I don’t like to throw things away. At Christmas, we received a new Coffeemaker and an Electric Skillet. While the old ones look old and barely work, I didn’t feel right pitching them in the garbage. So with two items that someone else might squeeze some use out of, I began planning this year’s garage sale! Over the years, my husband has been amazed to watch people purchase and carry off what he would have thrown away. And the end of each sale, he helps me discard or donate the left-overs rather than store them for the next time. I appreciate that help.
Preparing for a garage sale entails countless hours of work and innumerable decisions about what to keep, sell, donate, recycle or throw away. It means revisiting possessions that I held onto before and determining whether this is the time for them to go. Clothes are easy to deal with. If I don’t wear them and they’re not stained or worn through, they get donated. A few get kept even though I don’t wear them – a formal dress that I made for a fancy event, shirts with original designs by son Kyle, and a couple of pep band shirts from high school and alumni band days (it may be time for them to go).
When we run out of hangers, it’s time to purge!
Books are hard to part with, but new ones are coming in, so some have to go the sale box. I will scrounge up a few more kitchen items to accompany the outgoing skillet and coffeemaker. One day I’ll feel motivated to work through my “craft closet” again to throw away a few things, designate some to the sale, and reorganize the rest. (The “craft closet” has been a prerequisite of every house we have purchased.)
Closets and drawers might hold a few treasures that will catch someone’s eye. Will I really ever exercise on that Denise Austin foam step again? Is it worth keeping sofa pillows that I’ve already replaced? What about music CDs, cookbooks, and jewelry? An upcoming garage sale inspires a pretty major purge that I feel is necessary when one lives in the same house for more than a decade.
In 2015, during the season of Lent, I came across 40 Bags in 40 Days on Facebook. 40 Bags is a challenge to declutter one area of your house each day until Easter and to bag or box up items to be removed from your home to the curb, to someone else who can use them, or to a garage sale. I enjoyed my first 40 Days journey and used it to work through not only my stuff, but many of our sons’ possessions that have remained in our house. Sifting through the memory-laden projects, toys, and memorabilia begins a sentimental journey that rivals last week’s peek into Eric’s baby book (See Three Good Men – Part 3). It seems more difficult for me to part with 4-H projects and works of art than it is for them to do so.
One box of treasures leads to another, and I may even find myself looking through my own keepsakes from school, our wedding, and my days as Sunday School director. I won’t find any garage sale items of course, but there may be some papers or seashells that can go into a recycling or garbage bag. It wasn’t that long ago that I disposed of the unopened can of Tab that we brought back from our Mexican Honeymoon in 1984!
This year, I’m doing a more casual 40 Bags type clean out – not charting every accomplishment, but seeking to part with Christmas decorations, extra towels – whatever is taking up space and unlikely to be used. Not even my old crocheted projects are safe. Eric and Kyle don’t need to worry about the penguin and giraffe pillows that I made for them when they were kids. But yesterday I became aware that a favorite organization, Warm Up America (more on them another day) is collecting handmade afghans for kids in Eastern Kentucky who will soon be receiving newly built beds. With no time to crochet one by the deadline and my heart aching for kids in Appalachia that sleep on cold, hard floors, I prayed. Jesus, the lover of children, reminded me that stashed in closets and under our beds were four of my crocheted blankets. Certainly I could part with one of them and take this opportunity to bless a child. The Red, White, and Blue afghan was stitched twenty five years ago during Operation Desert Storm, but had only been displayed – perfect. Before I could change my mind, I washed and dried it, put it in a box, and shipped it off to Warm Up America.
It still looks new!
Now lets see…what’s next?