Approach Makes Difference Between Stress and Satisfaction – A Tale of Two Yard Sales

At the end of the day, one of the women felt frazzled and worn out while the other was pleased and exhilarated. But, they had both just done the same thing that day – held a garage sale. Why the big difference in how they felt? The approach we take in doing something makes a world of difference in the results, no matter what it is we are doing. By the way, this is also a great article if you do plan to have a garage sale.

It happened somewhere in America, in a city probably very much like yours. One Saturday, two families each had a garage sale. Although their wares were pretty much the same — the usual outgrown clothes, forgotten toys, and miscellaneous kitchen gadgets — the two families’ approaches to having their sales were totally different. In the end, one family made a good deal of money while the other family wondered what went wrong. Let’s look at why one sale was successful and one was not in this tale of two yard sales.

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Approach Makes Difference Between Stress and Satisfaction

Judy began preparing months in advance for her sale. As she went about her weekly cleaning, she looked for items her family no longer needed. Judy had special boxes in the garage for all their sale items. Fran and her family weren’t nearly as prepared. The evening before Fran’s sale was a frantic one, as she and her husband ran around trying to get organized.

In the week prior to her sale, Judy worked a few hours each day cleaning, organizing, and pricing her merchandise. She also borrowed folding tables from friends so she could neatly display her goods. Fran didn’t bother pricing her stuff or setting up tables. It was all she could do to get all her stuff out of the house, much less put price tags on everything.

Judy knew that yard sale shoppers want a bargain so she priced her items around 10-20% of retail. She also knew that yardsalers love to negotiate. Therefore, she priced her items a little higher than what she actually wanted to get so she’d have room for negotiation. Fran, on the other hand, had never been to a garage sale. She had no idea what to ask for her merchandise. She scared shoppers off with ridiculously high prices on some items while practically giving away other items she priced too low.

Judy’s sale was easy for shoppers to find. In addition to placing an ad in the newspaper, she and her kids posted several signs directing potential buyers to their sale. They even put balloons on their mailbox to make their sale easy to locate. Although Fran intended to put an ad in the paper, she never got around to it. The few signs she did put up — hurriedly scrawled on 8½ x 11″ pieces of construction paper — were so small they were of little use in helping shoppers find her sale.

Judy’s sale went smoothly. She had plenty of change on hand and enlisted her husband to help with taking money and answering questions. At the end of the day as she and her kids took down the last of their signs, Judy smiled because she had made enough money to re-paper her kitchen and treat her family to a day at the local amusement park. Fran’s sale was more like a circus than a yard sale. Because everything was so disorganized, Fran wasn’t exactly sure how much she made. Whatever it was, though, didn’t seem worth the stress and aggravation. At the end of the day, she shook her head and thought, “What people say about making a lot of money at yard sales must not be true.”

So, what’s the moral of this mythical tale? The keys to having a low-stress, high-profit garage sale are simple: preparation, preparation, preparation. The work you put into your sale on the front end will pay off in more sales and more money for you when your sale is over. By taking the time to do it right, you’ll be the one with a satisfied smile on your face at the end of your sale day.

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