Julie Kaiser: Everything must go!
Forget Facebook pages and blog sites. If you want to share your life with the masses, just have a garage sale.
“You must like to travel,” one gentleman said after perusing a box of our European travel books. Oh, yes, we did ... before kids.
“Is your dog for sale?” several asked, one holding a golden retriever coffee table book in hand while Shake sat on her feet. No.
“I want this tricycle,” a lady said, wheeling it over to me. Hmmm. I began to change my mind about the whole endeavor.
“How much for this floral arrangement?” One dollar, but don’t tell my grandma.
Normally we donate the baby items, kids’ clothing and books, toys and videos to family members, but there comes a time when you encounter a brief hesitation and slightly pained “thank you” after showing up with the latest new bag of old stuff.
We were garage sale virgins until last weekend. But because we haven’t moved in seven years, stuff had procreated in the basement. We mentioned having a sale to friends who threw their arms up in the air and moaned “so much work ... so little reward” and then asked if they could drop off their stuff.
The kids were ecstatic at first.
“Mom! Can we sell lemonade and cookies?” the 5-year-old asked.
“Great idea,” I said. “But why don’t you go through your bedroom and pick out some toys you don’t play with anymore, and we’ll sell those too. Some of those stuffed animals?”
Silence fell upon her. “I love ALL my toys, Mom. I do NOT want to sell a single one,” she said.
The 9-year-old was less sentimental and more interested in making money. He actually filled an entire box. I kept my face neutral, but inside I felt familiar ground shift, which threatened to derail my determination to cull the Kaiser collection.
The Batman figures — gone. The dress-up astronaut helmet and suit he wore for years — discarded. The plastic barn complete with hay mow — put out to pasture.
The robot set that Santa brought him just two years ago — tossed in the box along with a magic kit and some odds-and-ends junk toys (thanks, McDonald’s).
One sweet little stuffed animal was summoned for deportation, but I was relieved the rest of his pals enjoyed a reprieve.
I confronted the basement stash with determination. We set up a staging area in the formal dining room we never eat in, and there paraded the objects of our lives — past and present, but mostly past. Wedding gifts that hadn’t seen daylight in 17 years from people we hadn’t heard from in 15 years went on the table.
Pictures went into a folder, but dated frames went out to the garage with boxes of books, glassware, home décor items, holiday overkill and the last of the baby items. Ditto for the high chair, tricycle (sob!), booster chair, car seats and toys.
The weather took a turn for the cold and gusty, but the deal seekers were out early Friday morning.
The unappreciated props of our life left the driveway bringing in “big bucks” in increments of 50 cents, $1 and $5 bills. Enough to order pizza in Friday night, doughnuts Saturday morning and dinner out Saturday night.
Total take after food expenditures: $70. Less clutter? Priceless.
“Do it again?” my husband asked after we dropped off the last of the remainders to Goodwill and the library.
“Not any time soon.” I said.
Julie Kaiser is a freelance writer and columnist.