Summer Yard Sale: Question of the Week

  • Growing up, it seemed that our household had a perpetual “for the next garage sale” collection of items set aside.  The annual garage sale would be quite a grand event.

    I remember setting up tables in the garage, lots of long tables, covered with items marked with little price tags.  We would still be getting things ready when visitors started to ring the doorbell asking to get first dibs on the selection.  But my parents were loath to open the garage door until at least 7:00 am.  The early birds arriving at 5:30 am would just have to come back.

    The good thing about the annual sale was that unused items were purged from the house on a fairly regular basis.  Anything in excess would be included in the next sale.  During my adult years, garage sales have become fewer and fewer while the number of persons combining households under one roof has grown.

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    In an attempt to clear out some space and reorganize our current household (in preparation for the permanent addition of another household’s worth of belongings), we have begun to organize for the neighborhood annual yard sale which occurs this Saturday.  Each summer one day is chosen by the neighborhood association during which you can sell (or give away) your excess belongings.  Fortunately, the high temperature expected this Saturday is estimated to be only around 85°F.  

    Choosing items, used or new, with which to part is not as easy a task as it once was.  Items are often purchased with the idea to redecorate or complete a project at some later date.  Hobby supplies collect dust, as do boxes of knickknacks from childhood, precious few heirlooms from grandparents and great grandparents, or a vast collection of books and music accumulated during the pursuit of three music degrees.  

    With the assistance of other members of the household, current and future, I have been trying to separate the sentimental and favored belongings from those which are simply taking up precious space.  Not such an easy thing to do if members of the team do not view items in the same light.  My goal is to optimize space (and to let go of all the “incomplete projects”) while creating room for another person’s belongings.  It is a daunting task which has ruffled more than a few feathers in the process, but so far we have identified 100 items which need a new home.

    Emotional Attachments: Past and Present

    How many things are there that you can no longer do but for which you hold onto the physical items associated with those activities?  How many times have you started a new project only to succumb to mental and/or physical fatigue and fail to return to complete the project?  Life circumstances change and sometimes you just must adapt however difficult that may be.  

    I remember when I lived alone, it was easy to keep a tidy apartment.  I didn’t have too much stuff because the bulk of my “childhood belongings” were still residing in my parents’ house.  I had only what I could store within my apartment, just enough of what I truly needed to take care of myself.  Life was more simple, physically and emotionally.

  • Just as we accumulate experiences over the years, I imagine that we’ve all assembled a vast assortment of “things.”  With each experience comes another layer of complexity, and enrichment, to life.  Finding a way back to simplicity sounds like it should be a easy task...but it’s not.

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    As difficult as it may be to let go of connections to the past and the “what could have been”, it is more refreshing to look at life in the present and re-imagine how to maximize “what is” in the here and now.  This is not about giving up on goals or desires, it is about  adapting and thriving.

    My Question of the Week:


    What do you do on a periodic basis to make room for the here and now, mentally or physically? 


    Lisa Emrich is author of the blog Brass and Ivory: Life with MS and RA and founder of the Carnival of MS Bloggers.

Published On: July 18, 2012