoming a big fan of the library, I’ve long been a fan of the personal finance community. This is an attempt to combine those two interests as I lay out the materials my family checks out from the library and how this practice is saving us money along the way.

Estimated values below are based on a variety of outlets and vendors defined by the MLS, including but not limited to Amazon.com, iTunes, Netflix, Audible, and more.

Let’s dive into my library value calculator for December 2018:

Adult / Children’s Books Borrowed – Qty 3 – Value of Use = $45.00

  • Holistic Spaces: 108 Ways to Create a Mindful and Peaceful Home by Anjie Cho
  • Bright Night by Lorie Ann Grover
  • I Love You Through and Through at Christmas Too! by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak

Movies Borrowed – Qty  – Value of Use = $12.00

  • The Santa Clause
  • Solo:  A Star Wars Story
  • Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

December 2018 Total Value of Use = $57.00
November 2018 Total Value of Use = $79.00
October 2018 Total Value of Use = $91.00
September 2018 Total Value of Use = $204.00
August 2018 Total Value of Use = $44.00
July 2018 Total Value of Use = $215.00
June 2018 Total Value of Use = $209.00
May 2018 Total Value of Use = $171.00
2018 Total Value of Use = $1,070.00

How much did you save at the library this month or in 2018? Feel free to share in the comments below. I’d also love to hear what item you checked out that was your favorite.

You can calculate your savings via the Metropolitan Library System’s Value Calculator.

The Minimalist Home: A Room By Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life – Book Review

“…I would even go so far as to say that the people in a minimized home stand out more as valuable than they do in a cluttered, overcrowded house. Somehow we can see each other better when not distracted by things. We are drawn to one another and are there for one another.” -Joshua Becker (The Minimalist Home)

Have you ever had a desire to get rid of the junk in your home? How does your garage currently look? Is your living room easy to maneuver through?

With an accumulation of stuff, it can sometimes be hard to know where to start. Enter Joshua Becker’s The Minimalist Home: A Room-By-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life book. It provides a step by step guide to eliminating the things that distract from an intentional home, and in turn an intentional life.

The content is a great mix of minimalism inspiration and practical tips for turning the spaces in your home into the most intentional environments you can dream of.

Each chapter concludes with a Minimizing Checklist – basically a series of questions that will likely make you evaluate your spaces and family relationships in a way you never have before. Just a few for example:

1. Does this space encourage conversation and highlight what is important to our family?
2. Does this space foster intimacy and rest?
3. Is this space easy to maintain?
4. Are the kids comfortable hanging out in their rooms during the day and are they getting enough sleep at night?
5. Is there enough space in my guest room to comfortably accommodate all the belongings my overnight guests bring with them?

My wife and I already live pretty simply, but this book showed up at a timely stage of life for us. We recently invited a foster child (2 months old when he arrived) into our home and we’re about to birth another baby into the world next March.

Because we’ll soon have two babies to care for our biggest project while reading the book has been preparing two bedrooms. Before having kids I used the closet in our master bedroom and Holly used the closet space in our other two bedrooms.

You’re probably thinking we have too many clothes, which to some extent is probably true. However, we live in a house built in the 1950’s and the square footage of each bedroom is no more than 175 square feet, including the master. Without one of those large walk in closets, we have to get a bit creative with closet space.

So we began the closet consolidation process. We were challenged to examine all our clothes and shoes and other assorted items we had stuffed in these spaces. Naturally, we determined it wasn’t all necessary. Some of the items were tossed in the trash and others were bagged for donation.

In the end, my wife and I are now sharing a closet for the first time in our three and half years of marriage. After all, sharing is caring.

The closet project was just one of a many minimizing decisions we made after discussing Becker’s prompts. With a rather small living room we decided to get rid of our coffee table. The items we sat on it can easily be placed on our side tables, and getting rid of the coffee table will free up so much more space to play with the babies.

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Coffee table removed. Previous TV stand converted to bench and moved by window. Bench could also serve as a coffee table if necessary. 

The questions and insights Becker writes about encouraged us to investigate every nook and cranny of our home, and it allowed us to dream about what kind of environment we want to create for these kids, our guests and ourselves.

For me, the practicality of minimalism is fun. For example, I really enjoy conducting a garage sale. We have hosted two a year for the last three or four years. I realize the actual practice of getting rid of stuff isn’t as exciting for others. I think we can all agree, though, that only hanging onto the things that truly add value to our lives sets us up for a life with less distractions and more meaning.

