June 29, 2011

The Yard Sale

Earlier this month we shared that we are hoping to adopt, and put the request out for family & friends to donate and unused and unwanted items for a yard sale we were having to raise money to put toward this hope. We ended up realizing that we needed 2 yard sales (mostly because the notice was too short for some to be able to get items they wanted to donate to us, partly because we knew we would have things left over!). But here is the recap of the first, which we had during the community yard sale this past weekend.
I thought about selling yummy treats & drinks to earn a little extra, but ended up deciding that I wanted to give something to those who were blessing us with their purchase.

I also had a box of free items for people to take. I always like when they have those at sales. I also really like when the free box doesn't have any stipulations (like you can only take something if you buy something), and when it actually has some good things in it. So it not only held all of the things I didn't feel like I could charge a quarter for (I didn't want to deal with small change so nothing was priced less than $.25), but also a few things that were mine and I knew I could have charged for, but thought would be nice to include. To me, the free box is a picture of grace - freely given, with no payment necessary, and worth treasuring :)

Originally, to keep it low maintenance considering our time crunch (we had 2 days to get everything together after we returned home), I was going to do a "make an offer" sale. I ended up doing some research and realized those tend to be a little iffy as far as making money. So I decided to just have tables sorted by price "Everything for $1" and so on. But once I returned I did a little more research and discovered that not only do people tend to hate that, but it is often hard for you to remember what came from which table! So, at the last minute, I did what was recommended and put a price on everything! The nice thing was that it allowed me to sort by category (which is highly recommended). I ended up liking the layout much more than I think I would have. I was also grateful for all the little yellow stickers when I was overwhelmed with people ready to purchase and I needed to add things up quickly!
Even though the community yard sale was technically Saturday, traditionally there have been a lot open on Friday. So that's what we did. Unfortunately, for some reason (perhaps the rain?) there were only a handful open. The weather kept many of the buyers away, and the few hardcore people who came were generally in bad moods. Somehow, we still made over $100 that day! Saturday was MUCH better. The combination of sunshine and the MANY sales around the lake put everyone in a better mood. We were inundated with people from the second my garage door went up until around lunch time. The afternoon slowed down, and when I started having more and more people just want the free items, I decided to close up. But even then people were in great moods, and I loved the opportunity to meet neighbors and chat with the people coming through.
The most commented on setup at my sale. Almost a dozen women told me they were going to go home and do this with their jewelry! I'm convinced I sold so
much of the jewelry because of the display! And I was just looking for something inexpensive (free) and pretty!

The 2 days were full of surprises - the lady who told me she hates children (yet still bought a considerable amount to put toward the cause), the adorable old man who told his wife she needed to hurry because he still needed to catch a turtle for dinner, the 3 people who donated more than their purchase toward the cause (and yes, I cried each time), the man who only wanted my free box & free water, the wonderful woman who is a true "yard-saler" yet spent almost 45 minutes shopping and talking. I discovered that most people don't read signs (which I printed up special to communicate the cause) - and those who did had no clue where Uganda actually was, that people come to sales to haggle - and I had to be prepared to hold my ground, that I have truly no clue about what sells at a garage sale (some of the things I thought would go first I still have and some of the items I never thought would sell went the first morning!) and that people's generosity was far beyond my imagination.

Overall, it was a somewhat overwhelming experience. The donations that literally flooded in were an incredible help. We sold very little of our own things, and would never made near as much ($401 total - far more than I ever hoped for or even imagined!) if it hadn't been for the generosity of our friends and family. At this point, I have to mention my friend Catherine (who is not pictured because I promised I wouldn't). She is the one who first offered to donate items for the yard sale to help. When I texted her in distress because we found out that some money we were counting on was significantly less than we had originally been told, she started soliciting her family for additional items (and her amazing family responded in an overwhelming way). It was because of her encouraging that we even thought of asking other friends and family for donations. She helped sort & setup, and she kept me company during the sale. She was the driving force behind it all, this outcome wouldn't have happened without her, and I'm so grateful for her. I am also so grateful for everyone who responded with donations (and for those who have promised donations for the next sale). Words can never communicate my gratitude.
My favorite customers :)

With the twins, friends, family, and even strangers prayed when we were going through fertility treatments, during our pregnancy, and throughout our time in the hospital. I experienced the amazing blessing of being surrounded by love and prayers while waiting for my children, and of them being genuinely wanted & hoped for by more than just Lucas and me. It was an awesome experience and one I've always felt so blessed to have had. I often look forward to telling my children how many people prayed for them, hoped for them, and invested in them and their lives. This experience has been similar, but in an even more powerful way. Having people pour out their love for us and our future family in such a visible way was incredible. The response from people at the sale and people who have just offered donations (even just $5) truly touched my heart. I truly cannot wait to tell my someday child how many people helped bring their adoption about.
And in case you were wondering, our next sale will be August 27th. We are definitely still accepting donations, but please remember that we don't want your most prized treasures because you feel obligated to help. Every single one of the smallest items added up to contribute toward the cause! And thank you again to all those who have donated and will donate to the cause. Words can never fully communicate our gratitude.


Anonymous said...

I was just wondering how much you wanted for that little boy in the hat and the little girl in the pink dress? I will buy them!!! All is good so happy for a successful garage sale. You will lots of stories to tell you kids someday. Hugs from Nana

Kim said...

You aren't the first to ask how much for the cute kids, but their worth is beyond what anyone could afford :)

Anonymous said...

A trillion dollars wouldn't even begin to be a down payment!!! So happy that the garage sale went so well and so many people shared their love so deeply. Life is good!! It will come to be!! Love and prayers, Grandma

Anonymous said...

I Agree....they are so loved. XO NANA