homepage logo


Garage sales an attempt at getting rid of too much ‘stuff’

By Staff | May 1, 2010

I’ve never been a big fan of garage sales over the years.

Oh, I’ve gone to a few. And put on a few. But not for a long, long time.

On April 24, that all changed.

Not only did I go visit a few sales, I also put one on – for the first time in many, many years.

I was not alone. There were somewhere close to 100 garage sales going on in Blue Earth that day. I started to wonder if there would be enough people to go shopping at all these sales, since most of the local residents would be busy manning their own sale, and have no time to go “sale-ing” (as I have heard it referred to).

A garage sale takes a little work. There is the hauling of ‘stuff’ out of the attic, basement, garage and other storage areas to the assigned location of the sale.

Next, one has to mark everything with a price. Sounds simple enough, but it isn’t. Mark the item too high, it won’t sell, or so I was told. Mark it too low, I answered, and you don’t make anything on it.

Things were marked low at my sale. Several potential buyers commented on it. But, if you really want to get rid of it, it has to be low. Or so everyone says.

Somehow it is still tough for me to see some item I purchased for $50 have a 50 cent price tag on it. Worse yet, is having someone come in and ask if you would take a quarter for it. My answer to that is usually to say, “Just take it and keep your quarter.”

Saturday of the big sale dawned cloudy and gloomy, with rain falling. More rain was predicted for most of the day.

Fortunately, the weathermen were all wrong. By 10 a.m. the sun had come out and it actually was a beautiful day. That is when the shoppers showed up as well. From 10 a.m. to noon there was a steady flow of lookers. Some of the lookers turned into buyers.

We got rid of a lot of ‘stuff’ and made a few bucks.

A tour around town revealed similar stories at most of the garage sales. It was busy for the two hours before noon, then slowed down in the afternoon. Most of the garage sale proprietors reported sales were brisk. All of them added that while they got rid of a lot of the items at their sale, there was still a lot remaining.

That brings up the next question. What does one do with the remaining merchandise? Keep it for another sale? Give it away? Throw it away?

It reminds me of a woman I once knew who had a perpetual garage sale going on. Her garage was filled with items on shelves and on tables, all marked and ready to go. Whenever anyone in town had a sale, she opened her garage door and ‘voila’ – instant garage sale.

She did this for years. It was her business.

For most of us, however, the sale is an attempt to get rid of our extra ‘stuff.’ As one man in Blue Earth lamented, “I had a good sale, but I still have too much ‘stuff’ left.” That is a pretty true statement for most of us. We have too much ‘stuff.’

Father Leo Kapella of St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Blue Earth, and St. Mary’s in Winnebago, spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Blue Earth last week.

Father Leo grew up in a small village in India. There were only 60 small houses in the whole town, most of them the size of one of the garages holding a sale last Saturday.

There were seven children in Father Leo’s family, and the family didn’t have very much as far as material possessions, he says. In other words, they didn’t have much ‘stuff.’

I would doubt they would ever have the need to hold a garage sale.

His point was that he has been in awe of America since he came here.

Sure, he mentioned the friendliness of the midwesterners, the beautiful countryside and the forests, rivers and lakes.

But, his main point dealt not with the richness of the land, but the richness of the American citizens.

Plainly put, we have a lot of ‘stuff,’ Father Leo points out.

He says he hopes all of us get up every morning and thank God for all the blessings he has bestowed on each of us and the American people.

It seems a shame we can’t take this extra ‘stuff’ we all have and give it to someone who has none.

Then I wouldn’t have to worry about ever having a garage sale again.