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House and Home, Minimalism

Simplified Mom #3

“Give more things away. Your life will feel lighter, your heart will feel warmer and the world will be better.” 

This quote perfectly symbolizes what has been going on in my life. I have been struggling to get rid of things, not because it’s hard to part ways with our stuff, but because the task of digging through things is not an easy task. At the same time I have been trying to find a way to help our country at this difficult time. All of these disasters and tragedies keep happening around us and for some reason I just couldn’t find a way that I could help. I wanted so badly to volunteer and travel to help people but with two kids that is virtually impossible. 

All over California there were fires. Our beautiful state was burning and there wasn’t much anyone could do. The fires in Napa and  Sonoma were the closest to home for me. 

My husband and I went to Sonoma State University and lived there for a several years. The area was so incredibly close to our hearts. Many friends and family still live there. I never watch the news with my kids, but during this time I just stared at the TV and watched the devastation. I cried and cried for those that lost their homes, their belongings and their loved ones. How can I help? I asked myself this so many times.

It hit me, I’ll have a garage sale and I could donate all the money to them. I quickly reached out on social media, “Anyone want to have a garage sale with me to support the fire victims?” The response was overwhelming. My community was ready to band together and help as much as they could.

Then came the hard work. Creating a community garage sale that was efficient and made lots of money to donate. I found myself overwhelmed at times, but I reminded myself day in and day out that it didn’t matter how much we made but that our hearts were in it.

These are the steps to having a successful garage sale. Whether you have a personal garage sale at your home or a community wide rummage sale like I did.

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    Details  The location, the date, the times. This has to happen first. You need to organize all the details so you know what size of sale you are looking at. For me it was finding a space big enough. It ended up being at our local community center which was perfect. It was suppose to rain the weekend of the sale so we needed an indoor location with tables. Other details you will want to figure out beforehand are where you are going to donate the money.  Those interested in participating or volunteering will want to know from the beginning where their time and money is going and who it is going to benefit.
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    Advertisement  Advertise everywhere!!! I used Canva to create flyers that I could hand out and post on social media. I created a couple different ones. I also distributed the flyers at local schools. Because this was a fundraiser many schools and companies were willing to help. Our local printing company donated the copies. I reached out to community leaders and asked them to post to their pages as well.  
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    Organize  I cleaned out my house and had piles in my garage. I sorted out all the clothes by mens, womens, kids and then the kitchen items and toys. I felt like I had the perfect little system in my garage. Then people started to drop off donations, which turned into even larger piles in my tiny garage. I sorted through these bags quickly and hung up the nicer clothing items like jackets and dresses. I made sure each category had its own space so it would be easy to lay things out on the day of the garage sale. I also sorted out things that were of poor quality, stained or ruined and took those to goodwill. 
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    Delegate  This was hard for me because I hate asking people to do things but it was necessary. I had a wonderful local mom offer to help me with everything and that was a blessing. I had another mom offer to throw a bake sale at the event. I had her organize baked good donations and set up for that portion of the garage sale. I had someone hang big posters around town and others come the morning of to setup. If you're  having a personal garage sale this all falls in your lap, but if you are doing a fundraiser it is a lot easer to find others to help. 
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    Resources  Where will I keep the money? Cash Drawer? Servers apron? What will I need readily available at the sale for shoppers? Extra bags, extra cash for change, tape, paper, chairs and tables! Have these things ready a few days before. Set up the location or space the night before if you can so you can lay the items out easily in the morning and then focus on the shoppers.
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    Setup  This one is so important. I am so lucky that the mom helping me had garage sales before. She quickly set the tables up around the room and down the middle so people had room to browse up and down. The items were set on certain tables. There were areas inside and out. We also had bags available near the clothes so you could “fill a bag for $.”  We found that helps us get rid of things quickly. There was a rack that we had dresses and coats for people to easily look through. We had an area set aside for people that brought donations on the day of the sale so we could quickly sort through them and put them out on the tables. We had a large poster that listed the prices and details. Make sure your set up is convenient to the shopper. One thing I wish we had was an area with a mirror to try on clothes. 

Our garage sale was so unbelievably successful. I never imagined we would raise so much money nor did I realize all the incredible people I would meet along the way. I am proud of the community I live in and excited to raise my kids here. The best part was handing over the money and knowing it would make an impact on their community.  

After our successful garage sale we decided this needed to become a yearly thing. It became an important part of our Thanksgiving celebration list. We now will have a yearly garage sale around this time to give back. All the money will be donated and we will clean out our things along the way. I couldn’t imagine a better lesson for our kids and a better way to give back to those in need.

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