Lessons Learned from the Breast Cancer 3 Day Garage Sale…

yard sale

In 2009 I made the really faulty decision to walk the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness 3 Day Walk. One walks 60 miles in 3 days and pledges to raise $ 2300 for breast cancer research. Many people walk in teams and I was no exception. I walked with 3 women who all wanted to support my dear friend, Kim, who was battling Stage IV breast cancer valiantly. While the walk was in early November, we were still approximately $ 2300 shy of the $ 9200 we needed to raise in order for all of us to walk.

We then made another faulty decision: to have a garage sale at my home in hot August. Did I mention that my garages are not air-conditioned??? I put up a Facebook event page and regularly let folks know the interesting items that were also regularly being deposited in our driveway each day.  We had so many clothing items that we eventually just made signs that said, “All clothing items $ 1.” We’d probably still be pricing items individually, if we hadn’t.

Tomorrow our little church is also endeavoring to raise money for good causes in our area by throwing a garage sale inside our church (where it IS air-conditioned). If you live in “my neck of the woods, ” do me a favor and drop by from 8 am to noon either today or Saturday, grab a few items you can’t live without, and help out some great children and people. Thanks! For those of us who have waged battle with “all things Garage Sale,” here’s what I penned in August of 2009:

  1. Start a year sooner. 
  2. Get another garage. Two double car garages aren’t enough.
  3. Sell all cars, Sea-doos, lawn mowers and lawn sweepers prior to garage sale.
  4. No matter how many times you sweep the floor of your spare garage, there will be grass clippings inside.
  5. You can make a merchandise display out of bricks, a skateboard ramp, sawhorses, a trailer, shoe bags, a dehumidifier, a microwave cart, a TV stand, and a TV.
  6. One rented round rack will hold 218 shirts.
  7. Unfortunately, you will need 3 round racks, 3 t-racks and 2 straight racks.
  8. Bags of clothes will multiply like rabbits and mysteriously show up on your doorstep before you leave for work at 8 am.
  9. To hang said bags of clothes, you will need 1 retired teacher hanging clothes for about 8 hours a day for 5 days.
  10. When she poops out, you will need 1 bank teller/teacher, 2 college students and 2 high school students to take over.
  11. Don’t show the retired teacher a newly discovered bag of clothes the night before a garage sale…she might pronounce it, well, you know, something I can’t say online.
  12. If the retired teacher won’t call it welllll….you know….something I can’t say online, the hubby will say worse.
  13. Someone other than Imelda Marcos can have over a 1000 pairs of shoes.
  14. To pick up a dryer, a mattress and box spring, a computer table and chair, an overstuffed chair, a dinette set, a desk, and a love seat, you will need the retired teacher, her husband, your husband’s colleague’s trailer, an aging Explorer, a Mercury sedan, a Ford Escape, your daughter, your son, the daughter’s boyfriend, a full tank of gas, a tarp, some tangled rope, some Boy Scout knots, 3 dollies, a peanut butter sandwich, a glass of milk and a trip to McDonald’s.
  15. You can completely outfit an apartment or dorm room from the “junk” in people’s homes in our little town…and nicely!
  16. Even if you say “No Early Sales”, there will be early sales. Just deal with it.
  17. Countrytime Pink Lemonade is not only festive…it’s downright tasty on a hot, Texas day.
  18. Don’t have a mega garage sale in Texas in August….let’s just say major farmer’s tan and the need for a lot of cool showers. (I think I physically wrung out my hair and shirt about 3 times per day.)
  19. Those new sneakers and fancy socks you bought for the 3 Day do not lessen your Aleve consumption at the end of the day.
  20. You can fit 2 mattress sets, 3 sofas, 4 tables, 15 chairs, 7 clothes racks, a TV stand, 2 desks, a laundry cart, and a lot of assorted miscellaneous all in our driveway. That is, unfortunately, only about 1/3 of what you have to sell.
  21. Hangers get thrown out a lot…but to those with 218 shirts on a round rack, they are more valuable than gold.
  22. There is a lot of humorous fodder for Sunday morning’s sermon to be found at a garage sale. See our pastor for more details.
  23. What you think will sell immediately will be what you have left at the end of the day. As a counselor, this may be a great topic for a dissertation some day.
  24. The surest way to get more shoppers is to consolidate all of your “remains” and make it impossible for your shoppers to get to all the leftovers in your garage.
  25. The only way to survive a hot August garage sale in Texas is to have a meal out, preferably not at McDonald’s.
  26. The Susan G. Komen organization is gravely mistaken about what is possible for fundraising purposes from 1 garage sale (They told us the max would be $ 1800…..so there!)
  27. Our little town takes care of its own.
  28. Our little town never fails to help those who aren’t their own.
  29. Facebook, a church newsletter, a church bulletin, an announcement at church, Craigslist and word-of-mouth are the cheapest, easiest and best ways to promote fundraising endeavors.
  30. The memories I have of this garage sale I took with me as I walked 60 miles in 3 days with 3 of the best ladies I know and then, forever after that. I was, and am, blessed.


The final amount raised? Drum roll, please….$ 2300 +!

Monday’s Post: Word of the Week time!

You might also like: Lessons Learned from Attending Women of Faith and Lessons Learned from Being the Rookie Parent

Share This Post
This entry was posted on Friday, October 4th, 2013 at 10:50 am and is filed under Lessons Learned. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

leave a comment