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20 Problems You'll Encounter During Your Garage Sale

There's nothing more exciting than having a garage sale!

Oh wait, sorry — what I meant to say was that there's nothing more exciting, exhausting, disappointing, frustrating or demeaning than having a garage sale.

Sure, it seems like a great idea at first. "Hey," you say to yourself, as you recline on the couch during a "Hoarders: Buried Alive" marathon, "I should have a garage sale! I could clean this place up AND make some cash!"

You start off with gusto. Shelves are decluttered, cabinets are emptied, boxes you haven't seen since you moved into your current house are finally opened. Piles accumulate in increasingly inconvenient areas of your home, but you don't mind! Dodging mountains of clothes and tripping over that wok you don't even remember buying seem like no big deal as you mentally tally the hundreds of dollars you're about to rake in.

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You lose a little steam as the tedious process drags on, but you're determined to see this through. You distract yourself with visions of the fun things you'll buy. Will you splurge on a few pairs of designer shoes? A whole new summer wardrobe for the kids? "Maybe we'll put a down payment on an in-ground pool," you think optimistically as you scrawl $75 OBO onto the side of a box of old records you found in the attic.

And then ... reality happens.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the experience is nothing at all like you imagined. Here are 20 common problems every person encounters when, through no fault of their own, they lose their minds and have a garage sale.

1. Advertising. An engineering degree and four quarts of coffee are required to get premade signs set up at 5 a.m. with all the arrows pointing in the right direction.

2. Early birds. A group of women wearing fanny packs will show up 45 minutes before the sale is supposed to start, when half of the stuff for sale is still in a heap on your dining room table.

3. Un-sticky adhesive. You spent 12 hours pricing things, but only 12 price stickers stay where you put them.

4. Surface area. Who ever has enough tables? "Creative display" options include spreading old bridesmaid dresses out in the grass and selling collectible plates out of the trunk of your car.

5. Inventory reduction. Your husband takes most of his stuff back inside because "it could be worth a lot of money on eBay."

There's always ONE THING that you suddenly need about a week after you finally get rid of it.

6. Blatant disregard for folding. Your neatly stacked T-shirt table looks like a tornado hit it by 9:35 a.m.

7. Boredom. By 9:36 a.m., you're already sick of being in your driveway.

8. No take-backs. Kids scream, "HEY, THAT'S MINE!" every time a customer touches a toy.

9. Humbling attempts to make change. Nobody enjoys a public reminder that their basic math skills are embarrassingly rusty.

10. Rejection. You know that lava lamp you don't want anymore? Yeah, nobody else wants it either.

11. People are cheaper than cheap. There's always somebody who wants to negotiate a better price for something that's marked 15 cents.

12. You break it, you ... keep it, I guess. One of your kids will climb into the baby swing and break it, even though they refused to touch it when they were actually a baby and you WANTED them to swing in it.

13. Or not. Strangely enough, people won't even take a broken baby swing if you give it to them for free and offer to load it into their car for them.

14. Desperation. By 2 p.m., panic sets in at the thought of lugging all your stuff BACK INSIDE.

15. Money bags? You run out of quarters. Either that, or you're left with $85 in quarters.

16. Wardrobe malfunction. Your children find their old clothes and attempt to convince you they still fit by trying to pull a size 2T shirt over a much-bigger-than-2T head.

17. Clean-up in ALL OF THE AISLES. Kids knock a lot of stuff over when they have a size-2T shirt stuck on their head.

18. But, that was Grandma's! Shoppers refuse to pay extra for sentimental value.

19. Seller's remorse. Even though you hadn't used any of this stuff in 10 years, there's always ONE THING that you suddenly need about a week after you finally get rid of it.

20. Reality. You spent an entire day making the hardest $12 you'll ever earn and you STILL end up taking 99.9 percent of your stuff to Goodwill, which you could've just done first thing that morning and skipped the whole sale.

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And the worst part? That evening, you'll swear up one side of your garage and down the other that you'll never have another sale again. But then, one day you'll see that old game console nobody in the house plays anymore and wonder how much you could get for it. And before you know it, you're up at 5 a.m. with a jug of coffee, trying to figure out which direction to point those garage sale signs again.

Photo via April Pevetaux

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