This weekend, we had a huge clean-the-clutter yard sale. It was a lot of work, and sitting out in the sun all day has left me with a hot and aching sunburn, despite sunscreen and a hat. It happens; I’m a fair-skinned Irish girl. I can’t stop the burns even though I try.
I had fun at the yard sale, though. Some of the best of it was seeing how happy the things we were letting go of made other people. One mom had only $6 and was bargaining with her son, asking him to put $2 of stuff back (much of the kids stuff was about $0.25 each). I told her to just take it and they both beamed like I’d made their day and thanked me effusively. Another mom saw the Montessori based preschool activities I had that were hand-made and gushed, absolutely gushed over them. I hadn’t been sure anyone would want someone else’s crafty projects, but she was beyond thrilled and wanted to know how to remake additional items. I got to meet her two littles and felt so happy that the things I’d spent such time making were going to teach such sweet kiddos.
This was very healing for me. All I wanted, to begin with, was to get some of this stuff out of the house. Most of the boys’ stuff went with them, except for items the residential treatment center couldn’t take, like their play kitchen and tool bench, big play trucks for outside and so on. I honestly didn’t want to send the things I’d made with them; they were a huge controversy in our house because the boys tried very hard to destroy them (as they did with many home-made or crafted items, intended for them or not, like the amigurumis I’d made them, or cross stitch projects I’d made for myself). I’d created them all with so much hope and love and devotion and now they had come to represent hurt and feelings of betrayal. But this washed all of that clean again.
Because we had marked stuff so cheaply, Richard was worried that we wouldn’t make any money. I postulated that it would be at least a couple hundred bucks, enough for some mad money for our vacation. I vastly underestimated things! And I thought our DVDs would be the main selling point – over 200 of them at a buck apiece. We sold maybe a dozen, so I was wrong about that being the big draw. In fact, what went fast and what went slow was almost directly inverse to what we thought would happen! It was funny, enlightening and entertaining to see what caught people’s eyes. An ancient game boy made a newly married guy with a minimal entertainment budget excited beyond belief. A crystal perfume decanter went with an elderly gentleman still in a hospital bracelet. to brighten his wife’s day. Young immigrant room mates found items to deck out their first Canadian apartment. All day long, as the burden of our clutter lifted more and more, so did my heart.
I’m glad we chose to have a garage sale, a purging, instead of trickling items out one by one, listed for sale online as was our first instinct. It’s a wonderful, lightening experience, even if as I write this I’m so achey I can barely move and my skin still feels like it’s on fire. There’s also a contentment in my heart that is great, that comes from letting go, letting it be, from seeing the interconnectedness in people, from seeing “junk” that held emotions become joy in someone else’s life.
There’s a lot to be said for letting things go, and in learning to see value in things you had forgotten about or neglected.