Saturday, June 15, 2013

Garage Sale Day

Today is the neighborhood garage sale. About a month ago, when the neighbors decided on the date, I thought it would be perfect timing — I hoped we'd be close to done packing up the house, we'd have the basement and the garage completely cleared out, and we'd have a ton of stuff to sell. In my head, I'd already spent the money on paint for the new house. Um, nope.

Since the mortgage process has been consuming me, I've really just managed to mess up the entire current house by pulling everything out of its home, and all without putting a single item in a box. While I'm pretty proud of the inventory I managed to throw together in just a couple hours on Thursday night, there's still so much more I want purge.

I've always had a lot of stuff: books, vintage Pyrex, clothes, shoes, purses, dishes, knick-knacks, three sets of flatware. Hell, we even have four sets of coasters for one coffee table. You'd think that having lived in 11 places over the last 13 years would have forced me to downsize. But with every move, I felt like I got rid of at least 25% of my belongings. Unfortunately, my stuff problem is a lot like my weight problem — I work really hard to get rid of it, then before I know it, I have just as much as I started with, and sometimes more. It's probably a management issue. I don't have good habits, so I eat too much at dinner without exercising enough the next morning, and I bring too much into the house without getting rid of old things to make room. Then, I crash diet and crash purge. Oh, and then there's the crash opening six months worth of mail thing (though I recently found a year-old check for $100, more on that later!).

To make matters worse, hoarding is in my blood. On both sides. I hold onto things because they have sentimental value, or for perfectly practical reasons (you never know when that expensive sunscreen that totally irritates my skin will come in handy, right?). A lot of stuff stays because I don't want to hurt the feelings of the person who gave it to me. And when you're a person with a lot of stuff, people want to give you more stuff.

I'm slowly losing that sense of sentimentality, though, and I think it's a good thing.

Now that we're (hopefully) moving into a house that will be ours — ours for as long as we want it to be ours — I just don't want to be surrounded by so much stuff. While I think my home will always be a little messy, it doesn't have to be so cluttered.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to try to get rid of at least two times more stuff than I put out for today's garage sale. I'm sure I'll always hold onto the box of my Grandma Ruth's costume jewelry, and my Grandma Freda's wacky shoes. But before I put anything else in a box or bag meant for the new house, I'll ask myself "Do you use this?" If the answer is "no," the next question will be, "Do you love it?" If the answer to that is "no," I should just get rid of it. However, taking this project into consideration, I should probably also ask myself, "Do you think you'll need this, or something like it, within the next year?" If I can't answer "yes" to at least one of those questions, it should go.

Honestly, for as much as I hold onto things, I've never missed anything I've sold or given away (save for a few cute vintage dresses I now see on my cute friends). If I can get another garage sale together, I might as well make back at least some of the money I wasted on all of that stuff I didn't even need in the first place. If not, Goodwill is good enough for me.

As far as this garage sale goes, everyone in the neighborhood thought everyone else was going to put signs up on the main streets, so we're not getting much traffic. Since I promised Kyle none of this stuff would go back in the house or garage, I might be making a trip to Goodwill sooner than later.

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