Confession. I’ve never held a garage sale before, and even though we’re planning one for this weekend, I can’t decide whether I’m for it or against it. And maybe, as I do with most things in life, I’m giving it too much thought. I’ve weighed the pros and cons all week.
Pros: getting rid of stuff we don’t use/need/want/like, making a little extra cash to offset normal expenses or put away for a rainy day, eliminating the piles of cardboard we’ve saved in the basement for “just in case”.
Cons: We actually have to organize and sort and move the garage sale piles we’ve been keeping in the garage and basement, we might be up to our necks in neon-dot-price-tags stickers for the next several days, and I’ll probably have to say goodbye to a few items I have unwittingly struggled to part with in the process.
More cons: It’s possible that we could spend the entire duration of the weekend sitting in our driveway amidst piles of stuff we don’t want, bored, and without any luck of luring others to want the stuff we don’t want and then to actually pay for it and take it home. Oh, the horror. We might then find ourselves boxing it all up in the aforementioned cardboard boxes and driving it across town to the nearest secondhand store–in dash hopes that it will benefit someone else. (The guilty side of me is inclined to feel like there’s something weird and wrong about expecting someone else to want…or even be blessed by…the clutter we’re trying to eliminate from our lives; but I digress.)
It’s amazing to me, that after living in Africa for an entire year and each packing only three suitcases to move ourselves there, Jason and I could manage to have accumulated enough “stuff” over two years time that it could amount to a full blown garage sale. To be honest, maybe this is the thing that’s getting to me the most. HOW ON EARTH did we collect so much since arriving home? And what the heck did we ever think we were going to do with it all?
There was a time (not merely twenty-some months ago) when I could hardly imagine filling up a home with enough furniture or household items to even make it feel lived in, let alone somewhat cluttered. And it’s not that our rooms are filling up with things we don’t need or use, but more that we’ve tucked older versions of things away in closets and attics and basements to be replaced by newer, “lovelier”, more useful-to-us-at-the-given-moment type things.
There was a season not that long ago, when I never thought I’d care again what we had or didn’t have, whether we had what we needed and/or if our needs would be met right on time. Sometimes I recognize that place and still feel right at home there, and others, I fight kicking and screaming to remember how it’s supposed to feel. I know that this is normal, but I don’t ever want it to become the norm. We’ve always had what we needed and then some. Even with six suitcases in tow and a one room space in Africa to call our own, we were never, ever without.
So this garage sale then. Perhaps it tips the “pros” scale a bit more than I originally thought. It’s teaching me, and it hasn’t even happened yet. This Friday and Saturday, I’ll be out on the driveway–no doubt re-arranging and bartering and enjoying the view, but more importantly…clearing out the clutter so that we can better see things for what they really are, and giving away the things we have that will serve a better purpose to someone else… hoping that, for a day or two this weekend, the “stuff” we’re truly made of will make its way into worthwhile interactions with complete strangers as we invite them to peruse the physical “stuff” that has too long been filling up our lives.