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I’ve Created a Garage Sale Monster!


I decided a little bit ago that I am going to have a huge garage sale this summer. The problem with doing that is that it is a lot of work. My son is 5 and I figured I would let him help Momma. I had no idea how much he would enjoy it!

Sunday we started going through all of his toys and books. There were toys that I thought he should keep but he wanted to sell them. In all, he’s probably only keeping a tenth of his toys. He really surprised me with how much he wanted to sell.

Today while I was working, he came into my office and asked if he could price a few items that we didn’t get to yesterday. I showed him how to write the price on the masking tape and how to cut it and let him have at it.

He decided he wanted to sell his Tonka road grader. I was surprised at that because he loves his trucks, but I let him price it…$30.00. Mom will change it before the sale, because no one would pay that much for something that cost $15.00 new. I can’t blame him for thinking big!

That went out the window, though, when he told me what he’s selling his train set for. It’s a Geotrax set that mom and dad went WAY overboard with buying additional pieces. In all, I have never seen a set of this size on eBay and it has well over 300 pieces. When put together it takes up an entire room. It’s insane. Anyways, he said he was going to sell it for 99 cents. We’ll have to work a little bit on his pricing skills πŸ™‚

After I got off work, one of the first things out of his mouth was, “You ready Mom for more garage sale stuff?” I think I created a little garage sale monster! It’s a good thing, though, because he’s helping to keep me focused with doing a little bit every day and it’s giving us a chance to discuss a few things related to finance. A key point…we bought way more than we needed to.


  • Reply ladydoughgirl |

    Hi Tricia,
    Great story. I think it’s good for kids to get used to not being too attached to things but to also realize that they cost money. Sounds like it was a good learning experience for your son. I think a garage sale is very exciting for anyone — as my husband says “we’re getting paid for other people to come and collect things that we don’t need anymore.” I bet your son will be thrilled when people start buying his items.

  • Reply Kristina |

    What a great lesson for us adults! Children certainly don’t need the majority of stuff adults buy them – especially train sets that take up an entire room! And while parents pretend that we buy this stuff for the sake of our children, in fact we buy most of it for ourselves (to make ourselves feel better or less guilty, for example).

    Will your son get to keep some of the proceeds from his stuff that sells? If you are letting him keep some, it’s a good chance to teach lessons. He can choose a charity to give a certain percentage to, he can spend a little bit of it, and he can save the rest for a goal in the future (like college!).

    I hope this garage sale lets you put a big dent in the rest of the credit card debt!

  • Reply Ginny |

    Great post! That train set sounds great, my youngest daughter loves those. We only have a few sets though. You actually might want to get that up on ebay vs. the garage sale. Probably make a bit more of your money back, I know how expensive those can be. That is great he is getting rid of his stuff so easily. Cute how he prices things, helps you to know what he does value. I can usually get my kids to fill about a shoe box worth of there stuff, lol.

  • Reply Nick in Iraq |

    Best of luck with your garage sale! Before I left for Iraq, I had a huge sale and got rid of a lot of junk. It also put a big dent in my debt. Anything that didn’t sell got taken to Goodwill. It made packing up my house so much easier.

    I’m sure you will be happier without all that clutter, too.

  • Reply Dave |

    If you don’t live in a spot with _a lot_ of traffic, I’d recommend moving your garage sale to one of those big combined garage sales/flea markets. It’ll be a lot easier to move the smaller stuff that the serious garage sale hunters aren’t interested in.

  • Reply Matt |

    While it’s very good that your son wants to resell many of his toys, I’d just warn you to make sure that he really will never want to play with them again. I’m pretty sure that when I was 5, (heck, even when I was 10) I still hadn’t developed all of the brain capacity to fully understand that when I was getting rid of a toy, it was gone *for good*. By all means, get rid of the ones he won’t use, but don’t go overboard getting rid of everything just for the extra cash. It’s much cheaper to keep something you already have than to sell it and then buy it again if he wants it again.

    I totally agree with helping him price things; knowing and understanding the monetary value (and possible depreciation) of things is a big key to understanding any overall money picture. Good job with that.

  • Reply debtmom |

    Very cool, my two are still too young to realize, but I have often though of boxing up the Geotrax and selling them, along with all the Thomas stuff!

    I hope you get a decent chunk to throw on those cards!

  • Reply Tricia |

    A few notes to add:

    My son will get to keep some of the money from selling his things. I’m also looking into a way he can sell some things himself (I’m thinking of making grab bags with his little toys). He realizes that he will make money to put in his piggy bank.

    As for getting rid of nearly everything…don’t worry. Mom and Dad went overboard with most things (like Geotrax, Little People, Tonka). Even with keeping a tenth of his toys, he has plenty left.

  • Reply Jim ~ mydebtblog.com |

    Sure it’s great to teach kids not to get attached to things at a young age, but what if he asks about it later? He is young enough to understand he doesn’t need all these things right now, which is fine, but getting rid of nearly everything will result in having to go get other things. I remember my mom not buying me something because I already had a bunch of stuff I probably forgot about. Those things seem new all over again at that age.

    I think it would be sad if your son looks back negatively on his childhood that he sold off his toys in order to get you out of debt. Its great he is helping out but make sure he understands what is happening so he doesn’t ask you later where something went. Good luck on the garage sale though, mine was a bust due to the rain.

  • Reply AJ - IAmFacingMillions.com |

    That so reminds me of myself when I was young.

    The catch for me wasn’t so much pricing the first go round. It was when I made say $15 – 20 after the first garage sale. Considering my allowance at that time was like $0.50/wk or something similar, I wanted to have a garage sale every weekend. I was ready to sell everything I owned.

    And so began my entrepreneurial spirit πŸ™‚

  • Reply Sylvia |

    Hello, I think garage sales are cool to go to. I was hooked on going to Garage sales every week. To have a Garage sale is hard work. Also, putting the ad in the paper is expensive. The paper charges $21.95 for two days. One time, I just about broke even to get my money back. The second sale, my sis and I went half on the ad expense. (She made more money then I did because she had kids’ clothes and little extras). I did pretty good. You have to watch out for stickie fingered people who love to steal. I rather donate the items to Goodwill.

So, what do you think ?