It's 8 a.m., and you're already sweating from lugging tables and boxes out to your driveway. Now the sun is coming up over your neighbor's house, and every tiny patch of shade is a welcome ally in your attempts to stay cool as customers begin to arrive. By 10 a.m., it feels like midday, considering how much sweat is pouring down your body. And by the afternoon, you're lying half-dead in your chair, languidly taking sips of the lukewarm lemonade you've been trying to sell.
Sound familiar? Overheating at your garage sale is inconvenient and takes your mind away from being a sharp barterer. It also makes the whole experience unpleasant, especially if you're the only one manning your sale and can't take any breaks. Just how can you stay cool on a hot summer's day when you can't go inside?
Start by setting up your payment station in the shade. Try to pick a spot that will be covered all day -- maybe put your table and chair(s) in the garage, while the rest of the items are outside. Or set up under a tree, if you have one. If there aren't any places that will remain cool for the duration of the sale, choose a table that is easy to relocate, so you can migrate with the shade as the hours pass.
Sip on some cool water all day; keep an ice chest at your feet, or make sure you can run inside to grab a fresh bottle of water every now and then. Staying hydrated may not keep you cool per se, but it will help prevent sun sickness, and it will give you energy to help fight the lethargy the sun brings with it. Make sure to start hydrating a few days before the garage sale, and continue to consistently drink throughout the day.
Retail stores sell those little handheld fan units that also spray water. If you think the sun will become unbearable (and you're convinced it would be too embarrassing to take a "hose-down break" with the garden hose), you might want to invest in some batteries and one of these for some temporary relief. Or you could go a more traditional fan route and use an extension cord to plug in a box fan. Keep the fan pointed in your direction to circulate air in your seating area; even if the air is warm, this will act as the air flow your sweat needs to be a natural cooling agent.
Prepare some ice packs the night before -- the kind used to reduce swelling (also known as blue ice packs). Then, wrap these in handtowels or dishtowels and place them on the back of your neck. These may eventually become intolerably cold, but for some quick relief, they're handy. Ice cubes in a Ziploc bag also create the same effect.
Walking around, if done slowly and in the shade, will actually keep you cooler than sitting down. This is because you escape the heat your skin produces by using the wind of your movements to blow it away.
Before you go out and brave the sun, list your garage sale on GarageSaleCow.com, the best online community of garage salers where everything is free!