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Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 10.26.39 AMIt’s sell-your-stuff season. Garage sales. Yard sales. Estate sales. Those sales where you price toys that were on your children’s must-have Christmas lists and then never played with. Stuff passed down from parents and grandparents and you’ve replaced with bigger and better. Stuff that matched the living room when the walls were painted Morning Sky Blue. Stuff you collected and your children dusted and they hope to never see again.

I’m not good at garage sales. Selling or buying. One time Husband and I spent weeks cleaning out closets, drawers, stacks here and there, and set up tables and hanging racks and put prices on items and then for two days I watched people come and go and haggle about such things as a fifty-cent price for a perfectly good handmade breadbasket that I bought for $12 from a beach hawker. And I sold Son’s Millennium Falcon because his interests, as a college student, were elsewhere and he said it was fine to get rid of it. Well, it wasn’t. My Grands who are Star Wars fans would treasure that vintage 1980’s Falcon.

And a few times I’ve been enticed by newspaper classified ads and set out to shop. Invariably, I see stuff exactly like I have. And I buy stuff I don’t need. Standard-sized handmade pillowcases embroidered with flowers in variegated colors. Somebody’s grandmother made these and two sets were priced $1.00. I stacked them with the cross-stitched pillowcases my Grandma Gladys made.

I’m touched by what my friend Jo shared when she was in the midst of emptying her grandparents’ house and sorting through their stuff and her parents’ stuff.  “My one sad thought about yard sales: it almost seems disrespectful to put a love one’s belongings in a sale. Going through Dad’s things has brought to my attention the tubs of nothingness my kids will go through some day. It feels good to empty my own tub and set the clutter free. So I do have mixed emotions about it.”

Mixed emotions. Happy to get stuff cleaned out. Sad to give up family belongings.

But Jo had a good idea. “My kids will find a tub one day that has a couple of their Grannie’s articles of clothing she sewed and a very old dress of their great-grandmother’s. Naming the tub makes it more valuable, you know.”

Isn’t that a great idea? Chose a few things. Store and label those with the name of the person who owned them and then give away or sell the rest. The writer in me says to include a short biography and at least one story about the person.

And Jo finds a silver lining in her yard sale. “The best part of a yard sale is visiting with neighbors that usually just pass by and throw their hands in the air. We family members might as well enjoy sitting together in Grandma’s yard and hope folks are happy with their finds. Grandma would love knowing so many of us are there and that stories will be told about her.”

I’m working on my attitude and checked out the classified ads. Section 515 in this paper. A yard sale offers toys and games from the 50’s and 80’s. Maybe, just maybe, there’s a Millennium Falcon. Even if my Grands don’t like it, I will.

But I’m not yet inspired to gather my unused, outdated, chipped, worn, torn, and no-longer-wanted stuff and put it out to sell.   Maybe, someday. But not this selling season.



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