Garage Sales – It All Must Go!

Have you ever had a garage sale? I’ll be honest… I am 35 years old, and prior to May 31, 2009, I’ve never even participated in one. Sure, I’ve had thoughts before about gathering up all the stuff we keep saying we will garage sale but in the end, we would have a garage sale pile of a few items, a tote or so to be sold on Ebay, and an even smaller pile to go to Goodwill. Those piles would sit around, and sit around, and sit around until eventually they became re-absorbed by our collection of stuff.

But desperate times call for desperate measures… We spent a week going through the garage, the basement, and the barn gathering up anything we felt could be sold. The gathering part was great because it also forced us to clean up the garage, the basement, and the barn. As we were cleaning, we’d come across totes of items that had not been unpacked in years. There were times I’d come across something trival like some decoration that I had once had in my college room or something else similarly as old, and each time I’d find myself trying to figure out where that item could fit in our existing home with our existing decor. No matter how old the item, no matter how ugly the item, no matter how impossibly useless the item was, I’d stop and start picturing where the item could go.

Thankfully, my rational side would kick in after a few minutes, and I’d tell myself firmly (silently, in my head because talking aloud to yourself can open an entirely different can of worms) that if the item had been boxed away for this long without my missing it then I really didn’t need the item any longer. It was liberating, really. After a few items got tossed away or placed into the garage sale pile, I started to feel empowered.

The garage sale was a huge success in my book. We took home very little and made more money than we had expected. Afterwards, Marc and I were talking about how funny it was that initially we were so hesitant to part with things that seemed to have “sentimental value” although we couldn’t really say what sentiment it was exactly. Some of the items had just always been there… the thought of parting with them seemed odd… as if somehow that period of our lives would be no more or would be less significant.

That garage sale got me to thinking about how many “things” I am holding on to: pain over promises broken, anger over one thing or another, guilt over things I had done, guilt over things I didn’t do but should have, sadness, resentment… the list is quite long. Some of what I am hanging on to has been boxed up for a long, long time and is old, so old that I am not sure I recall the details… just that I was hanging on to “it”. Some of what I am hanging on to has grown, changed and morphed into something that not even I recognize and yet, I hang on to it. It’s as if these “things” are who I am and if I were to get rid of one then I’d be lost or find myself drifting.

But the reality is that just like with the garage sale, I’d feel liberated and empowered. And just like I discovered when cleaning up the garage, the barn, and the basement, these “things” take up a lot of room… room that could be used for better purposes.

So, my challenge to you is to take a look around and really examine those “things” that you are holding on to – are they benefiting you in any way? Are they part of the legacy you wish to leave? If not, toss them out. Make room for the “things” that really matter. You’ll be happier that you did.

Jessica

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