Monday, October 20, 2008

Getting rid of stuff

The kids have been off from school since Wednesday at 12:45. It's Monday and they're STILL home. We've made do by planning many play dates and I decided to fight boredom and throw a garage sale.

I had pulled together most of the items I wanted to clean out of my garage weeks ago, but there has been a never-ending sidewalk repair project going on that didn't allow for much parking availability. Also we've had a few rainy weekends, so when I saw the gorgeous weather projected for this past weekend, I decided the time had come. Luckily I had a friend to help me, otherwise I would have exploded from the stress combustion inside of me.

I'm not good at playing it cool. I fret. A lot. Where should we put the signs? How should we keep the money divided between the families? Do we need tables? I don't have any tables! What about a change box? Do we need to get singles? How much should I price things for? Luckily, my friend, Janet, is great in situations like this. She kept telling me it would all work out and we just needed to remember that we just wanted to get rid of stuff - making money would be the icing.

Of course it went great. We had old men walking up the driveway a half hour early, but I didn't really care. Nothing was ready, but they still managed to buy some of my junk. I learned a few things: for instance, my friends want me to continue to be a hoarder! Every time I turned around, they were telling me not to sell this or that. My wonderful old neighbor from across the street even went so far as to bag up all the linens my grandmother had hand embroidered and put them back into my house. She has a great thick German accent, just like all my Tantes and my Oma, and she's hard to say no to. I also learned that people come to buy things to re-sell. I'm not dumb. I mean, I know that ebay exists, but I guess it was pretty weird to see it in action. There were two gentlemen who came for books. One guy was on the phone with someone for about 45 minutes reading numbers from the back of the books to another person. He then picked out some books and grinned REALLY big. Afterwards we decided that he was probably going to re-sell them all on Amazon and make big bucks because I sold them to him for 50 cents. Another guy had an actual machine that he held up to the books. I think it scanned those numbers on the back and then he could tell what they were worth. The best people to sell to were the kids. They would just find a toy they loved and carry it around begging until their parents relented and handed over the quarter.

It felt so good to see the floor of my garage. Nothing went back into it - we filled the van (without seats) three times with all the stuff we donated. I have a long way to go, but I am bound and determined to de-clutter if it's the last thing I do. In that same vein, I have found a great book. It is all about the connection between the state of our homes and the way we feel. The book is apartment therapy: the eight-step home cure.  The author has an eight week plan to "fix" my housing woes.  I just have to wonder if he can send over a few carpenters and tile setters while he's at it.  The basement project continues, however the backyard deck and fireplace will have to wait till spring.  My desire to leave education has left us without my income.  I have been looking for something to do from home for months and finally found a great part-time position working for a PR firm.  I'll work from home, have minimal hours so we have enough extra cash for groceries, and I can still be more involved in the kids' lives.  It's so nice to get some good news.

If the job doesn't work, I think I could make a living helping people with their garage sales.  It only takes one time to figure out all the mistakes and how you can make it better!


blackbird said...

Hey! Good for you!

Anonymous said...

Hoorah! THis is GREAT NEWS!

JESSICA said...

Congrats on the new job!

kbreints said...

Oh that is great-- I lwasy feel better after a trip to goodwill to donate and declutter a room!

Cat said...

Congrats on both the successful sale and the new job!

Katie said...

Congrats on the PR job!!! You give hope to everyone who is currently in a crappy job. :)