a carriage house flashback.

As it’s starting to feel like spring might be just around the corner … well, maybe not this week, but soon … I have been thinking about yard sales.  Are we going to be able to have any this year?  How long before people feel like they can be out and about, mingling with other shoppers again?  I suffer through garage sale withdrawal every winter, but usually about now I’m planning which spring neighborhood sales I’m going to make it to this year.

I guess we just have to accept the uncertainty for now, not knowing when we’ll be able to get our yard sale fix.

In the meantime, I thought we could all take a walk down memory lane and visit some of my previous Carriage House sales.

If you’re a little bit new to my blog, you may not be familiar with my former sales.  Up until 2016 my friend/co-worker/picker/garage sale mentor Sue and I used to hold occasional sales out of my carriage house.

I started keeping records in 2002, but we started the sales even earlier than that.  Originally it was nothing more than a slightly upscale garage sale.  But over time it grew bigger and better.

Usually we did a spring sale and a fall sale, but some years we just had one sale.

One thing I did find with this style of sale is that the furniture didn’t sell terribly well.  Furniture doesn’t tend to be an impulse buy, something you can purchase on a whim and know you’ll find a spot for.

We had much better luck selling the smaller items.

Genuine vintage items were always a hit …

including vintage linens.

Plus, the linens were always fun to display …

We even sold the occasional vintage handbag or dress.

Our final sale was chock full of amazing stuff.

We often had a table of baked goods at the sale.

In case you’re wondering, no, I was never the baker.  We had various bakers over the years.

At the fall sale we always had a section of vintage Christmas items.  They were rather hit or miss.  People aren’t usually thinking ahead to Christmas quite yet in late September.

One of the biggest problems with the sale was that we had really outgrown the carriage house.  As a result, a lot of our merchandise had to be displayed out in the driveway.  That tended to be a problem when it rained.

The weather was always unpredictable.  Sometimes it was ridiculously hot and humid for our June sale, and then freezing cold for our fall sale.  One year the severe weather sirens sounded just after we opened our doors.  You might think that no one would show up in that kind of weather, but on the contrary, it was one of our best years in terms of gross sales.  We just tried our best to stay dry under some tents and hoped nothing would get ruined.

As much fun as it was hosting the Carriage House Sale, it was also quite a lot of work.  The space where the sale was held is also my workshop.  In order to hold the sale I would have to completely empty out my workshop, set up the sale, hold the sale, dismantle the sale, then re-set up my workshop.  In the end, I just felt it wasn’t the most efficient way to handle things.  So I shopped around to find a place to sell my items on consignment and that’s when I ended up at Reclaiming Beautiful.

So the Carriage House sale became a thing of the past.  I’m still grateful for all of the people who came to our sales though!

You never know, some day I may bring the sales back again.  But probably not while I’m still working full time at the day job.

How about you?  Are you a garage sale fan, wondering when we’re going to be able to get out there and hit the sales without having to wear masks or worry about staying 6′ away from each other?

P.S.  Many thanks to those of you who left comments on my ‘social distancing glasses‘ post last week.  I took the advice that many of you gave and went back to my eye doctor.  Turns out the glasses were two degrees weaker than they were supposed to be.  That sure explains why the whole world felt out of focus to me … well, that plus this whole pandemic thing.  While I can’t do much about the pandemic, except stay home and try not to breath on people, I can get the glasses fixed.  So they have gone back to the lab to be re-made and hopefully they’ll work better when I get them back 🙂

34 thoughts on “a carriage house flashback.

  1. I, too, am already going through garage sale withdrawal! My husband and I would head out early every Saturday morning, hit as many sales as possible, and return home with a car load of goodies!! Hopefully we can get back to them shortly.


    1. My sister and I did the same, headed out early and came home with a car load. We always stop somewhere for lunch on the way home too. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that again at some point this summer 🙂


  2. I remember how much work you went thru to host those sales…and while you always made a lot of money, I think it was more a labor of love. Your display of merchandise was top notch…you would have made a great “window dresser” or whatever their fancy titles are actually called these days. Just seeing the pictures of past sale merchandise reinforces your knack for the display, not to mention “picking” the items and then completely making them over. The good ole’days for sure. I think many of the community group garage sales will be cancelled, but individual ones will carry on. Hopefully things will get back to normal – or at least settle into a new normal. Glad you got your glasses fixed too. Life is good. Even now. Especially now.


  3. I really enjoyed and looked forward to your amazing carriage sales. I still have items and cherish them all. Yes I like garage sales but estate sales more especially on last day priced down


  4. Your sales were a lot of fun and I still have several items in my home from your sales. I even left the sales tag on the furniture as a reminder of where it came from!


