The above shows my “Yard Sale Pile”. It isn’t so much a pile as it is a spot. Anything in this group of boxes and items is bound to leave the house. Only a few items have been retrieved from here, and that is usually to give to someone who needs it. Beyond that, once here it stays here. Among this group of soon to be immigrants (out of my house), there are several who have resided in this spot for some time.
Because I haven’t had a yard sale.
Because I did have enough stuff to make it worth my time.
Because I liked my stuff and didn’t want to see it leave. I need it.
Because I might use it, even though I haven’t used it in the last 5 or 10 years. (Yes, there are items that fit those descriptions.)
Stop It! You are starting to sound like my preschooler.
Do you realize you are talking to yourself?
This past year I have slowly begun to feel the closing in of “stuff”. It isn’t that there is more than before, though that is part of it. I think the point is that other areas of life are not as chaotic as they have been in past years. With slowing down and getting out of crisis mode is the fact that you start to look around and ‘see’ again.
When I started to read again last year, I stood in front of my book case for the first time in 2 years and couldn’t find anything I wanted to read. There was a mix of kids, adolescent, college, and Bible study books. There are several adult books that are my favorites but I wanted something new. I had already told myself that I was not spending money to buy new books, so to the library and the internet I turned. I found free downloads for my ereader and started a list on the library’s website.
Think about this. I had a whole bookshelf full of books and felt like I had nothing to read. And that was a year ago. Since then I have read some of the books, but I’ve also added some to the collection. When I stood there again today I began to see books that I hadn’t touched in 10 years, ones that my husband and I used to read out loud on long car rides (those aren’t going anywhere because they are so well loved), ones from when I was a teen but didn’t think they were worth saving, and others that I knew I would never use again. It was time to do something about it. I started by choosing one book, then realized I could get another book with my other hand. Soon I had taken several off one shelf when the shelf above caught my eye. In a span of 5 minutes I had cleared off 22 books. Out came a box and in the books went. This is Stage 1 of yard sale preparation – Gather items you no longer want or need.
Stage 1 is the building blocks of a good yard sale. If you don’t have it, they won’t come. You can’t have a yard sale if you don’t have stuff to put in one.
This is also the longest stage, at least to me, because you have to go through your house. Sure, I could grab a few boxes and fill them by walking around the house in about 20 minutes. Doing a good job decluttering takes time though, even if it is only a few minutes a day. You need to stop and ‘see’. See what is really there, if you have used it recently or if it is just taking up space. There were several books that held fond memories for me and were hard to let go of.
- One held an inscription on the front page from someone special in my past. I realized that the book meant nothing, but this particular page did. Out came the page and the book went into the recycling bin.
- Another book reminded me of my early teen years and how much I loved reading it. Then I realized there was no need for me to read a fictional book about taking care of kids when I now had my own to cuddle, hug and love on. This book is not going to be read in the next 10 years, if ever, in my house so why hang on to it longer? Into the yard sale box it went, waiting for some other girl to come along and enjoy it.
In clearing off the shelves I also came across items I decided to keep, even if I haven’t used them recently. Why? Because I know that they will be used in the future. My compasses for example, and yes there is more than one. When I worked outside the home I used these quite a lot, and I LOVE using them. It is fun. Not only do these items then hold memories, but they are things that I love and enjoy. I look forward to teaching my kids how to use them to read a map to find their way, as well as how to make a map. So, while they may not have been used in the last 5 years, they will be used in the future. Of this I am certain. These items are staying.
Stage 1 is somewhere I am going to be staying for a while. And that is okay. One thing I don’t plan on though is being stuck here. I do have an end goal in sight, a deadline you might say. More on that in another post.