Thursday, June 6, 2013

God help me, I'm having a yard sale.

I was not raised in a yard sale-ing family. We did NOT yard sale. The idea of dragging our belongings out into the yard for all to see, and putting prices on things, and then (gasp) haggling over the value of our obviously very tasteful possessions was wasn't happening at my house. And buying someone else's rejected items? No, that wasn't on the agenda either.

So when I was in 3rd or 4th grade I discovered yard sale-ing on my own, during a bike ride around my neighborhood. I am quite sure my mother didn't see this coming - if she had I am confident that I would not have been allowed to stop and browse. But it was impossible to ride by and not stop. We lived in a pretty nice area, right on the ocean in Newport Rhode Island (Castle Hill, if you are familiar) and I am sure my mother assumed that she was surrounded by like-minded individuals who did not air their dirty laundry OR their outdated housewares to be viewed and reviewed and picked over like yesterday's newspaper.

It might have been the moment when I discovered those red ankle boots - the ones that were just like I had seen Pat Benetar wear in a video on MTV (this was, after all, 1984). Or maybe it was the totally obscene Eddie Murphy record album that I snapped up and listened to over and over again on my Fisher Price record player. All I know is, that first yard sale changed my life. It was, by all measures, a really good yard sale *anyway* - my bar for yard sales was set very high indeed that morning, but it was more than that. It was the thrill of the hunt. The love of a bargain. The excitement of finding something unique, that no one else would have.

I love yard sales. I love shopping them and I love having them. And this weekend, I am having a big one. There is usually one of two reasons I decide to have a yard sale. I either find myself overwhelmed with stuff and feel the need to purge, OR I need to make some money. Or both. Both works too.

I don't know what triggered this weekend's yard sale, exactly - but I suspect it was the bags (and bags and bags) of precious schoolwork my kids brought home at the end of the year. Binders and folders with their covers hanging on by a thread, filled with worksheets and drawings and wrinkled pieces of paper covered in scribbles and some with holes in them, along with a healthy dose of pencils without erasers, broken crayons, and markers that lost their caps long ago.

I saw the massive pile by the kitchen door and involuntarily twitched. And then instructed them to pick the 10 best things to go up in the attic to be filed. Everything else?

The circular file.
The one in the driveway.
The one that gets collected twice a week and taken to the landfill.

But I wasn't done.

Because with a few days notice, a friend moved in to our storage shed AKA "The Eyesore" for the summer. And that 120 square feet was being utilized to the max for storage. We needed to get everything out of there pronto, which means it all got piled in my house to be sorted out.

And as that pile grew, and the stack for the attic took over my bedroom, I noticed something else.

The kids were outgrowing everything.

Every pair of their pants hover around their ankles, their t-shirts show flashes of belly button, and the toys are creeping onto every surface and taking over the cupboards. It isn't just their wardrobe that needs refining, however - I can't close my drawers and have run out of hangers - and closet space. There are things in our hall closets - Tupperware, pans, hand towels, and god knows what else - that I have never used. Not even once.

And let's not forget that I have been slowly accumulating excessive amounts of baby gear.

I started by clearing out the storage shed, I moved on to my closet and then the kids' rooms. I am being cold-hearted. Giving up stuff I like, because I just simply do not use it or need it or (sigh) fit into it any more.

So here it comes. The big yard sale. I will drag my belongings out onto the driveway, and be so gauche as to put prices on them. I will allow people to paw over my precious possessions, examining and haggling and buying or rejecting, and there will be those who simply slow down to stare before dismissing my stuff as not even worth parking to check out.

I am ready. I can take it. And god, I hope they take it too. All of it.
I feel lighter already.


Peach said...

Purging is cleansing. I speak from experience, only mine was not self-imposed. Home invasions are horrible, but it was my catalyst to purge and start over.

It was unbelievably freeing and you'll be amazed at the difference... if you can survive the heart tugs. xo

Leslie said...

I love it!
I also did a yard sale a year or two ago, and I have the SAME FEELINGS about it as you - or your mother, more likely! It's kind of emberrassing, but what else do with our stuff? I like the money, I'm not ashamed to say. And it's a fun experience for the kids - and I LOVE getting rid of clutter and junk as I've been blogging about that.
I want to do it again this year, but sort of dread it also.