Garage Sale Finds Make My Day But Leave Me in a Frugal Conundrum

There is so much to do to get ready for this move, and so much we still need.  It’s somewhat ironic that after spending lots of time and energy to get rid of things from my Dad’s house – like a microwave oven, a kitchen table, televisions and a patio set – what we most need to replace are the microwave oven, kitchen table, a television and a patio set.  I don’t feel the need to fill all the rooms, but there are some things we’d need and/or want right away.

My community’s annual garage sale was today, and since I decided not to participate as a seller that means I was free to be a shopper!  I love to go “garage saling”.  Son and I will get up early, go to Dunkin’ Donuts and make the  rounds.

We’ve not gone in awhile – part of my campaign to divest us from clutter instead of collecting more – so this was a treat.  Heck, this move has almost made it imperative that I hit the garage sales.  Snort.

Son and I were up and ready to go by 7:15 am.   I put a huge “FOR RENT” sign on our front door as we left (hey, you never know), armed with cash,  my cell phone and my huge Vera Bradley tote.  Son was armed  with a Hotwheels car.  Priorities…

There are 300 homes in my community, but only about 40 owners participate in a good year.  At 7:30 this morning I only saw a handful, but from experience I know that some people skip the professional garage-salers (or sleep off one too many Cosmopolitans) and set up as late as 10am.

In my first (of four) tours of the property I found someone offering a microwave oven for $25.  I was going to buy a new one, but after pricing them at the size we need I realized it was going to cost over $100 – something I was not doing. The oven being offered was white, it was clean, it was big enough.   The owner had never even removed the protective plastic covering over the keypad, making it seem in worse shape than it was.  I bargained down to $18, and the first thing I did when I got it home was remove the plastic covering.  The darn thing looks brand new! Cha-ching!

I needed to take Son to his Karate class, and after we returned I took another tour.  This  time I found a 19″ television that will be perfect for either Husband’s office or Son’s playroom.  They were asking $25 – I got it for $15 and they threw in a VCR for free.  Cha-ching!

On my third tour I picked up four DVD’s  – two Thomas the Train and two Spongebob Squarepants for $5.  That’s better than the usual going rate of $2-$3 per DVD, but I think I got the “cute kid” discount.  Whatever works!

On my fourth tour I came across a kitchen table and chairs that may work for us.  It’s  from Pier 1, made of Brazilian  wood and I could  probably get it for $150 or less.  Here is a very lousy photo showing some of it:

Garage Sale Table

It’s very rustic looking, and  it comes with 4 chairs.  The table is marked up a bit, but it is a great deal.

I didn’t buy it, but I did get the owner’s phone number.  Why not?

Well, I don’t love it.  I love this:


But THAT set will likely set us back $750 – $800.  But it does include the hutch and 6 chairs.

But I love it.  It’s so preeeeeeeeeeetty.  And well made!

I want to make a good decision, and sometimes that’s hard to do.

We may only be living in my Dad’s house for 2 years.  Do I spend an extra $600 for something I love, something that won’t  fit well into my townhouse (if we wind up moving back), or do I buy the inexpensive, not quite as nice rustic set?

That’s a good question.  What would you do?


Great Deals Lose Value When they Sit. And Sit. And Sit.

Clutter didn’t used to bother me, as I had room to store things. When I bought this house I was single and actually looked for ways to fill it up. As my family has expanded from one to two and now three there’s less and less room, less places for storage. And it was pretty full to begin with.

And so the clutter has started to bother me.

A lot.

So I had garage sales, and I sold things on Craigslist. I’ve culled the clutter, but there was still so much. Then last year I had an epiphany. Just because I like it doesn’t mean I need to keep it. That was a mind blower for me. So as that sunk in I had more garage sales, and sold more things on Craigslist.

But there’s still so much. Soooo much. Part of the reason for that is that I’ve always bought things when I found great deals, whether I could use them at the time or not. If it was something I thought I’d use I’d buy it. And I’ve kept doing that even as I was getting rid of other stuff. Husband complains that he organizes the garage and cleans stuff out and then I buy more things to put in it.

That, my friends, is why I still have so much clutter.

Part of the reason for that is the difficulty I have in letting go of things I’ve gotten deals on. I want to get what I paid or more, and if I don’t I let it sit. And sit. And sit.

I’m tired of all the sitting. And I realized something important: it has no value when it’s just sitting there, taking up space. I’d be better off paying more for something when I need it than getting a deal on it and carrying it from place to place, perhaps even forgetting that I have it.

So I’m going to do something that so goes against my grain. I’m going to give away things that have value. Even new things. I’m going to loaad up the car and make a nice donation to Women in Distress. I just know I’ll feel so much freer.

I’m not going to change completely. I’ll still buy gifts ahead of time, and things I know I’ll need within the next two months. And later, when I finally have a house, I’ll buy gift wrap after Christmas to save for the next year and Easter eggs for next year’s hunt. But not until then. I just don’t have the room, and I just don’t want the clutter.

I need a fresh start.

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