Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Garage Sale

For some of us, garage sales are opportunities to make a few bucks. Either we scour them for bargains we can resell later on Craigslist or eBay, or we're clearing out clutter accumulated over the last few years. Having moved a time or two in my life, I am more familiar with the second type of garage sale: getting rid of boxes of stuff that live under the stairs, in the basement, and over the garage. It seems I can store three boxes of clothes, and the next thing I know there are ten for me to remove. It's amazing how we accumulate stuff.

Recently, I was helping a friend in his garage sale. He and his wife are planning to sell their house, so the couple wanted to take advantage of their neighborhood's weekend garage sale to clear out their storage areas.

Now having three kids under the age of five meant they had piles of clothes theses young ones would never wear again. He asked me if I would help him price the items.

Being the kind of guy I am I said, "Sure!"

The first box was full of newborn boy's outfits. We spent three innings of the baseball game examining each piece for condition, frayed edges and, most of all, stains. Each piece was held up, evaluated a bit, and priced accordingly, ranging from $4 to $.25. At this rate I figured we'd be done by the end of the game.

Then his wife pulled out the other 25 boxes of clothes -- in all sizes, boys and girls.

At this spectacle, either the game would be a record-setting, extra-inning affair going into the wee hours, or we'd have to drastically change our pricing technique. Undeterred by this tsunami of kids' clothes, we got into the flow of things: pants were $1, shirts $.25 and, if something looked really good, it was $.50.

We laid out eight tables of kids clothes and arranged the other miscellaneous stuff in an attractive setting. Then we waited.

Three days later he had $700 firmly in hand, mostly by selling $.25 outfits. Now that was a lot of clothes!

My friend announced the results to his wife with the admonition, "Let's not accumulate that much -- ever again."

Gentlemen, that's good advice for all of us.

Each one of us carries around boxes of "stuff." Some are filled to overflowing with regrets; some are marked, "bad decisions"; others just say, "Stuff I don't feel good about." Maybe it's time we clean out those boxes, and pitch them to the curb. After all, there's nothing there to be passed on or resold, it's garbage. We need to let go of them and give ourselves a fresh start, with the resolution we will not accumulate that many items, ever again.

In truth, I'm on my way to drop off a box of "should haves" at the local church. In exchange for it, I'll take home some sweet words of forgiveness and relish in the fact my load just got lighter.

Good luck getting rid of some dead weight this week.

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