Tag Archives: garage sales

Hoarders vs. Thrifters

So for the past year or so I’ve been obsessed with A&E’s show Hoarders. Now, I realize that the main focus of the show is to address the problem situations that these people have come full on with and then showing how the specialists and professional organizers manage each situation, but there’s something that always bothers me about the show. Each episode a 1-800-GOT-JUNK truck pulls up (whom I’m sure has an exclusive contract with the show) and then the house in most episodes is purged of all it’s crap that has built up, then the stuff is hauled away to some undisclosed location. What I don’t understand is in the houses where there’s not poop smeared on the walls and where it’s just a lot of new/unused/volumes of stuff – why don’t they have a garage or estate sale?

About 50% of the episodes the underlying reason is that the people feel the need to hold on to their items due to financial constraints, fearing that  if they get rid of an item, that they’d need to spend the money to purchase a new one eventually. In the most recent episode the hoarder confided to the camera that she wanted to keep a pair of (in my opinion what looked to be shitty cheap K-mart lamps) “because they were a pair”. She went on to state that she “could go find a tacky lamp at a thrift store for cheap” but wanted to keep the ugly ones…because they were a pair. This pissed me off because of some peoples’ reputation of thrift stores is that there is nothing good in them. Which isn’t true of course, it’s people like that who have no imagination, no artistic inklings to realize that there is good stuff and not all stuff is even old or tacky in thrift stores. That very reason alone is what separates a hoarder from a thrifter. Thrifters can think on their feet, their savvy, they’re resourceful, they like stuff that just works.

What these folks don’t realize is that if they had a garage sale just once a year or every couple of years, it not only helps thin down all of your belongings but also can make you some serious cash. See my tips for having a garage sale post from a while back here. I know that this is a bit idealistic and that this might come off as insensitive. Most of the cases are people who have pretty harsh mental issues and it boils down to just needing to get the volume of stuff out of their premise. My mother’s garage sale alone made over $2000 (yes THREE zeros) last year! *I should note that her sale is usually combined with a neighbor or two and usually some friends decide to put some items on her sale as well. It’s win-win. The larger the sale the more people show up. Her garage sale has built up a reputation for being big – and having a great variety of good stuff. She has a garage sale twice a year in the spring and the fall. Come hell or high water – tons of people show up in droves.

Here’s my idea: Not too unlike a couple of shows on HGTV or Discovery, I wish (in the cases where it’s plausible) that they’d have the hoarders pick and choose what items they want to sell and then have massive garage sale. Simple as that, have a sale, then the crap that doesn’t sell – they donate or toss. Readers of this blog probably think I have items everywhere in my house, but I don’t. I mostly re-sell what I buy or it’s something I needed. I just think it’s a missed opportunity by the show to address cases where American consumerism has run rampant, and to show the viewing public a great way to help themselves by making some cash or even just taking a long hard look at what they purchase and accrue. My personal “I can re-sell this”  mentality was acquired from growing up and watching my mother turn our seemingly useless piles of junk that slowly built up every year into some serious cash. It’s what helps me maintain a fine balance of the stuff I buy. The show sometimes leaves me depressed and unfulfilled because I feel sorry for the folks that aren’t quick enough to realize that they can change their situation or because they were just never taught how to keep their stuff clean and tidy. It all boils down to parenting in some respect.

Always remember a favorite quote of mine: “he who dies with the most toys is still dead” right?

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10 Important Tips For Having A Garage Sale

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I’ll start by saying that these are just the 10 most important things to consider when having a yard sale. There’s a lot more to it that could go into a sale that I’m not going to cover here.  Discovering what works in your area and for you is half the fun of having a garage sale. Some things I’m not going to cover are placement of items, table formations, times and dates to have a sale, colors of signs, sale etiquette, schilling, etc. Those are less important and some are even tied to which part of the country you are in. In the north we mostly call them “rummage”, “yard”, or “garage” sales. Down south I’ve heard them referred to as “junk” sales or “porch sales”. With that said take a look at the list and message me or comment if you think I should expand the list of if you have anything important to add.