With the constant ebb and flow of relationships and circumstances and stuff, this book will be a great resource to pull off your bookshelf for years to come. Find out more about The Minimalist Home book and pick yours up HERE.

What minimalist decisions have you made or will you make for your home? How will those decisions affect you and your family? Feel free to share in the comments section.

Library Value Calculator – November 2018 – $79.00 Saved

This is the seventh in a series of monthly posts in which I will attempt to prove the awesomeness and supreme value of the Metropolitan Library System (MLS).

In January of 2016 my wife and I moved into a home less than a mile from one of the MLS branches that we now frequent. I also help run a job readiness internship for young adults, and I had an opportunity to help place one of the program interns in a position at another branch in OKC just this past summer.

In addition to becoming a big fan of the library, I’ve long been a fan of the personal finance community. And I believe this could be a fun project over the course of the rest of 2018.

Estimated values below are based on a variety of outlets and vendors defined by the MLS, including but not limited to Amazon.com, iTunes, Netflix, Audible, and more.

Let’s dive into my library value calculator for November 2018:

Adult Books Borrowed – Qty 3 – Value of Use = $45.00

  • The Mamba Mentality: How I Play by Kobe Bryant
  • Your Money Or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Vicki Robin
  • Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott

Movies Borrowed – Qty 6 – Value of Use = $24.00

  • Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town!
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (animated)
  • Creed
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Leave No Trace
  • The Star

Magazines Borrowed – Qty 2 – Value of Use = $10.00

  • Money Magazine (x2)

November 2018 Total Value of Use = $79.00
October 2018 Total Value of Use = $91.00
September 2018 Total Value of Use = $204.00
August 2018 Total Value of Use = $44.00
July 2018 Total Value of Use = $215.00
June 2018 Total Value of Use = $209.00
May 2018 Total Value of Use = $171.00
2018 Total Value of Use = $1,013.00

How much have you saved at the library this month? Feel free to share in the comments below. I’d also love to hear what item you checked out that was your favorite.

You can calculate your savings via the Metropolitan Library System’s Value Calculator.

Get a FREE Google Home Mini Device For Being An Existing Spotify Customer

Black Friday is almost here! I confess, I’m all about it. I dig the crowds and the energy of it all. We’re going to spend money on gifts anyway, so we might as well try to save some money while we’re at it. Right?

I recently spent close to an hour researching deals and hit the JACKPOT with Spotify! It turns out the company is offering a FREE Google Home Mini device to existing “Premium for Family” customers. The giveaway is advertised for new customers, which is another way to make this happen. But I, as an existing Premium for Family customer, was able to snag my own device without spending an additional dime just by clicking a couple buttons. Instructions aren’t overt, so follow the steps below to get your own.

  1. Visit Spotify.com
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the advertisement that says “Get a Google Home Mini with Premium for Family” and click the “Learn More” button.
  3. On the next screen, click the “Get Started” button.
  4. On the following screen you will be prompted to login to your existing account. Simply login and you will be prompted with another screen that says “You’ve reserved your Google Home Mini” and that you will be emailed with information as soon as your device is available.

It’s as simple as that. I received an email immediately and redeemed my FREE Google Home Mini in minutes.

Act fast! The offer is only good while supplies last and the offer ends 12/31/18, and devices must be redeemed by 1/15/19.

Also worth noting – I originally discovered that existing Spotify Premium users can take advantage of a 0.99c/month promotion HERE, which is what prompted me to experiment with the “Premium for Family” option. This for those of you who are using Premium and not Premium for Family.

What crazy good holiday deals have you discovered this year?

Happy hunting!

Library Value Calculator – October 2018 – $91.00 Saved

This is the sixth in a series of monthly posts in which I will attempt to prove the awesomeness and supreme value of the Metropolitan Library System (MLS).

In January of 2016 my wife and I moved into a home less than a mile from one of the MLS branches that we now frequent. I also help run a job readiness internship for young adults, and I had an opportunity to help place one of the program interns in a position at another branch in OKC just this past summer.

In addition to becoming a big fan of the library, I’ve long been a fan of the personal finance community. And I believe this could be a fun project over the course of the rest of 2018.

Estimated values below are based on a variety of outlets and vendors defined by the MLS, including but not limited to Amazon.com, iTunes, Netflix, Audible, and more.

