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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ministering via Garage Sale

I spent the last couple of weeks getting ready for a garage sale, setting up for a garage sale, and selling the stuff.

I did it for a number of reasons.

  • We hadn't had one in ten years and we had a lot of stuff.

  • I didn't want to have to haul said stuff to a charity drop off.

  • I had too much stuff for charity pick up service.

  • I wanted to teach Young One about marketing, the reward for hard work, and the value of a clean closet.

You can positively affect people's lives at a garage sale. And the one most affected? Me.


My philosophy is that you're not going to make a ton of money at a garage sale and if you ever figured out just how much you made per hour you would never ever do it in the first place. Money can't be the motivator.

The motivator has to be that you're willing to put your stuff out for all your neighbors to gawk at and judge (and the brave ones will sort through it and purchase). The motivator has to be that you're willing to put out your collection of 1970s Tupperware and hold your head high knowing that someone just might need it, crave it, want it.

The motivator has to be that you're willing to part with your stuff, for very very little cash, so that people who really need it can benefit.

Many people stock their homes, clothe their families, find their tools, gadgets, and entertainment through garage sales. They have to.

I'm lucky in that I don't have to be a thrift store or garage sale shopper (even though I love to be). I could pay, gasp, full retail, if I wanted to.

But, I'm wandering.

What I'm getting at is that there is a certain amount of pride in purchasing something for your family, however little you pay for it. I've always felt the welfare system doesn't work because there is no requirement of expenditure on your part. Oh yes, you pay with your pride, but after a few generations, that goes out the window.

A hand up instead of a hand out has always been my motto.

Anyway, I could go on and on about my thoughts on welfare, but this isn't the time and the place.

I always price things extremely low at garage sales. Everything was priced a quarter at my sale, unless it was marked otherwise. And people went nuts. I even had a couple of people buy my garbage. Well, they bought what I thought was garbage.

I'm a pretty good reader of people. I had many people attend the sale, the first morning, they were lined up and down both sides of my street. I had the obligatory antique dealer, looking for a steal. I had Lookie Loos and hoarder wannabes. I had a few weirdos, including a dude with his wig sewn to his baseball cap (he liked to "doff" his hat at the ladies, revealing his shiny bald head). And then I had those that really needed and appreciated my cast offs.

When someone who seemed to really need what I had to sell, I always threw in a few freebies. I'm particularly partial to little kids. I watched several eyeing toys they seemed to know better than to ask for. I watched parents scrounging together for the few quarters from their pockets to pay for their treasures. And then I'd throw in a free toy, a snowsuit, a warm blanket for the one month old.

The smiles, the joy, and the appreciation. Well, that's what it's all about, isn't it?

I made quite a bit of money off the sale, but I made much more than that. I got a chance to minister to a lot of strangers. As D said, I made a lot of people happy. The junk hoarders, the antique dealers, and the needy. They all left with smiles. And I'm still here, holding them close to my heart.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE when we get so much more out of something than most people would. Every day there is SO MUCH that can be learned or taught just by talking (and listening) to people!!

    I'm glad you made a few bucks.
    But I'm happier that you had such a good day :)


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