1. White masking tape – For properly labeling your wares. Makes it easier to peel off and stick into your log book (see #2). Mark the items a lil higher if you’re down South or just into haggling. If you want a quarter for it – mark it at .50 cents you dig? When someone purchases an item, peel off the tag and stick them onto the table to add them up and then into your logbook after the sale is completed. Another good tip is to tear off the tape into useable sizes and use the backside of an old cookie sheet. This way you can write on your tags before peeling them off and sticking them onto the item.

2. Notebook or sheets of paper – This is to make a central log book to add up and/or divide your sold items afterwords. This works especially well if you’re having a multiple person or family sale. My last sale I used a “Field Notes” brand booklet to keep my tape tags in. It worked marvelously.

3. Pens and a fat permanent marker – For pricing your masking tape bits and the marker is for making sale signs so people can find your sale. Sharpie is a good brand, or you can do what I do and stock up on fatty markers at the dollar store. It’s best to use a straightforward large thick black lettering for your signs as people will only have a couple seconds to see and read it if they’re driving.

4. Plenty of small change – Quarters and dollar bills especially. Some people pay with $20’s and even $50’s be prepared for it. Another tip is to try and not mark your items below a quarter and to mark them in 1/4 increments so you wont need pennies, nickels, or dimes. If you’re selling anything for under a quarter – it’s probably not worth selling in the first place. Some folks use a cash box, however I’ve never felt comfortable doing this as someone could just grab it and run with your cash. I prefer to keep all my change organized in my pockets or a small geeky fanny pack.

5. Bags – The plastic grocery store ones work best. I have about 300 saved up in a larger bag in my closet. These come in handy and encourages folks to come back or buy more. Also, its just a nice gesture too. Any bag plastic or paper or old shopping bags with handles will work. The plastic ones also work good for packaging items from bumping if the customer is buying something fragile.

6. Newspaper – This has multiple uses. You can either use it to read when your sale is winding down or slow, or it’s more useful to wrap and pack any breakables you may be selling for customers.

7. Tag Board/Cardboard/ FoamCore Board -This is for your signage. I personally think foamcore is the best choice but can run a lil pricey. FoamCore and tagboard is available at most Wal-Marts and Targets or any art supply store. It’s mostly waterproof and is extra sturdy if its a windy day. Also, don’t forget to buy or find wooden steaks or objects to attach to the signs. Most cities don’t like when folks hammer or staple signs to public telephone poles and try not to impede any sightways of traffic turns if your signs are on intersection corners. Another quick way to make effective signs is to adhere them to a box and place a heavy rock or item into the box (as picture below). NOTE: It’s VERY IMPORTANT to remember to TAKE DOWN YOUR SIGNS after your sale is completed, don’t be lazy. There is nothing more annoying than snaking through a neighborhood or backroads only to find that the sale was days ago or last month. Show some respect for the fellow junkers!

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8. Tables & chairs – You can use basically anything to place your wares on. Depending on the size of your sale you should probably make it look the best with folding “card” tables or picnic tables. Ask around, people have these and are usually willing to loan a couple of them out to you. Also, you’ll probably be sitting a lot during the slow times of your sale so it’s best to have a chair or two available.

9. Use Social Media and the Web – Tell all of your friends about your sale with some simple online tools you’re probably already using, such as Twitter, Facebook. All of these tools offer bulletin posting capabilities that can alert a good number of people in a very short time. The most effective method (for me at least) is to also list your sale a day or two before on Craigslist. Keep in mind that when you say you’re opening at 8am – you should open at 8am. Some junkers do it for a living or for side cash and take it very seriously. So be prepared.

10. Invite a buddy and have fun! – Not only will a buddy help with patron conversation and theft deterrents but they will help pass the time and allow you to go take a bathroom break without having to close up shop for a few mins. Having a garage sale can be a lot of work, but can garner you a lot of quick cash, more space in your dwelling and allows you to interact and meet a lot of people that live near you. So, when is your next sale?

** Bonus Tip – This one comes in from my mother (whom is the flagship source of garage sale knowledge). Its best to have a a radio playing softly in the background of your sale, supposedly it makes the whole perusing atmosphere a lot more open and welcoming. Makes sense, thanks mom!

