Thinning Out The Inventory

A year ago after Peggy died I got the urge to clear my house of unneeded stuff. My plan was to get the house ready for sale. That plan is still in place. Since another year went by I realized I hadn’t done a single thing to clear my life of clutter since the first and only garage sale I ever conducted.

Peggy’ s first anniversary death date has passed and Barb’s is in another week. Suddenly the urge to clear more clutter struck me hard. I learned of a community wide garage sale and went for it. I had two weeks to get ready.

The plan was to clear the basement as deeply as I could. I succeeded. I cleared things that I hadn’t seen or touched in years like a collection of boxes containing stuff I saved in case I might need it someday. The stuff is all valuable, but the somedays were too few and far between. Without thinking about it or looking into any of the boxes I carried them all up to the garage. Looking through the boxes would have renewed the primal urge to save, save, save. Once those boxes were out, and a nice bare spot was obvious, it became much easier to move more stuff. I went from corner to corner and anything I hadn’t touched in a long time was food for the garage sale. First my shop, then my storage area where I store office supplies pictures, and old stuff too valuable to throw out. Does that sound familiar? Next was the annex to the storage room where I store my Christmas tree and ornaments. My six year old tree became a victim. With four hundred lights burning for many hours from Thanksgiving through the Feast of Three Kings in January for six seasons I decided to not even wait for a string of lights to burn out and cause me hours of frustration trying to save it. I tossed the tree into the pile. No it didn’t sell, but I vowed that anything not sold will never return to the inside of the house, it will go somewhere.

In a few days, I had a substantial pile in the garage and every time I walked through the house I found something which I could live without, and calmly picked it up and walked it to the garage. I registered for the sale and that sealed the deal, I was totally committed. As the days went by the fever to clear the house became a frenzy. Why stop at the obvious? I began scouring closets, cabinets, drawers, and corners. I had numerous floral arrangements spread around the house of various tables all very old and somewhat worn out. Artificial flowers that were dropping their petals and dusty. All of this activity made me thirsty and I reached into a cabinet for a glass. Why do I have two dozen glasses for water? Another cabinet shelf was cleared to the sale pile. Then I realized I had gasses from my wife Barb’s home furnishings and also from Peggy’s. I went through all the dishes, glasses, and table ware. One morning as I reached into a lower cabinet for a fry pan I saw numerous fry pan handles sticking out. Why do I need so many pots and pans? Well I can use a couple for when I cook a large meal, but I ‘m not running a restaurant, I don’t need four of anything. The lower cabinets went to the garage. The week went on and there was little that went unexplored or unquestioned, like table-cloths, placemats, china serving dishes, etc. One cabinet had about a dozen jars of scented candles, some never used. These too fell to the grim reaper of the sale.

By Friday morning the day before the sale I had a garage full of stuff committed. I opened the door at eleven to begin organizing things then realized I hadn’t worked on a street sign to announce the sale. I hurried to make one and thought, what the hell, put it up now. Even though it was a full twenty four hours before the official community sale began what can it hurt? Within twenty minutes I had a steady stream of customers browsing, and things were leaving. I covered my ears to block the screams of the sold items as they left me forever. Their screams were soon disregarded as I found the sound of jingling coins in my pocket more pleasing. Another pleasant sensation was holding the soft roll of paper cash in my hand as I made change. In total, I estimate two hundred items of stuff left me over this week end.

One old man came up to me holding a pocketed sheet filled with silver dollars. I asked him if he got all those dollars in the community garage sale today. “No,” he said, “I just use this to show people what I’m looking for, do you have any silver dollars you want to sell.?”

“As a matter of fact I found one in my watch case prepping for this day, I have it on my dresser.” I went to retrieve it, and looked at the date on it. It was minted in 2004, not very old. I showed it to him and he said, “this is one of the special xxxxxy dollars, they actually contain more silver than the old ones do.”

“Really, how much is it worth?”

“I’ll give you twenty bucks for it, do you have any fraternity rings or wedding rings?

“I have my old high school class ring and a couple of wedding bands too.” I hurried into the house and found them. He whipped out a small electronic scale and after examining the rings for the gold content (14 k) he weighed them and told me he would give me $150 bucks for the rings. A memory popped into my mind. During the past week, I dreamt about my wedding rings. In the dream I saw myself having the two rings made into some kind of jewelry that I would hang around my neck. The old man convinced me to take the money instead. I know the guy will make money on this transaction, and that if I really wanted to I could make even more money but how often will the transaction happen in my home and take only ten minutes of my time? Another memory popped into mind, my wife Barbara often tried to convince me to wear a gold chain around my neck. She thought men who wore gold chains were sexy. I fought the suggestion. Now, I am thinking that perhaps this guy buying my gold was a sign from Barb to wear a gold chain.

All in all, I feel the garage sale was a huge success and now I will deal with disposing of the left overs by donating them to charitable organizations. I will try to sell them on Let Go and eBay. If they don’t sell quickly, I’ll donate them too.

I can sleep better now knowing that if my number comes up and an opening occurs to move into the apartment I want I’ll be more ready than I was before. It doesn’t really matter because what ever happens it will make life easier for my heirs. I had to dispose of entire households three times in my life and I vowed never to leave that kind of problem to my kids. As it is, I still have considerable stuff left that they will have to deal with someday. In the meantime, I will continue to simplify my life as time marches on.

4 Responses

  1. That’s on my bucket list, too, for about a decade. You’ve inspsired me!

    • Nothing refreshes the soul like a good house clearing. True to my word, today I spent the morning boxing the left overs for donation to St. Vincent dePaul thrift store. Once it is totally gone I will have a stiff drink.

  2. You are smart.

    • Thanks for the great compliment. You are too generous.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: