The Yard Sale


By Vicki Todd

Somehow, I knew in my gut I would not be good at the yard sale thing. I remember saying just a year ago to my friend Dannette: "I would NEVER have a yard sale. It's better to donate everything and take the tax write-off." I shrugged my shoulders, turned up my nose and proclaimed: "What a waste of a Saturday!"

That was before the pending transfer to Hong Kong. Suddenly, when faced with an international move and way, way too much stuff...I don't know what came over me...too much to drink? My brain short-circuited, I panicked--I planned a moving sale. I committed myself (no, not to the asylum!) by placing an ad in the newspaper--no backing out.

Now this in itself doesn't sound so bad, but did I have to plan the sale for the day after returning from a house-hunting trip to Hong Kong (another article), where I was gone for six days and never slept more than five hours each night? Is this early dementia, or am I just plain nuts?! During the house-hunting trip, it quickly became obvious: We would not be living in Asia in the space to which we had become accustomed in Atlanta. With two adults, two children one very large dog and a fuzzy rabbit, we will be adapting to, and learning to enjoy togetherness in a teenie-weenie high rise apartment smaller than the first floor of our current house. I started to reassure (if not exactly convince) myself a yard sale would be a really good thing, since it would force me to pitch the shit--there's no way it could all go with us.

Upon arriving home on Thursday, I went into a manic state--I carried anything and everything that wasn't nailed down out to the garage for the sale. When the garage was full, we started throwing the junk outside on the lawn in the hope that someone would come steal it all in the middle of the night so we wouldn't have to deal with it. To make matters worse, I not only put my junk on display for the whole world to see, I had the sale with a friend who is the most organized woman in the world. (Not Sherri--she wouldn't have anything to do with any of this.) She actually gave me book on "How to have a yard sale." She made pretty signs to hang up, brought tables and baskets for people to shop with, tents in case of rain. Her sale stuff was nicer than the things in my house that I was keeping. All her stuff was new, in bags and neatly labeled. My stuff started to look extra shabby, treasures that had been in the basement, under beds, and in storage for years. In the final hours before the sale, I went in search of more items...better, cleaner, nicer things to put out next to hers. I pulled out the living room furniture, patio furniture, Christmas tree, lights, freezer, TV's--soon the house was empty and the yard was full.

By midnight Friday, I was delirious from the combination of lack of sleep and jet lag. I fell into bed with my clothes and makeup on (this would save time the next morning). I set the alarm for 5am so I would have time to price "the stuff" before the first bargain hunters arrived. Minutes later (it seemed), the alarm blasted in my ear and I dragged my tired, achy body out of bed. To my surprise, my husband got up too.

"Brad, what are you doing up?"

"I'm going to help you."

I soon figured out he had no idea what time it was and thought he'd slept eight hours--I wasn't about to tell him the truth!

My friend Joanne and her husband arrived with donuts, a cash belt, and more tables for my junk. My yard took on a weird, bargain basement/boutique look: Joanne's side looked like a sale at Saks Fifth Avenue; my side looked more like TJ Max. The official sale was to begin at 9am, but people started arriving at 7am. I quickly sold my $3000 patio furniture for under $200 and by 9am, I thought it was noon. As the day passed, I watched my treasures of twenty years hauled off by strangers. Surprisingly, I didn't feel maudlin--I felt cleansed and like a heavy weight lifted off my shoulders. The clock finally reached 2pm and I announced to the small crowd that everything left was free. They went into a frenzy that looked a lot like vultures fighting over road kill. Everything disappeared in minutes.

I walked into the house and through all the empty rooms, thinking silently to myself (couldn't say this out loud, Brad would divorce me): "With all that stuff gone, I need to go shopping!"

© 2003 Vicki Todd and The Rebel Housewife, LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

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