5 Stores, 4 Weeks, 50 Photos. This Is How We Summer Thrift Shop.

Here it is, my haul from the past few weeks. Basically gonna be one of my biggest summer hauls of all time. Too many things to elaborate intensely on. One vintage item I always seem to find (and buy) are those old video cameras, so cool, so sleek & sexy. Check out the pics below for more angles. Stay tuned for some more actual video posts coming soon. It’s hard to pin folks down in the Summer season but WE WILL SOON DELIVER MORE VIDEO GOODNESS.

ALSO, I should mention that we’re on Twitter now. Follow on our thrift store and yard sale adventures @THINGSIFOUND – Thanks!

So many incredible books, informational science books, vintage children’s books, classic MN magazines with some pretty stellar ads in them. No book was more than $2.00. Graphic design folks out there know how giddy we get when we discover an old magazine or book with killer visuals in it.

Dug up a neat old picture frame ($1.99), some old LP’s ($.50 ea) Conway Twitty is the man. That “I see the want to in your eyes” track is an all-time fav, no lie. He’s such a cocky bastard, it must be the hair. Oh and don’t forget that old beer/wine mirrored sign which I will eBay soon grabbed it for ($3.99).

Also grabbed some old artsy & stationary stuff: a stack of Utrecht tracing paper ($1.49), a ream of black construction paper ($.99), an old trusty Speedball pen and ink set ($1.99), some block printing ink($.49), check out that foldout pen tip poster that came with it. Found a set of  Testors enamels – I’m gonna possibly try to enhance my old 63′ Schwinn Typhoon with some detailing.

In the random category we found some more really beautiful jars for terrariums ($.99 ea) – now that the moss is in full swing. ANOTHER game of Rummikub for a friend of mine ($2.99), if you’ve never played Rummikub you really should, its addicting and fun as hell. Spotted another Glasbake mug, this one should make Glasbake guru Mr. Andy Kiekhafer pretty jealous. If you missed our video post on Glasbake check it out here.

I’M NOT ABOVE ACCESSORIZING. Yea so what I bought some pants and a couple great hand tooled belts, they’re hard to come by. The punker kid in me still loves dark gray wool pants. I live in the Midwest they go with everything and make me yearn for Fall weather. It’s rare to find some designer ones in my size and that don’t have those stupid pleats. The belts were a couple bucks each and the pants were $2.

That Minnesota magazine with all the vintage ads, that Herman Miller book find and that Oregon state plate was purely to make Aaron Draplin jealous. That’s my 4th Oregon plate find and not a fucking clue what I’m gonna do with them all. Rumor has it he’s about to embark on the WORLD’S LONGEST YARD SALE in early August. Shit that sounds like a good time, godspeed sir.

Summer is a great time to check out the yard sales and dodge the heat in the thrift stores. I suggest you get in there and if you’re traveling try to seek out some thrift shops that are off the beaten path, there’s tons of treasures to be found out there.

THRIFT STORES… OF DOOM

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Take a glance at this Karl Rove-esque fear mongering article here.

How many people out there (whom do not have kids) will actually think twice about having a garage sale or buying an item from a thrift store that could be from pre-1985? My guess is not too many, and I sure won’t think twice. A more fitting question would be what type of jackass uniforms would the TSGSTF of “Thrift Store & Garage Sale Task Force” wear? Thoughts?

About a blog.

Hello everybody, this is my first post for a very simple idea I have – THINGS I FOUND (at the thrift store). I’m a quasi-minimalist/utilitarian and don’t buy many things in general. Let me make it clear that this blog is in no way a homage to consumerism or the purchasing of shit we don’t necessarily need. Thrifting, I believe is a wonderful way to give an item a second chance.

I am a 26 year old bachelor whom lives in a 2-bedroom apartment in lovely Minneapolis, MN. My roommate is a handsome lil fellow – a cat named Wynstynnn “Rudyhuxtable” Peddycoart. I tell you this because my age and living situation lends me to occasionally purchase needed things for living and utilitarian decor. This is a visual documentation of the things I find and buy – enjoy!