People are often surprised by what I find Garage saling--and I am too! Last year, my rocker broke just before I had Eli. I knew we didn't have 300-400 to buy a new one. Autumn asked me that week, are you going to go find one at a garage sale on Saturday, Mommy? I said, well, we'll see. When I set out that Saturday morning, I prayed and asked God for a chair. In the course of the morning, I met a couple who felt they were done having children. I explained that my goal for the morning was to find a chair. The husband said they wanted to sell theirs. I ended up buying it for $45.
My rule of thumb is that at garage sales typically things cost 10% of what you would pay for them retail. I've tried this theory out many times and it's held true more times than not. And in this case $45 was 10% of the retail price of the chair. It was a huge blessing to us and still is to have found this chair. And I am so thankful for the Lord's graciousness in helping me find it. I still remember that morning as much because of the chair as because of the conversation that I got to have with the wife.
Last weekend, I went out garage saling with my good friend and garage sale partner. No kids, just us. Usually, we have all 3 kids with us and they're troopers. They have fun seeing what treasures we'll find. But, sometimes it's fun and much quicker to go without them.
Anyways, we had been rearranging our tv/adult reading room and I felt like we needed a chair for it, but I knew we didn't have the money in our budget to buy something expensive. So, I went garage saling and I found this Poang Chair from IKEA, a foot stool, 2 older poang chairs and 2 kids chairs for $27. Usually, I'm really able to fix things myself and so I saw them and thought I could. Little did I know how much I needed my friend for this one. I just saw potential. I didn't realize how dirty they were--they accepted $27 for a reason! So, my friend took them home and sprayed oxiclean all over them and then a few hours later used her carpet cleaner on the cushions. She knew all about them since she had several of the chairs and told me that you can't put the covers in the wash because they will shrink (even just going through the wash). I couldn't have fixed them without her! My job was to sand the arms and legs of the little chairs--I don't know what was so rough on them. But, I polyurethaned them and now I need to make some new simple covers for them. I saw online that lots of people do that anyways.
In the future, I will try and remember to look closer before I buy =) and really make sure that I can fix it. I do always look at DVDs before I buy them to make sure there aren't many scratches. There have been times when I've bought things and couldn't fix them. But, I've always tried to keep in mind with any purchase I make, I'm taking a chance that it won't work. And because of that, I hesitate to spend too much on one item.
Garage saling here runs from April-May (busiest months) through the beginning of October. Sometimes it's busy in September and sometimes not. Yesterday, I did go out in the morning and I found some clothes for Autumn and Sami and a princess sheet for Sami's bed that I know she's going to love, some homeschooling books, a nerf gun target dart board for my husband, a star globe, some Christmas towels and vinyl tablecloths (super handy for when the kids are doing crafts), a decorative clay tea pot, addition bingo, a box of yarn for homeschooling crafts, a little sticker Xyron machine, a cruet for our salad dressing and a black purse, the Little Tikes tool bench I had wanted for Eli, and a few other little things. I think I spent $16. It probably sounds like a lot of junk =) but it's amazing how much stuff is handy when you're homeschooling and raising 3 kids and a puppy! The Xyron was just for fun--I've always been curious about them. But, that's usually what my list sounds like after garage saling. A lot of random things that make our homeschooling a lot more fun. I discovered after I got home that I was looking over what Autumn's art lesson is this week, and I bought a book with rubbing plates that was exactly what I need! I didn't know it--it was such a fun little blessing to discover that!
God provides for all of us in so many different ways--and as one author I read said--she wasn't advocating that everyone garage sale or think of someone as not wise for not doing so--she realized that it was important that people buy things and then have garage sales so she could then buy them. =) But, it was right for her family. And I guess that made sense to me. For some people, it is easiest to buy in the stores. For some people, consignment stores and consignment sales (which are getting a lot more popular and frequent) are a great resource. And some, like me, love garage saling and finding treasures that can be recycled. And I guess that's another thing to talk about at another time--when it comes to hand me downs and garage saling--it feels good to me to know that I'm recycling and not consuming more resources of the world. =) So, those are my random thoughts this morning since I couldn't sleep!