Whew. Had a yard sale Saturday. Up to and just before it started, I swore I would never, ever, have another one. It was really hard work! My dear sister had been to visit and helped me rummage through the house finding things I really did not need nor want and piling it up in the lower levels. Which meant that after she left, I still had a huge piles of stuff down there for almost a month. Tempting me. Pulling me in, whispering to me, “you need me, you want me, at some point you loved me, don’t sell me”. I only saved a couple of things, I swear.
So there was the continuing strolling around the house, choosing more things that were not speaking to me or that I was pretending not to hear. I had read all of my de-cluttering material, and I knew that anything that I did not love should not be in my house. However. What about things that I did not absolutely hate? That I sort of liked, even though I never used? That were gifts. That were Mom and Dad’s. That I paid good money for (even though in-advisedly.) I would take something off a shelf or out of a box, then later put it right back. I went back and forth quite a lot, probably about twenty miles worth all told.
Then, there was the pricing. Good grief. Of course it should all be priced high; none was junk, clearly (after all, I owned it). The old pillows. The old printer. The old phones. The old typewriter. And the newer stuff. If I could have simply forgotten what I had paid for all of this, or who it had belong to, it would have been a lot easier. However, I did put a price tag on every single thing. Then I re-thought it, and put a new price tag that was either higher or lower on it. This went on until the night before the sale. That night, I moved the car from the driveway, set up the door on the saw-horses, dragged up every available thing I had to put stuff on, and moved most of the piles into the garage. Another twenty miles, it felt like.
In the morning, I woke at about 4:30 and could not go back to sleep (and you know that I am the world’s worst morning person. In my Craigslist post, I said “don’t come early, I am cranky in the morning.”) So anyway, I got up and started setting up all of the stuff on tables, boards laid across buckets, etc. Everything that did not fit on those got laid out in the driveway. By 6:30 I was all ready, but my ad had said I would start at 8:30. So, I walked through the house again, and picked up some more stuff; had another cup of coffee (big mistake), and wandered. People started driving by at about 7:30 and I turned them away. I finally put a bucket out with a sign that said I would not be open until 8:30. But by 8:00, there were close to a dozen folks lined up on the other side of the bucket. It was like Wal-Mart on Black Friday (not that I have ever been there then). So, I opened.
Swarmed. Dealers with their diamond and gold testers to see if I had mistakenly put out something expensive for a dollar or two. No, I have my own diamond tester, and a loupe that lets me see if there is a gold mark. No bargains there, and off they went. Then, real people came and looked. Some bought. Then, lulls, during which I ran inside to use the bathroom (damn coffee). People bought things, and others just looked. The expensive stuff simply did not sell, while things I never thought would sell did (the cat tree that Bob and I had made and our cats are too old to use now). I had many conversations with strangers. I met some neighbors that I had never met even though we have lived here over twenty years. One old guy told me the story of having lived in this neighborhood many years ago, but had bought a ranch and acreage because his wife loved ranching. She is now in assisted living and he comes back to the neighborhood occasionally. He talked for a long time, until I really thought he might not leave. But then, he started wandering around, picking up a piece of metal here and there, and coming by and telling me another story about his wife and the ranch. In the end, he had a small pile of metal stuff, which he said was for his friend who is a metal worker. He asked how much, and I said how about $5? He handed me a $10 bill and refused to take any change.
And I knew I was having a really wonderful day. I heard many stories from many people, some of whom just stopped to talk to someone, I think. I did not sell anywhere near what I thought I would, so I have a big pile for the donation folks to pick up this week. But I feel rich from the people and their life stories that they gave me a hint of, or a lot of. And I feel about a hundred pounds lighter, walking around the house and unburdened by things I did not love.
It is possible I might do this again.