Let’s dive into my library value calculator for October 2018:

Adult Books Borrowed – Qty 3 – Value of Use = $45.00

  • Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program For Fast & Sustained Weight Loss by Joel Fuhrman
  • 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You by Tony Reinke
  • 7 Secrets of the Newborn: Secrets and Happy Surprises of the First Year by Robert C. Hamilton

Movies Borrowed – Qty 4 – Value of Use = $16.00

  • Coco
  • Wonder
  • RBG
  • I Can Only Imagine

Magazines Borrowed – Qty 6 – Value of Use = $30.00

  • Money Magazine (x6)
    • It’s one of my new favorites

October 2018 Total Value of Use = $91.00
September 2018 Total Value of Use = $204.00
August 2018 Total Value of Use = $44.00
July 2018 Total Value of Use = $215.00
June 2018 Total Value of Use = $209.00
May 2018 Total Value of Use = $171.00
2018 Total Value of Use = $934.00

How much have you saved at the library this month? Feel free to share in the comments below. I’d also love to hear what item you checked out that was your favorite.

You can calculate your savings via the Metropolitan Library System’s Value Calculator.

Library Value Calculator – September 2018 – $204 Saved

This is the fifth in a series of monthly posts in which I will attempt to prove the awesomeness and supreme value of the Metropolitan Library System (MLS).

In January of 2016 my wife and I moved into a home less than a mile from one of the MLS branches that we now frequent. I also help run a job readiness internship for young adults, and I had an opportunity to help place one of my interns in a position at another branch in OKC just this past summer.

In addition to becoming a big fan of the library, I’ve long been a fan of the personal finance community. And I believe this could be a fun project over the course of the rest of 2018.

Estimated values below are based on a variety of outlets and vendors defined by the MLS, including but not limited to Amazon.com, iTunes, Netflix, Audible, and more.

Let’s dive into my library value calculator for September 2018:

Adult Books Borrowed – Qty 12 – Value of Use = $180.00

  • How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won’t Get From Your Financial Advisor by Ernie J. Zelinski
  • Give People Money: How a Universal Basic Income Would End Poverty, Revolutionize Work, and Remake the World by Annie Lowrey
  • Simple Green Meals: 100+ Plant-Powered Recipes To Thrive From the Inside Out by Jen Hansard
    • My wife loves to cook y’all, and I love when she cooks!
  • Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes From, How It Sabotages Our Lives by Pia Mellody
    • Suggested reading for a 5 day retreat at the Green Shoe Foundation I’ll be attending in October. They work to raise awareness of how past family roles and family systems reverberate in current relationships. In the immortal words of John Cochran, “Those who win Survivor are those who are most self aware”.
  • Lonely Planet’s Hawaii, 5th ed.
    • We’re having a baby in 2019, but 2020 maybe!?
  • Fodor’s Essential Hawaii, 1st ed. 
  • 1,107 Baby Names That Stand the Test of Time by Jennifer Griffin
  • Cool Irish Names for Babies by Pamela Redmond Satran
  • The Baby Names Almanac 2018 by Emily Larson
  • Christian Names: Baby Names Inspired by the Bible and the Saints by Martin H Manser
  • The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for your Baby by Laura Wattenberg
  • The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney
    • My wife said she wants to go, so research begins NOW.

Notes: We’re having a baby! Hence all the books about what do we name our child.

Movies Borrowed – Qty 1 – Value of Use = $4.00

  • The Miracle Season
    • Me and Holly’s good friend Ari just made the high school volleyball team this year, so this movie is a must watch.

CDs Borrowed – Qty 2 – Value of Use = $20.00

  • My Head Is An Animal by Of Monsters and Men
  • Glorywonder by Masaic MSC

Notes: Holly wanted to kick it old school in her car this month with a couple CDs. Have you heard Mosaic’s song Tremble? Good stuff.

September 2018 Total Value of Use = $204.00
August 2018 Total Value of Use = $44.00
July 2018 Total Value of Use = $215.00
June 2018 Total Value of Use = $209.00
May 2018 Total Value of Use = $171.00
2018 Total Value of Use = $843.00

How much have you saved at the library this month? Feel free to share in the comments below. I’d also love to hear what item you checked out that was your favorite.

You can calculate your savings via the Metropolitan Library System’s Value Calculator.