  5. I am definitely missing the garage sales and our lunch after. I don’t ever buy much but it is nice to get out and see the neighborhoods of the Twin Cities area. And just to be outside enjoying the walking and fresh air.


  6. I LOVED your sales! That small thermos came home with me too 😉 I have a pile of things ready for Bryn Mawr :/ Realllllyyyy hoping to get out to some this year! Although, it is really helping the hoarding situation 🙂


  7. Oh your sales were SO AWESOME!!! I’ve told you many times how much I loved them-I would wait in line (usually the front of the line) all nervous before you would cut the ribbon, and then everyone would run!!!😂 I’ve gotten so many great pieces from your sale over the years😍 I miss it, but the upside for ME is that we sell at the same shop so I get to see you more than twice a year now AND your awesome finds-win-win!!🙌🏻


  8. I’m missing the garage sales too, which are usually well under way by now in the south 🙂 I hope they won’t be skipped altogether this year. I have another place I like to go that is an old grocery store turned into a huge shopping experience full of booths with antiques, handmade goods, and just good ole’ junk. The something for everyone store. Unfortunately, it is closed as well during this often called Pandemic. So I’ve found other ways to occupy myself on the weekends (I’m still working during the week) I’m looking forward to getting back to normal soon. I absolutely love your carriage house and would love to find sales like you had in my area!! Thank you for sharing your stories and the pictures!!


  9. If I would have attended one of your sales, I think I would have died and gone to heaven. That is exactly what I love – the merchandise, the displays, the prices! We just don’t have quality sales like that around here. I have thought about hosting them in my work shop as well, but working full time, I know the amount of work that goes into these as well. I have organized pop up markets – this year would have been my third – with 19 vendors, but unfortunately, due to the pandemic, I had to postpone. I still hope to hold it at a later date. In the mean time, I will be grateful, and hope you stay well and healthy and safe!


      1. I hope so! The first year I had 14, the second year I had 13, this was to be my biggest year. It’s in an old school gym and was perfect! Fingers crossed I can get a new date soon!


  10. Our small town has a community sale every year Father’s Day weekend and I doubt they will have it this year but, still hoping! I also love FB marketplace and occasionally Goodwill! I am curious what percentage you are charged at consignment stores? Does it vary and is it worth it? I love reading your blog and I’m envious of your creativity! 🙂


    1. It does vary from 25% to 35%. I find that I can sell my furniture thru Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for around the same price I can get in the shop, so in that case as long as you are willing to put up with the downsides of online sales (people who don’t show up, lots of spam, things taking longer to sell) it might not be worth it to sell in a shop. But if you don’t want to deal with those things, then selling in a shop means you don’t have to worry about any of that. As for the smaller items, I find that I can bump up the prices I charged at my own sale to cover the commission cost so it’s a win-win. Plus it’s not really efficient to sell the smalls online, unless you want to deal with shipping items (and for some reason, I find shipping things to be supremely putzy so I don’t do it).


  11. Your past sales look awesome,wish I could have attended one, just a thought though, my daughter is busy cleaning out her closets, and rooms, and says she has a huge pile of stuff to go to Goodwill, or Salvation Army, and I bet there are a ton of other people doing the same kind of purging while they have the time….only problem is as all of those places are also closed, she is getting a huge mountain in her garage, and can’t do other things in there until she can get rid of the other stuff….I think those two stores will be swamped when they finally open again….probably worth checking out if there aren’t local garage sales open yet! Will be curious to see how that all plays out….


    1. I hear a lot of people saying the same thing, that they are compiling piles of stuff to donate. In fact, I have a pile of clothes and misc stuff waiting to go to the Goodwill too. It will be interesting to see if there is a lot more stuff to find at the thrift stores once they open up. Fingers crossed!


  12. Your Carriage House sales look and sound wonderful. I honestly haven’t been to many garage sales since my daughter moved to Charleston in 2015. However she’s transferred back now so maybe we pick it back up. Woohoo!


  13. I’m sorry your fall travel plans may be ruined. We had to scrap our spring break trip, and now have to figure when we can use the airline credits before they expire, and I’m not sure how that will happen. This is definitely not a fun side-effect. However, I am loving the amount of projects that everyone is working on, that’s great! I am hoping that one day you will resurrect the Carriage House Sale, and I will get to come and shop – always looking for an excuse to go the Cities and the Southern MN area!


    1. Hopefully the airlines will be extending dates for using up their credits! I know I heard Sun Country was doing that. I know a few people who’ve had to cancel spring break trips, and a couple more who are now canceling trips that were planned for right after school gets out for summer. Such a bummer!


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