The weekend before last was the Florence Festival of Books held on the stormiest day in a couple of years. And this past weekend was my garage sale held on such a glorious warm and sunny weekend that I needed short sleeves and sunscreen.
We had a terrific crowd at the FFOB in a mood to buy all day. I, on the other hand, had a fairly good crowd on Saturday but hardly anybody on Sunday, and they were mostly in a mood to look both days.
Now it’s time to evaluate the Florence Festival of Books and decide what changes to make for next year.
The three classes held the day before the FFOB were new this year and not actually a part of the FFOB, but held in conjunction with it. I’ve heard from the committee members who taught them and they think they were worthwhile even though poorly attended. Ellen Traylor had five, Karen Nichols had seven, and Dr. Veronica Esagui had eight. I loved the intimacy of the small group in the one class I attended, but if we do it again, we’ll have to get the word out earlier and do more to raise attendance.
The Readers’ Corner was also new. Even though we had listed the reader’s schedule in the program, which was also published in the paper a few days before, and had the schedule posted in two places at the event, the audiences were small except for a couple of authors. And there was a definite lack of children for the children’s book authors. Some authors didn’t read very loud, and the other voices of attendees being close by along with piano music in the lobby was too distracting to those trying to hear.
I’ve gone through the evaluations. We had only one question: “Are there any segments of the festival that you think could be improved?” The most repeated recommendations were for the Readers’ Corner: Have a microphone for the readers, move to a quieter and larger space, announce each reader with a public address system, advertise in schools, and don’t start right at 10 a.m. That last one was from Sandy Silverthorne, who was scheduled to read first at 10 a.m.. These are all excellent recommendations.
As to the festival as a whole, 90 percent or more thought it was great. There were a few small suggestions—more trash cans within the author area, stamp ‘PAID’ on the form when a book is paid for by credit card, have more tables set up in the lobby for eating lunch, and have the media present. (The Siuslaw News had their editor there and the FFOB was part of a front-page story in the next issue.) I think they were thinking of having the local radio station live there. All of these will definitely be considered.
There were some recommendations that we purposely have chosen not to do, such as grouping by genre, scheduling closer to the holidays, and spreading the event over two days. We prefer to have the people check out the whole place rather than go just to the genre they are interested in. The events center is really booked up around the holidays and we feel the FFOB must be at the events center, and there are so many craft shows and bazaars going on during the holidays that we would become just one among many. And we would not be able to grow to two days until we had a few years of 500+ attendance and maybe more authors wanting to participate. But we will still consider each of these at our next meeting.
My primary reason to have my first ever garage sale was because my new tenant to rent my downstairs apartment did not need any furniture or anything. She had everything she needed, and the apartment has been fully furnished. So I was stuck with all kinds of stuff and no place to put it. I sold two beds, a bookcase, and a dresser to my previous tenant, incorporated a recliner, lamp, small set of tables, and a slightly larger table upstairs. And I still had lots leftover. I also bought my new tenants washer and dryer since she wanted to continue using them as they are less than a year old. Although, I love mine and they work just fine, they are no longer new. I bought them in the mid-90s with the money from a tent trailer that I sold.
So I had a washer, dryer, small fridge, chest, TV, glass-fronted cabinet, Nordic Track plus a swivel chair from my office that the cat had tried to demolish on one corner for sale. And that’s just the big stuff. There was small stuff from the kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms including bed linens and decorator pillows. There were also a painting, prints, and photographs all beautifully framed that had hung on the walls.
Before I knew it, I was going through every shelf, drawer, closet in the house, including my clothes that I hadn’t sorted through in decades. I found about 50 pieces of clothing to add to the mix and brought out all my late husband’s vintage stereo equipment that had been stored in the garage. I couldn’t believe all the stuff.
I also couldn’t believe all the work. I put prices on with stickers or pinned on sticky notes when stickers wouldn’t stick or punched holes in small cards and hung by string where I didn’t want stickers. I spent much of Wednesday and Thursday and all day Friday sorting though and collecting stuff, putting on prices, and setting up in the garage. I put the advertisement in the newspaper on Monday and it came out in the Wednesday and Saturday papers. I set the sale for Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and prepared my signs Friday. I reinforced them and punched holes for the ones that go on metal poles filled with holes, had a hammer and nails for the one to go on a wooden post, and had mailing tape for the one on the mailbox. I made bright red arrows and stapled them to each sign.
Saturday before I had the last two signs up, two vehicles were in my driveway, and it was steady until about 2 p.m. And some of them actually bought items. I sold my wonderful Lazy Boy recliner that I didn’t want to sell but have nowhere to put and the wonderful Onkyo stereo receiver that I no longer use, an Ansel Adams print and an original watercolor neither of which I wanted to sell, but no wall space available, as well as some small stuff. I sold over $200 of garage sale stuff and $65 worth of Crossings and The Crossings Guide on Saturday and made a whopping total of $8 on Sunday. This was my first and probably my last garage sale. It was too much work for too little gain.
I spent until dark on Sunday, taking off prices and loading everything that would fit into my car. The next day I dropped it all off at the Humane Society Thrift Store and then I returned home and loaded the swivel chair into my trunk and a bunch more stuff onto the back seat and took that to the dump. Then on Wednesday, I’ll take two lamps to Restore, the Habitat for Humanity store that sells used items that can be reused in remodel and repair.
The big items are going into a classified ad, and it they don’t sell they’ll go to Goodwill. The speakers and other vintage stereo equipment will go on one of the online marketplaces. I do feel good about getting rid of so much stuff, of cleaning out.
Bottom line: No more garage sales; I much prefer just selling books.
Note: This will be my last post until I finish my book about the history of Florence, Around Florence. My deadline is November 12, and it will be a race to the finish. For a month, I will be doing nothing else. Wish me luck!