This past Friday and Saturday we had a garage sale at our house. I had debated on whether to have one or not this year because they seem to be a lot of work. I had quite a few things pile up however that I wanted to get rid of and it seemed like a garage sale might be the most effective way to do it.
The sale went very well. My parents and Keren brought some stuff over and my sister Keren also came to help on Friday. I did put a simple add in the newspaper and put out a few signs. To simplify things I only priced a few things and then had a sign that said that everything was 50 cents each or 3/$1. I had many people comment on my low prices but I know I like to get good deals when I go to a garage sale and to be honest I was wanting to get rid of things.
We put out some items for free like a broken down bike, a little fridge that didn't work (we told them that), a pretty worn out treadmill and a broken desk chair. We were so pleased that people were willing to haul them off! We were also able to sell our big and heavy upright piano (because Mom and Dad had a nicer, smaller one waiting for me to have space- it had been my Grandma's). We also sold for a good price a brand new WII that Ken had won. (We decided that wasn't something we really wanted or had time for.) Another great thing about the sale was getting to talk to some people about church and our current kid's program and found some definite interest. I was pretty excited about that.
The old piano, ready to head out. It was a little bittersweet as I have had and enjoyed playing it all my married life.
Since this weekend was very nice for getting rid of stuff I was really in the mood for organizing our whole house, rearranging and getting rid of even more stuff. I had on my list for today: Fold about 5 baskets of clothes, wash and hang out on the line all our dirty laundry, rearrange and clean the living room and the boys room, clean the kitchen, mop floors and on and on.... I am not sure why I get quite so carried away with my planning but it seems to be part of my nature. Oh well, I never feel bored!
The new piano, isn't it sweet?
Well I didn't quite get that list done but I (the kids too actually) jumped in and got a lot done. A couple of hours into it I was sneezing like crazy from the dust we had stirred up (I am pretty sensitive to that). By the time Ken got home I was pretty much feeling sick. I thought about never cleaning again- which the kids thought was a great idea but Ken didn't seem to think so much of the idea. To bad! :-)
This past year has really left me desiring simplicity. It has been so easy to accumulate a lot of stuff. I am seriously not much of a shopper but that doesn't seem to matter, we have lots of stuff anyway. The truth is we need some stuff, here in Northern, MN we can't go outside in the winter unless we are properly clothed in winter gear, in order to learn we need good books, in order to make good food for my family I need the right equipment but at the same time there is much stuff in my life that I don't need. All it does is get in my way, make keeping my house clean a chore and adds stress to my life. It is my goal to get all of that stuff out of my house and passed on to someone that it brings joy to.
This simplifying process is something I am still in the middle of working on but I thought I would share some of the ideas that have helped me to make a little progress:
- Only keep those things that I know to be useful or believe to be beautiful or brings me joy. Of course the thing is when you have a family (and for us that is 6 different people) it takes a bit of figuring to find out how everybody sees the stuff we have. But we are working on figuring that out.
- Think long and hard before bringing anything new into the house! I visit very few garage sales because of this goal. When you do go to garage sales DO NOT feel like you have to buy something just to be nice. It is okay to look and leave without getting anything.
- Think "how many can actually use of this item?" I know that I will sometimes collect things because we use them but then the collection can get a little out of hand. For instance clothes for my 3 year old. I was given a bunch (which was nice because we needed some) but when they wouldn't all fit in her dresser I needed to make some decisions. I did some counting and decided that she probably didn't need 20 some t-shirts and a dozen or so pairs of shorts (especially since we have very few days that even reach 80!).
- As a general rule don't be sentimental. Of course I am not this way on everything but I am beginning to realize that I don't need to keep every letter that I have received over the course of my life! (Am I sounding a bit like a pack rat to you?)
- Be realistic! What are you ACTUALLY using? I have had a tendency to think "I will use that someday" or "we might have a baby over someday that will love to play with that toy". This year at the garage sale we got rid of some toys that the kids wanted to get rid of but I almost held onto because we might have somebody over that has kids that might want to play with them. Then I realized, you know what?! If we have a baby over they would probably enjoy playing with my plastic containers and wooden spoons as much as any of those toys.
- Just because we love to read doesn't mean we need to keep every book (which is lots! ) that we ever collected. Some books outdate, some aren't the quality that I really want for my kids and some I would rather actually use the computer to gain that information than look it up in some old book. It is alright to be picky! I also got rid of some cookbooks because I realize that if I need some certain recipe I can always find a bunch online, I don't need a dozen different cookbooks.
What are you tips for getting rid of clutter? I would love to hear them!