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The Evolution of the Yard Sale

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Leonardo da Vinci

Who doesn’t love the thrill of good bargain?  Who hasn’t bought something they don’t need, just because it was cheap?  I’m guilty!

As we whittle our life down to a suitcase per person however, we needed to get rid of our things at a price that would launch us into our new lifestyle as long term travelers.  We have serious camera equipment to buy!

Enter the idea for a Pop-Up Boutique.  It occurred to me that I had something to offer when women starting asking what I was doing with all my clothes.  Ever the entrepreneur, I ran down to the local thrift store, borrowed a few round racks,  bought some cocktail provisions and posted a message to Facebook.  Within the hour, the ladies arrived to find my outfits displayed with matching belts, shoes and jewelry, set to the soundtrack of my favorite Pandora station.  Most of these women were my friends, or at the very least friends of a friend, and they were excited to find a new treasure AND support our crazy adventure to sail across the ocean with a preschooler and a kindergartener.  Complimentary cocktails and good company a total bonus!

Tiffiney’s Pop-Up Boutique

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 I left my house in tact with art and housewares displayed, and people bought stuff right off the walls.  I sold everything from my bedding to my towels (both were super freakin’ cute I might add–I’m an Anthropologie junkie!) before the actual sale started on Saturday morning.

Traditional Yard Sale

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Saturday morning was like the Grand Finale.  Most of the furniture and big items were already gone thanks to my Facebook network. We made french pressed coffee and epic Bloody Mary’s.  People were so appreciative! One of our best shoppers posted this on his FB page and got 95 likes and 32 comments. Talk about grassroots marketing–people wanted the address!

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As the house continued to empty, we caught up with neighbors and friends while sharing our plans for the big move across the Atlantic this fall.  I felt so full of love and abundance, and truly grateful for this special place we call home.  It was like a giant house party, so when the traditional bargain bounty hunters started rolling through it felt strange.  It felt down right intrusive as a husband and wife duo in their matching State of Jefferson t-shirts, she still with hair rollers in, came barging through our house asking if this was it.  Another woman gave me the huffy, “Who does she think she is,” look when I had the audacity to tell her the $2 price tag,  on a previously $24 travel anthology, ironically titled The Kindness of Strangers.  Sorry lady, that’s one of my favorite books, and actually my husband put that out there by mistake–I would have packed it and save it in my sister’s basement you tight wad. Oh maybe that was the Bloody talking.

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So if I have any wisdom to share from this experience, I think next time I have a yard sale,  I’ll stick to this more dignified version and skip putting signs on the road open to the general public just looking for a cheap crap.  We are already a pretty minimalist family, so everything in our house is curated for our tastes.

With the exception of the sofa, I was able to get close to what I paid for all of my furniture.  Yay!  I’m from a total DIYer family, so most of my pieces I had found a little beat up and then refurbished.  This vanity is one such example.

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This vintage beauty was fought over on my facebook thread like a large breasted female in a rural mountain bar at closing time.  The winning bidder was a fellow writer who I know will put it to good use.

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I know many of you have gone through this process of selling everything and jumping off into the great unknown.  How did you do it? Ebay, thrift stores?  Were you able to monetize your things and pay off your debt?  Was it emotional?

I’d love to hear your stories below.

And thank you again to all our supporters! I hope you enjoy your new treasure as much as we did!

And just for fun here’s a photo of Diego doing one of his last dirty jobs as homeowner!  Freedom here we come!

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Tiffiney Lozano is the creator of the Mama Said Project and two crazy humans. She offers workshops for women craving connection with themselves and the world around them. After 18- months of continuous travel she and her family are finding adventure in the everyday from the comfort and beauty of their home in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Lake Tahoe.

6 Comments... add your own

  • phoebecapelle
    July 31, 2014, 9:37

    Brilliant idea! When we sold everything we threw together a traditional yard sale at the last minute and ended up saying goodbye to our worldly possessions for next to nothing, what was left went out to the bottom of our driveway with a big ‘free’ sign. We were so ready to be on our way that we didn’t plan very well, consequently we have no good camera equipment! I can’t wait to hear about your next steps, best of luck!

    • July 31, 2014, 9:53

      Hi Phoebe! It’s like a marathon, right?! I think because we’ve jumped out of our comfort zone so quickly- we’re kind of in a sprint stage. I’m not writing as much as I’d like- but I am getting our life to manageable size to travel : )
      Thanks for the encouragement!! It’s really important at this stage- families like you keep my hope alive!

  • July 31, 2014, 12:20

    Great post Tiffiney. We sold a lot of stuff online using the New Zealand equivalent of ebay (TradeMe). The Wii game console went to a 12 year old boy who knocked on my door with fists full of small change. Nearly $200 in coins! Adorable. His Dad said he has been saving up for months to buy it. You could tell this kid was proud of his achievement, and I really loved that I could help him out with it.

    • July 31, 2014, 1:57

      Awww! See those are the kinds of stories that warm my heart!
      I like to believe things hold energy. How cool is it that your fun memories with your Wii are now passed on a new generation of gamers who will leave their own mark on it!
      I have the film The Story of Stuff in my Netflix queue, waiting for my kids to sit still for 2 hours straight and my students to figure it out on their own already, so I can watch it! You know how finding two hours of leisure time is for a mother : )

      Thanks for sharing that story–so sweet!

  • July 31, 2014, 10:09

    Hi Sarah! Thanks for the kind words. Where are you traveling? I’m so inspired by stories of other traveler’s these days–it helps me get through all the drudgery steps between me and the kind of freedom I’m hustling right now! Do you have a blog we can follow??

  • nathansarah
    July 31, 2014, 10:02

    I had fun reading this post as it brought back memories of our sell off last year before hitting the road although I wish I’d thought of your brilliant idea for the clothing sale! I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to share more stories and memories as we’re less than a year ahead of you!

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