Daniel has mentioned before that we are facilitating Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at our church this Summer. FPU definitely fires you up about your finances and your stuff. The first step in the Total Money Makeover is to put a baby emergency fund of $1000 in the bank. We also felt like God was telling to take care of our house by cleaning it up and fixing what we can afford to fix instead of just selling it. The logical conclusion of both these directives became: SELL ALL THE THINGS.
We aren’t really selling everything, but one of Dave Ramsey’s common sound bites is “sell so much stuff that the kids think they are next.” We really felt like we had already sold everything we could sell. We need the furniture that we do have. We began to look closer and ask ourselves: What do we really need? What are we truly interested in spending our time doing? What would we need as a traveling family? What would we pay to keep in storage if we did sell our house while we traveled? What kind of things would we need when we return to San Antonio?
Selling Stuff Through Craigslist
Daniel began posting random stuff on Craigslist. He sold two monitors, two antique signs, a dumbbell set, two bikes, a bike stand, and a table saw. He also sold an old gold necklace at a cash for gold place near his office. The total of those sales is $775. We were almost to our $1000 goal. We still haven’t finished selling other things like a working 1974 jukebox, piano, and an antique mantel clock.
This past Saturday Daniel and I held a garage sale. I gleefully cleared out cabinets, closets, toys, stuff from the back yard, and other random bits. The amount of stemware we had was astounding. It felt amazing to get rid of things I haven’t used in years.
We posted our sale to Craigslist, put up signs, turned on the radio, and set out all the stuff. Then the people began coming to shop. One person even came into our garage while Daniel was setting the signs at the front of our neighborhood!
I was pleased with the amount of traffic we had. One lady was super excited to buy a kitchen torch, because she had always wanted one. I sold an old dress to a young girl that planned on wearing it to her birthday dinner. Another lady had to touch my ponytail, because she didn’t believe that my hair was real. One guy stole a set of screwdrivers. A pregnant lady and her family scooped up baby items for her nursery. Another lady bought collectible Starbucks mugs to bring as a gift to a friend in North Carolina, because she was driving to North Carolina that day.
The Best Part of the Garage Sale
At about 11:00 a.m. we started slashing prices in a “Too Hot to Haggle” sale. Then at about 12:30 or 1:00 we posted to Craiglist that everything was Free and to please come take our garage sale leftovers. A few ladies walked up and didn’t know they we had just made everything free. It was so much fun to tell them, “Please, just take it!” One lady paid me with a hug. Another lady starting filling her car with a few items. One guy pulled up in a truck with his wife and two kids. They had come to take our gardening pots. He also took our gardening table and cinder blocks as well. He had just started redoing his backyard and could use everything we gave him.
An apartment manager down the road came and filled up her truck with kids clothes and household items for her residents to go through when she got back. Daniel had taken one trip to Goodwill to drop off a few things. Everything else was taken by random people who had read our free ad. Even if these folks resold our old stuff, it saved us a lot of hassle!
In the end we made $300 with our garage sale. We had already sold our biggest items through Craigslist, so I was pleased with that number. After two weeks of selling stuff we have met our first financial goal and have $1,075 in the baby emergency fund.
I can’t wait to sell more and keep working on Dave Ramsey’s Step 2: The Debt Snowball. I am also excited about re-organizing all the items we do need in my newly cleaned out cabinet space. It feels so great having fewer things to manage, sort, and organize. Daniel and I both feel like we gaining freedom to do what we want with our time by having less stuff to manage.