the garage sale

All summer, as I went through the house room by room, cupboard by cupboard, this corner was full of a growing pile of stuff for a garage sale.

It grew and grew and sat there in the corner – reminding me to keep clearing out and to try not to accumulate so much in the future.

Sometimes I would put things on the pile, and then take them off again. Usually I returned them to the pile. The strings of attachment – tugging, twanging.

On Saturday we had the garage sale. The finale for the summer of decluttering.

We sold heaps and made just over $300. Given the most expensive thing was $30 and most things were priced at $1, this might give you some idea of how much stuff we got rid of.

Without wanting to sound ungrateful to the people who came along and bought our stuff, lining our pockets…some of them were very eccentric! Firstly, we had people door-knocking the night before – wanting to get a first look. We politely told them to come back in the morning.

Then in the morning, although we advertised the garage sale as starting at 8am, people starting arrive just after 7 and many of them stood, in the fairly brisk windy weather, at the gate while we set up, waiting and calling out to us to let them in. Now, that’s keen.

There were the two women who had a physical fight over a rusting enamel jug, whacking me in the chest in the process, because I got in their way.

There were the record collecting people – who were all great, actually, but quirky as anything. Especially the older guys who reminded me very much of Harvey Pekar, in his comic strips about collecting ‘sides’.

There were the hard-core hagglers, who pick up five things costing a dollar and say – ‘Would you take $2? How about $3?’

But like I say – we are grateful they came! And spent their hard-earned money on our unwanted possessions.

I sold a lot of my records. It was a big decision to sell my records and I thought I would feel quite pained to see them go, but the morning was mostly pain-free – the only pang I felt was when someone bought my Velvet Underground record. Pang! Pang! Bye, bye iconic Andy Warhol banana. Then off it went down the driveway and I was $5 richer.

Now the corner, which had started to ressemble the trash-heap from Fraggle Rock is clean and clear and empty. I mopped the floor and placed this chair in the corner and a deep sense of peace came over me.

All around the city are people pleased as punch with their bargains while here at my house, I am happy about my empty corner, my lightened load.




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