Fast-Paced Change: Garage Sale Edition

garage sale, yard sale,hange

So much has happened in the last month that has propelled our lives and plans forward at an unexpected rate. The result has been exhaustion, chaos and loads of excitement.

About a month ago, I posted that we were listing our house for sale. You guys, less than 36 hours after it went on the market, we accepted a full-price offer! Whoa. Three days after that, the inspection was done, and we were just four weeks away from being, in the literal sense of the word, homeless. Again, whoa. Of course, we were thrilled that it was all coming together so quickly, but the pace was a little much to take in. Going into this, we had hoped we’d only have to endure weeks of open houses and showings instead of months. We had not anticipated hours.

LITERAL HOURS.

I had presumed we would be in our house through the summer, so while I had thought about the idea of selling all of our stuff, I had not yet seriously considered the process. A few things had been listed on eBay and Craigslist, but now I had to plan and execute the sale of almost all of our belongings in a matter of weeks? Talk about motivation!

When there are only five weekends before the move-out date, and three of those weekends already have plans, there aren’t many options for holding a garage sale. I picked the first of the two and prepared as much as I could. As that weekend approached, I realized the weather was not going to cooperate. I thought about postponing it a week but decided instead to get started on Thursday and then brave the rain on the weekend.

Thursday morning was chilly. After a cup of coffee, I began setting out tables in my driveway. My mom arrived with the first load of items she and my grandma were donating to the sale, and the pandemonium ensued. After a couple hours, and a few more loads, every square inch of the tables was covered. I suddenly realized that I did not have enough room for my own stuff! All my items were still in totes in my garage or they were literally plugged into my walls or drying in my dishwasher. I was able to round up four more tables from neighbors and friends, but even still, there was stuff all over the ground. Nearly all the clothes and shoes remained in the plastic totes in which they had been stored, and the trampoline was strewn with all manner of blankets and rugs and curtains. And then there was the yard. The front yard consisted of row after row of chairs and shelves and tables and other random pieces of furniture and exercise equipment. It was complete chaos!

So…something you probably don’t know about me is that I am kind of a garage sale snob. I don’t at all mind rummaging through other people’s junk, but when I do, I like a little organization. Is it too much to ask for orderly tables and clear pricing? Is it unreasonable to disdain stacks of unrelated goods and buckets stuffed with clothes? Honestly, sometimes I just leave when items are not marked or there are not, at the very least, signs indicating general prices. I don’t want to haggle. I just want you to tell me how much you want for the picture frame, and then I will decide if I want to pay that price. You know, like a store. But, in your garage.

BUT, alas, my garage sale was that garage sale. I would have walked away from my own sale if it were not mine. And, I’ll admit, it was hard to swallow my pride and {selective} perfectionism. But, I wanted to get rid of my stuff and make a little cash in the process, so I did what I had to do. And despite the messy tables and plastic totes, the people came. On a cold, cloudy Thursday afternoon, person after person came and left with full arms and, often, full vehicles. Apparently, not everyone shares my garage sale standards!

And by the way, it really is an odd thing to have your life’s possessions strewn out on tables while total strangers rifle through them, oblivious to the memories they hold. I have had several garage sales in my life, but this was the first one that included more than just the rubbish I no longer used. These tables contained the decor I had just pulled off my walls and shelves. The slow cooker I’d used to make dinner two nights before, as well as the toaster we’d used that morning, were out there donning pink price stickers. There were lamps that left our house a bit darker and toys my kids had played within the weeks just prior. But, strangely, it wasn’t sad to see all of that go; not even for my kids. It was, however, SO freeing to watch items that had become weights and burdens vanish from my life, 25 cents at a time.

After the people stopped coming that first evening, my husband helped me carry the tables that could fit back into the garage and most of the remaining furniture back into the house. We covered the rest of the tables and the trampoline with tarps and went inside tired and sore. As I fell into bed that night, I hoped and prayed the forecast was wrong. It wasn’t. It stormed for hours; and I mean the crazy-windy, rain-in-sheets kind of storm. Somehow, the tables and tarps were all still there the next morning.

It ended up raining off-and-on both Friday and Saturday and storming again on Friday night. Thankfully, I had borrowed a few large canopy tents from a friend, so we put those up over the tables. Even though the driveway had mud puddles and some of the stuff got ruined by the rain, people still showed up for the next two days to forage through our belongings. And even though we sold SO. MUCH. STUFF. in those three days, the tables were surprisingly full when Saturday evening rolled around. We managed to fit everything that remained in the garage, with the exception of a few pieces of furniture that went back in the house, to my husband’s dismay. The following Thursday and Friday, we did it all over again. We didn’t make nearly as much money the second time around, but we did get rid of a lot more stuff, which was the ultimate goal.  And now, after making three trips to our local donation center, our garage and house look pretty empty.

In case you are wondering, we did keep essentials such as clothes, homeschool materials, Legos, and a few furniture items. We will need all that during the next 9-12 months while we stay with my parents. We are all excited about what is next, both immediately and after this next year. The kids are especially delighted to be moving to Grandma and Grandpa’s house while we plan and prepare for our upcoming family adventure:     …drum roll, please…

traveling around the U.S. in an RV!

I am sure you want a few more details about how that decision came about and what we anticipate it will look like for our family, but those details will have to wait until the next post or two. Until then, we will keep clearing out the house in preparation for our closing that is scheduled to happen in less than a week! And, thankfully, we will NOT be having another garage sale anytime soon.

 

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