So I learned a lot this past weekend.  We did indeed have the DGS (dreaded garage sale).  We did indeed survive.  The last one that I was a part of was at my mom's house on the chilliest day of the year, a few years back.  I thought I was being sweet by making free coffee and offering free treats.  People did not care about my finely brewed Starbucks and scones.  They just wanted a bargain on the dollar jewelry.   They did not care that I made the garage sale "pretty" and a pleasant sensory experience.  I had incense burning, music playing and the robust smell of Cafe Verona in the "cafe" corner.  It should have been, by all accounts, a nice morning for all.     Nope..just wanted to give me a quarter for a $30.00 shirt and get the hell out of Leander.

Before that garage sale, the last one that Walt and I were a part of was in Nashville..maybe 10 years ago.  It was so traumatic that we swore up and down that we would never have or be a part of another.  The good that came out of that garage sale was I put on a bracelet that I had priced at,  oh let's say, $5.00.  I kind of liked it, so I decided to keep it.  When I wore it to work that week, a Native American jewelry expert was in the bar and admired my arm piece.  He asked to take a look at it.  When he gave it back, he said it was a lovely piece of raw turquoise that was probably worth $400.00.  Close one.

So when it came to having another sale,  we held our ground pretty well.   Then the in-laws moved.    I opened my mouth one innocent day and out slipped the words..garage sale.  The words floated out  like a cartoon bubble.  I could not grab it quick enough to make it go away.  There they were..happily drifting in the air..all the way to the other side of the table and right into my beautiful mother in law's head.   The look from my husband was priceless and quite scary.  Everything stopped.    That was it.  The race was on.  And so was the garage sale.

So 3 or 4 loads from the storage unit later, we were the all American family, ready to sell you some of our stuff.  Ah Stuff.  My favorite subject.   Actually,  I did a big clean a few weeks ago and gave away most of my stuff that had been accumulating.  So I was actually going to be selling other people's stuff. Which is a lot easier.  God forbid I have to bargain on a dress I wore at a few gigs  but could not wear it anymore because of Facebook photos and the dread of seeing myself in it 6+ times.   So gratefully our friend Dawn, my mom, our son and my in-laws had plenty to create an event.

We started Friday night.  Right when the sun was setting on a Texas day.  The heat was intense.  The shoppers were few.   One gal came over and bought all of the "good" stuff.  I was so happy for her, because I was thinking that she must have had a big family and needed all of these great bargains.  Oh Joy!!  We are giving back to the world.  Then Dawn informed me that she will probably go home and sell them for actual retail price on E Bay.  I then noticed that she drove off in a $40,000. jeep with the license plate that said "THXSCKER" on it.  Ok well maybe the plate did not say those exact words, but it sure felt that way.  But really, what did I care?  Was I going to take time and sell stuff on E Bay?  No.  Was I really sad when she bought them and I was in benevolent nirvana?  No.  So I decided that I would be detached from any garage sale transaction outcome.   Even when the 2 amazon ladies that looked like wrestlers switched the price on a winter coat.   $5.00 to $2.00.  Really?  C'mon people.  But I wasn't going to argue with Helga and Olga.   They were buff and shared one eyebrow.  Take the damn jacket.  No one is going to chase you.  Here is a free donut to go with it.   They probably were not going to sell it on E Bay.  Perhaps they were going to bring it to the children's home in Round Rock..as they drove off in their 2013 Hummer.

The majority of the people were sweet.  Families up early for Saturday adventure.  Grateful for shoes, clothes and garden tools.    When some ladies tried to bargain with my savvy mom, she would say stuff like, "These are brand new"..or "Only wore 1 time".  They did not care.  They just wanted 2  blouses for 2 dollars.  Plus, a minute ago, you were going to GIVE them away.  So that was fun to witness.

The cool thing about the day was that we were finished by 11:00 am.  Closed up shop, put the left over stuff in my car to bring to The Austin Harmony Project Thrift Store, and closed the garage door.  It wasn't a terrible experience like 10 years ago.  Mom made good money.  Dawn did too.  Luke made a few bucks and my in-laws discovered that a Garage Sale is not an Estate Sale.  Therefore leaving them to take back the oil paintings, crystal and the beautiful contributions from their home,  to the storage unit, until the next time I open my mouth..and say "Resale Shop".   We made a few bucks too.  Maybe a date will come from it.  I certainly owe that to Walt.  He worked really hard to balance stuff, feelings and family relations.

Here is what I came up with from weeks of preparation, days of setting up and 2 days of selling:

The Four Garage Sale Agreements:

1.  Do not take anything personally. 
Do not take it personally when it comes to people trying on clothes that you have held dear and you think is still worth what you paid for it 6 years ago or you thought made you look skinny in the family photo, when they offer you 50 cents.

2.  Detach yourself from  the outcome.
Detach yourself from any outcome of a sale.  Even when someone buys a box of glass tschotkes, drops them accidentally in the street and drives..no,  speeds off.  Even if they were really quite expensive and you gave them a sweet deal.  Even if your husband has to clean it up.  De-tach.

3. Do not make assumptions.
 Do not assume that every Hispanic person does not speak English and when one tries to speak to them and bargain in their native tongue,  the Hispanic person says, "Hey Dude..just tell me what you want for the bike"

4. Always do your best.
 Always do your best to get rid of things before your husband and son see that you are trying to sell something that they have not used in 8 years.  Then get mad and put it back in the same place you took it from.  And then are mad at you the rest of the weekend.  Always do your best to have the sale finished up before the morning baseball game is over.  Always do your best to hide the gifts that the in laws or your mother gave you that you never used and now have priced to sell.  Always do your best to hide the good shit until the people with the fancy cars leave..then put it out for the families that really could use it.

So good luck this Saturday or better yet, Friday eve, if you decide to purchase neon signs, create a fun way to point people in the direction of your home, pound them in strategic places and then have to do it again on Saturday at 6:30 am because someone took them down and replaced them with signs of their own..neon of course..pointing in the opposite direction.

Oh yeah and do not give away donuts.  Sell them for $49.95 each.  People love to eat.  Do have water to Sell.  Unless you are in Upstate NY and need to warm folks up to buy your stuff.  DO have Baily's on hand to soften the coffee (for personal use only) and to make people much more pleasant to work with.

Here's to 2023!

Monday, September 16  3:30pm


  1. Brilliant. Love the "Four Agreements". Hope you don't mind if I borrow your rendition of them. I had been debating about a new storage unit, furniture sale, or a trip to our version of the Austin Harmony Project, or to start one if we dont' have one. Thanks Tina. Thanks for sharing the stuff that goes through our heads and hearts...for making us laugh...at ourselves.

  2. The garage sale is just too painful for me. Your 4 agreements are so necessary to survive one. I try to avoid being involved in them at all. We just finished a multi month process helping my in-laws get rid of their house of 43 years and into a much smaller apartment community. Early on their was dreaded garage sale discussion. Ultimately we found an estate sale pro in Austin. We live in Houston. He was amazing. He told me what to expect (in terms of money) based on the house size and neighborhood. I was highly skeptical of his numbers as I don't view estate sale ads as anything other than a another garage sale. He was one the money with his prediction and worth the commission. I'd use him again and have already given his name to others. Thanks for all your words and music. I'm more familiar with Walt's incredible work than yours and try to make his shows when he passes my way or when we are lucky enough to be in the Austin/Hill Country.


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