You may or may not know this, but I am sort of a yardsale queen. Not in a tacky, she-needs-to-be-on-Hoarders way, but in the sense that I like going to yardsales, I make a point to do so rather often, and I can usually get some pretty sweet deals. Nothing gives me greater joy (okay, something probably does, but I like to speak in hyperbole) than to have someone compliment my shirt/shoes/decor/jewelry and to be able to respond with "thanks, I found it at a yardsale!"But this is all mostly irrelevant today, because today we're not talking about shopping at yardsales. Today we're going to be discussing the proper etiquette to utilize when donating items to a yardsale. Specifically a church yardsale. Like the one I'm helping organize for this weekend.
My church (Athens Vineyard, what's up!) actually had a yardsale last month, too. And Matt and I helped plan/organize/run that one, too. And now we're doing it again tomorrow...so that means we've spent a good chunk of time over the last month being up to our ears in stuff people donated. And that makes me the resident expert on Yardsale Donation Etiquette. Is there already a book somewhere published about this topic? Because there might need to be. And may as well be me that writes it. So we'll call this my first draft of my soon-to-be bestselling book, mkay? A book that apparently the WHOLE WORLD needs to read, because YALL. People make some BAD CHOICES when it comes to selecting things to donate to a church yardsale!!! So let's jump right in, shall we?
Rule #1: Don't donate crap.
I mean that in every sense of the word. This is a YARD SALE. Not a dumpster. Why on earth would you think someone might want to buy your used food containers with crumbs still in them? Your empty perfume bottles? Your melted-down candles? Your used and well-worn undergarments (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO VERY LARGE MENS WHITEY TIGHTIES AND SKETCHY LINGERIE!!!!!!!!)?? NO ONE wants those things, so please dispose of them in your own trashcan at home and don't make me do it for you. Also, those tiny soaps and shampoos you collected for free from the Holiday Inn back in 1993? Don't want those either, but thanks.
Rule #2: We will not be having a curtained-off section with a sign that says "18 and older only" with a bouncer checking IDs next to it; therefore, don't donate things that would belong in that section.
OH. MY. GOSH. Do you catch my drift here?? (Note: we received many donations from the community-at-large...not just families in the church...so I will definitely assume these donations did not come from anyone I know...) Your smut novels with NC-17-rated cover 'artwork'?? I don't want it!! I'm pretty anti-censorship, but for real now. There is no way we can sell that IN A CHURCH YARDSALE!!! Your equally special DVDs? For REAL??!?! Did you THINK before you threw all that in a bag and gave it TO A CHURCH??! Honestly. Just don't. Because then we have to throw it in the trash, and I feel bad about not recycling it and all, but I also can't just throw it in the recycling bin where people also might see it. UGH!
Rule #3: Put a label on it.
On your bag of random metal pieces and connectors-- just jot down on a post-it "Makes a Robot" and then we are a lot more likely to try to sell it. On your sheets-- "Queen Size" will save us a lot of trouble and guesswork. On your lovely crocheted...thing...--"toilet paper cover" would help. Please understand that the volunteers sorting through this mountain of
Rule #4: Nobody wants your personal mementos.
While your completely-used-up address book is tempting, and I would love to add all of your contacts to my Christmas card list...um, no. Why would you donate that? Ditto goes to your photo albums, calendars, scrapbooks, used up spiral notebooks...just...NO!
Rule #5: Don't donate things that are illegal to possess/sell.
Do you think I'm making things up? Because I'm NOT! I'm really sorry that your stolen 15 mph speed limit sign no longer goes with your decor, but we can't sell that!! We don't even want to have it in our possession!! But what the heck are we supposed to do with it now?!
Rule #6: Make at least a halfhearted attempt to clean things.
Two exhibits from last month's sale: Exhibit A: A cat litter box. The kind with the 'shelter' thing over the pan? I was totally disgusted, but at least the thing was clean. That thing actually sold really quickly. Apparently we priced it to sell. ;) Exhibit B: A hamster cage set thing. Complete with old cedar chips and hamster doodoo. Surprisingly, NO ONE WANTS YOUR OLD HAMSTER POO.
Rule #7: Donate things that are really hilarious.
Find something hilarious in your house? Share the love! This might be some kind of exception to rule #1...but if your crap is FUNNY, then most likely it will be appreciated (even if it's subsequently thrown away) by the yardsale volunteers. We're not only in this for the money, you know. We enjoy the hours spent in the company of our fellow volunteers, laughing hysterically at the random things that turn up in our donation room.
This book was a particular favorite from our last sale. Did it sell? Nope. Did it put an endless amount of joy in our hearts as we laughed at the cover and read excerpts out loud? Yes, yes it did. Another favorite was someone's extensive collection of ceramic cat knick-knacks. There must have been 100 cats...cats for your coffee table, cats for the top of your doorframe, cats for your bathroom, CATS FOR EVERYTHING! We could only smile as we imagined those cats gracing someone's house...it was delightful! (Also, I spent some time scouring Pinterest to discern whether Cat Decor might be coming back into style anytime soon...because I could be ALL OVER THAT.) (It's not, that I can tell. Boo.)
Rule #8: Don't donate underwear.
I know we covered this already, but I really cannot overstress the importance of this. REALLY, JUST DON'T. You just have to come to terms with the fact that when your underwear are too worn out/stretched out/blown out for YOU to wear, they're too bad for anyone else to wear, also. Put them in the trash can and walk away. Don't make ME touch them first. UGH! EW! Used underwear!!! Ew!!!!!
Well, that's all the rules I can think of for now. If you have any others in mind, feel free to leave them in the comments and then I can list you as a contributing author in my book. (Fame!! Fortune!!) And if you're ever about to make a donation and find yourself wondering is this appropriate to donate? then the answer is probably NO, but feel free to shoot me an email anyway and I will let you know. I'm kinda an expert at this thing by now. And I promise to be honest...and only make fun of you a little bit.
Happy Weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you're in the Athens area, stop by our yardsale tomorrow 8-12 at the church! Although we've already umm... 'edited' the selection quite a bit, there are still some great deals and hilarious items to be had!