This week, one of the foxes asked whether we’re yard and garage sale hosts or shoppers. Back when my kids were young, I’d host a garage sale once a year to help clear out clothes and toys we’d outgrown, worn-out furnishings, and things we just didn’t have a use for any more. They took a lot of work, but my girls were very helpful, especially since they got a share of the money we took in. Since we live in a busy suburb, it was a social occasion, where people would come to chat as much as to shop. Once in a while we’d have neighborhood sales, where several homes on the street would have sales on the same day. People from other neighborhoods could park at the end of the street and just walk from house to house.
As the kids left home, so did most of their stuff. I had big plans for the bedrooms they vacated. One room, I decided, would be a guest room, and the other would be my sewing room. But that plan didn’t quite work out. I took a part-time job at a nearby grocery/department store, started teaching at the university, and started writing. I joined two sewing groups, two writing groups, and three musical groups. There was no time to stop at other people’s garage sales, let alone have one of my own. And somehow, even with only two of us in this three-bedroom house, “stuff” accumulates, despite my semi-annual trips to donate clothes and other unused items.
I’ve been retired for twelve years now. For some reason, I’ve gotten busier and busier. I still have things that should have been discarded or given away long ago. But I’m not inclined to go through the work of having a sale at my house. It seems they’ve become less popular in my neighborhood. For the past few summers I’ve seen less than a half dozen per year. So this past spring, when I made a resolution to clear out the clutter in the house, I boxed things up and put them in my trunk. I made it a goal to fill at least one box (of things to get rid of) a day during the month of May – and I succeeded! When the trunk was full, I drove to a nearby charity shop and dropped them off. I’ve made seven trips so far, and I don’t seem to have made a dent in the clutter. And now I’ve got to help my mom clear out sixty years of clutter in her home so that she can move to a smaller place. There is enough “stuff” there to supply half a dozen garage sales. I guess the people at the charity shop are going to know me really well by the time I’m through!