Monday, August 9, 2010

Everyday Life: Things I learned from my garage sale

It's the very small things in life, I've come to realize, that actually are taking years off of my life.

While we're all concerned about things like polar ice caps melting {and I'm sure there's merit to some of that} cutting our lives short, it's really the clutter resting on the dog's kennel in the kitchen that's quietly driving me mad and robbing me of, most likely, weeks of my life.

Because every time I walk by that darn pile of junk, my blood pressure rises a notch or two. But the first few times it's almost subconscious, a silent stressor, if you will.

And the next few times maybe I'll take a few swipes at it, irritatedly clearing a few things.

But that last time I walk by?

That last time I go all postal on that pile voraciously tossing things I'd normally recycle or donate to charity hastily in the garbage can because I of that pile sitting there taunting me with all of its clutteriness.

So more and more, I've begun purging our house of the stuff we don't use, dropping off items at the TriCounty Pregnancy Center Thrift Store, offering other things to friends and recycling our most well-loved-and-worn stuff.

But, after this weekend, I've decided my favorite way to rid our space of the clutter is by hosting a garage sale.

We embarked on our first married-life garage sale this weekend, on a whim, after I realized we'd actually be home during our community garage sale.

Garage sales are satisfying on so many levels for someone like me -- someone who loves decluttering, someone who loves securing the sale and someone who loves people watching.

This combination makes me more excited than most any other -- it ranks up there with being surrounded by piles of old books, endless coffee and numerous hours alone in which I can bathe in both.

And while the thrill of the sale is exhilarating on so many levels I think my favorite part is analyzing why people buy the stuff they buy.

This past weekend, for example, brought out the best of the garage saleing crowd.

One man beeped his car horn at me and waved me over to his window only to ask if I had any cookie jars for sale.

Why yes I do, I told him.

"Great," he'd said. "Could you bring it to me and slide it in my car through the window?"

Not being one to let a sale opportunity pass me by, I fetched the cookie jar and exchanged it through his open passenger's side window for a few crinkled dollars.

I think that's as close to feeling like a drug dealer that I'll ever come.

Besides being highly amused by these odd-ball situations, I also learned quite a few lessons.

1. My junk -- the very stuff that makes my eyes twitch -- is valuable

2. My nice things are not.

2.5 Numerous people bought ALL of the trinkety little jewelery included in a small designer bag marked for a dollar for a dollar each.

2.75 But each person REFUSED to buy the whole bag full of jewelery for a dollar.

3. So are these nice things really all that nice?

4. And does that mean the stuff that's currently adorning my house -- the very stuff I deem really nice -- is junk?

5. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, apparently, so rests fashion.

5.5 My old "fashionable" shoes sold for a dollar

6. John's old "unfashionable" shoes sold for $2

7. What does that say for my taste in shoes?

8. Does anyone even look at shoes?

8.5 If you saw the shoes John sold, you'd likely think NO ONE looks at shoes.

8.75 Perhaps they will be that guy's lawn-mowing shoes.

8.85 Even if they are black and patent leather.

9. People like garage sales in the rain or in the shine.

9.25 So you'd better be open either way or your husband will complain about how you lost 5 potential buyers

9.5 And you will likely get sick of hearing about it and just open the garage door.

10. Also, don't go inside to can tomatoes during your garage sale thinking your hubby can man the selling station

10.5 He will give away super expensive things for a quarter

10.75 And he will hold on to the stuff you really want to get rid of, like an old dog kennel.

10.75 And you will then realize why you have piles of things like PAPER CLIPS** collecting dust on the surfaces of things like dog kennels around your house

10.95 Yes, PAPER CLIPS** -- those very things that are raising your blood pressure little by little while they are piled randomly atop the dog kennel.

10.96 So instead of making $5 off of the kennel rather than $10, you'll be paying $40 per month for blood-pressure medications by the time you are 35 because of the little piles of paper clips found on dog kennel roof in your kitchen.

10.97 Unless you ban the dog kennel from re-entering the house

10.98 Then you will just raise your blood pressure when you screech for the dog to "kennel up"

10.99 and the dog doesn't kennel, rather he just looks at your like you've lost your marbles ...

because there is no such place in the kitchen in which he can kennel.

**The paper clips have been rehomed in a jar atop of the baker's rack in our hallway because apparently people don't buy useful things like paper clips. Nope. They buy things like disco lights and {I kid you not} ankle bracelets adorned with tiny color-changing moons that supposedly detect your mood.


  1. I loved this post! It made me smile! I too like to declutter and find myself going overboard, actually I'm in the process of decluttering now, so a garage sale is in the near future! I agree they are interesting to hold and see what people buy or what things they choose to share with the stranger taking their money!

  2. this post made me laugh out loud (which is kind of a bummer since I'm reading it next to a sleep child, but you know what? totally worth it! LOL)

    We are going to start organizing for a garage sale, too, as soon as we get home from vacation, so this post is a valuable education for me!

    I could not stop laughing at the guy who wanted you to bring him the cookie jar. So funny!

  3. Smiling Hugely!

    I love to garage sale and I love having a garage sale - for all the same reasons!

    The kids and I just went through our house today and I have boxes piled in the dining room just waiting for such a sale. Oh. it. feels. so. good.

    Seriously - why DOES the junk sell?

  4. Thank you for the laugh. I was so needing that today. I need desperately to have a garage sale. I long to declutter but everytime I try I seem to find a reason to keep. UGH!!!

  5. Hilarious! These are the reasons we refuse to do yard sales. Seriously.

  6. If this journalism thing doesn't work for you, consider comedy writing. It really is the ordinary things in life that are hilarious.

  7. I feel your pain! I decluttered a little, had an unsuccessful garage sale and now my garage is a mess. But at least I don't have to look at it all day.

  8. Great post! Makes me want to have a garage sale...or better yet, read about your next one. :)

  9. Would you like to come to my house and start the process all over again?

  10. This is hilarious. Well, now you know what you can do for a day job in case you're looking to make some money on the side.

    I'm the same way about clutter. It really gets to me. I'm not an organized person but I don't like messes; a paradox that's terrible for my mental health.

    p.s. I left you a little some'n some'n on my post today (dated 8/11, in case you get this later than today).

  11. Now I *really* want to have a garage sale. The clutter in my house makes me batty, and lately it's been worse than ever because I haven't had time to clean.

    You might find this article interesting-

  12. "2.75 But each person REFUSED to buy the whole bag full of jewelery for a dollar. "

    This is the truth. Isn't it hilarious?!?

    This whole post was hilarious. And exactly (may I add) the reason why I don't do garage sales.

    Glad to laugh at your misery though. ha ha... ;)

  13. ha ha ha ha! Oh, hee hee...this is really making me laugh!

    Love the cookie jar exchange!

    I'm always amazed at often people don't buy the nice stuff. Don't know why! Perhaps what I think is "nice" is not nice at all!

    I need a long while to forget our last garage sale before I'm willing to do another! They wear me out.

  14. An anklet with mood trinkets? Cool!

    So ummm I have a ton of stuff I need to get rid of in my house, and some of it is already sorted into piles. Wanna come do garage sale at my house? I promise to feed you and entertain your kids? ;)


There's nothing better than good conversation ... but not while talking to myself. Will you play a part in this discussion?

AND will you pretty please have your email linked to your account or leave it for me so I can respond?

Thanks for taking the time to make these thoughts into conversation.