November 12, 2012

weekend garage sale warrior

After my highly unsuccessful craft show last week, I needed a way to supplement my income in a low-risk way. Also, since I'm moving to Canada in a couple of months, I needed to get rid of some bulky items that I'd rather not have to deal with on moving day. 

So, naturally, I had a yard sale.

The contrast of a yard sale to a craft show is astounding - there's no booth fee to set up shop, not greasy lunches from food trucks, and you don't have to drive anywhere. I only had to put up ads on Craigslist, put signs out in the neighborhood, and let the people come to me.

Of course we (my parents and I) still did a lot of physical labor, but once everything was set up we were able turn on the radio, sit down with our coffee and enjoy making money from the comfort of our driveway. We utilized our craft show tent for shade and also put items for sale in the crates that my dad built for my candle display. We truly used lemons to make lemonade.

Aww... childhood memories.
I have prior yard sale experience so I knew that people were looking for cheap. They're not driving up to a stranger's houses to drop $100 on an antique vase - they want the antique vase but they want it for about 5 bucks. I've had people nickle & dime me over a dollar. So I kept prices really low, making a $1 table, a 50 cent table, and then the higher end table full of crystal stemware and other fine dining goodies (which no one touched).

Case in point: there was a crocheted hat that my mom had since she was a teenager. It was a sweet newsboy cap, very cute. I was even thinking of selling it on Etsy for $10 - $15. But then an elderly gentleman tried it on his bald head and fell in love. His cheapo wife told me, "A dollar is too expensive for this." She wanted it for 50 cents. I told her no, sorry, the price is $1 and she paid me anyway but with a frown on her face. Come on.

This is what they drive miles to see - the $1 table.

The good crystal was too rich for their blood; none of it sold.

People wanted the crates more than what was in them.
One lady literally begged us to sell her one.

In the end I made a couple hundred dollars and so did my parents, which makes our yard sale infinitely more successful than our last craft show. And, better yet, much less time went into it since I wasn't slaving over a hot stove mixing batches of candles.

Next up on the self-employment schedule: a holiday bazaar at a local gymnasium on December 1. It's kind of far away (3 weekends) but Thanksgiving weekend falls in between so it's okay; I'll find ways to keep busy.

Funny thing is, since I quit my job last month, I've had less me-time than before, if any at all. I've been so busy prepping for craft shows and the yard sale, antiquing for my website, photographing items, listing items, and then packing & shipping them that I haven't been able to read a new book or use these calming bath salts that I bought a week & a half ago.

Being self-employed isn't as easy as it sounds! But I'm not complaining. Everything is a learning experience.


  1. Looks like you had lots of good stuff for sale. Yard sales are hard, you don't want to be the one that's trying to make a profit off everything but you need to make some money!

  2. I found this site when I googled "can I make a living working craft shows?" I couldn't possibly love your blog more. You can do this!

    1. Thank you for the encouragement & kind words! Tomorrow is another craft show and after my last horrific one, I'm nervous! But I'll post a blog and let you know how it goes ;)


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