Back in January I wrote about the challenges of downsizing our possessions drastically as we prepare to move from our giant national registry of historic places base home to one that is... drastically smaller. I am here to report some progress on this front.
Downsizing is hard.
So every year the base has a base-wide garage sale sometime in May; the last few years I have avoided it because, well, May. Two years ago I pulled out at the last minute because I was afraid it would be the thing that would actually send me to the institution, but this year it wasn't an option. I faithfully kept taking stuff to the basement storage room loosely organized as "GIANT ROOM OF GARAGE SALE STUFF." About three weeks before I spent a day I could ill afford to spend away from working on The Phone Photography Project and worked on organizing areas of stuff; Maddie and I sorted scrapbook supplies into like categories, kitchen stuff into one area, baby stuff into another, and so on. It was nearly impossible to cross from one side of the room to another without putting oneself in peril.
On Thursday before the garage sale I tidied up our loosely organized areas of stuff.
On Friday before the garage sale I started to haul it upstairs.
I vastly underestimated the amount of time it would take to haul 80 billion things (unpriced things at that!) up the stairs. I lost track at 60 times up and down the stairs, mostly because by that point it was 11:30 pm and Matt and I had a moment of utter marital danger in which we were both angrily wondering WHOSE BRIGHT IDEA WAS THIS GARAGE SALE ANYWAY. In hindsight, it was wise for him to bow out at 11:31 and go to bed, while I persevered until 3:00 am hauling/pricing/staging inside my entry way/dragging stuff to the porch that wouldn't blow away.
Because did I mention the wind? And cold? Oh, yes. Wind. And cold. I woke up at 6:05 am on June 1 to a wind chill of 33 degrees. Crap was blowing off the porch as fast as I could set it out. I had to put on my winter coat. I nearly had a meltdown in my front yard on Saturday morning. It was fantastic.
But then people started to show up. Not the looky-loos who come out on a nice day—no, those people had the good sense to stay home. The hard core people showed up though, money in hand, and bought stuff. Every single toddler thing we put out—Hawthorne House (oh my gosh, that was hard), toddler bed, play kitchen, toys, puzzles, 150 books (no lie—I sold about 150 books), furniture, the Most Annoying Lamp of All Time (worked perfectly but had a little pull chain that clinked on the base that drove us literally i n s a n e until we stashed it in the basement a few years ago), etc. The best was when the odd scrapbooker would come up on the porch and discover the scrapbook supply portion of the sale. It was almost comical to witness the wide-eyed glee—even despite the wind and cold, people hauled off boxes of stuff. A few tubs, even.
85% of what I tried to sell, sold. As for the rest: I donated over 200 books to the library book sale room, plus some more to the annual Delta something or other book sale in town (I can never remember the name). I took three van loads of stuff to Goodwill. I kept out some craft supplies to donate to Freedom Elementary's wonderful art teacher for her art room and took those things to her on the last day of school. I have another donation pile that will go to Busy Bees, our beloved preschool. We found a late buyer for Matt's router and saws, and those will go today. I drove to Fort Collins to sell our Kelty to a lovely woman from Greeley; I internet-snooped on her online before I went to make sure she wasn't an axe murderer (she wasn't) and had to reassure my friend Kelli that the exchange had gone just fine when I posted this picture on Instagram while I waited for her:
I find it hilarious that this is the ONLY picture I have from this entire process. A weirdo shot of a gas station parking lot. It nearly did me in, all this selling off our belongings, because you know I take pictures of everything.
When all is said and done, I will go down in history as a garage sale urban legend.
$1237.50, friends. $1237.50.