Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash


Every few years, it seems, I have to remind myself why I don’t do garage sales. In my experience, with only one exception, it has represented too great an expenditure of time and effort with not enough return on investment. That one exception was when I had a number of furniture pieces to sell. In that case, assuming the furniture is in decent-enough shape that people actually want to buy it, the sale represents more than the buck or two you see from other items sold. Still, likely, nowhere near what was originally paid for it, but at least it provides a greater reward for the work necessary to sell it.

Actually, I don’t really need to remind myself of this because, as shown by the last paragraph, I obviously still remember. But in preparation for the next chapter of our lives, a garage sale – a couple of them, in fact – have become necessary. We can’t be lugging our furniture (and other stuff) around the world with us, so we need to divest ourselves of it. And we need all the money we can get our hands on, so simply donating all of it isn’t an option.

So, in preparation for the first sale, taking place in a couple of weeks, we’re parking our cars on the driveway so we can use the garage to collect all the stuff we’re planning on selling, putting price stickers on it, etc. And we do have a number of furniture items to sell, along with a lot of jewelry and tons of books, so we’re hoping we can bring in a few hundred dollars to put toward our relocation.

Still, it’s never enough considering all the work that has to be done in the weeks leading up to the sale. Going through virtually everything in the house, lugging it all to the garage, cleaning it all up, if necessary, making occasional minor repairs, doing a little online research in order to get an idea what to charge. By the time it’s all done, we’ll probably be lucky to get back fifty cents an hour. Plus, there’s the mess that exists in practically every room of the house during the sorting process.

For the last few weeks, our house has felt like the setting for an episode of Hoarders. Having placed boxes and collections of other miscellaneous stuff in various places in the living areas, our family room has had little more than a pathway through all of it, waiting for us to go through the items and decide what to do with them. But we get a little encouragement every time a bit of floor space is revealed, after a box of stuff has been sorted and taken out to the garage.

As I alluded to in last week’s post, Linda’s sentimental attachment to a lot of the things was a hurdle for her to get over. But she has been doing admirably, and it’s becoming less unusual for her to tell me about something that we never thought she’d let go of finding its way to the garage for the sale.

But our dream requires it. And, once it’s over, the house will be a little more bare, a bit more austere. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, even without the dream that’s motivating it.