Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Yard Sale Time
Our house has gradually gone from "tidy and organized" to "pretty cluttered but comfortable" somewhere in the last decade. It's been starting to feel really cluttered for about the past 5 years, but I like to live by the rule of let's not get carried away...we can organize that tomorrow, so it's been getting worse. Lately it's been feeling like it's actually closing in. I can't see any wall space that isn't hosting some piece of random furniture, stack of books, or orphaned ottoman. Don't bother trying to put anything away BECAUSE THERE'S NOWHERE TO PUT IT. We have a lot of space, but unfortunately, also a lot of stuff.
We all know what that means: It's Time.
So, two weeks ago I finally gave in to my family's repeated suggestions of "Why don't we just have a yard sale?", usually said in the same tone as "Hey, why don't we just go for ice cream?" I've been resisting this suggestion for about a year, because I remember the last yard sale being a nightmare of sorting through our entire house, dragging it all outside, and then spending two days talking myself hoarse (I actually lost my voice) selling it and chatting with neighbors, then loading up whatever was left and donating it to Goodwill.
I think the clutter is possibly worse this time.
Our youngest doesn't really remember the last (only) time we had a yard sale, which was about 8 years ago, so she's like how hard can it be? We put some of our extra things outside, and people come to our house and give us MONEY for our old stuff. Sweet.
When you've had 28 years of life together and raised two kids, and have only had one real yard sale, you don't simply "put some stuff outside".
You guys. We have been tearing our house apart, drawer by drawer and shelf by shelf, for the last two weeks. Picture basically moving out of your house, but without actually opening the door. Every single thing we own, every book, every DVD, every collectible, every garment, every dish and plate and craft item and box of crayons and set of matching bathroom soap dispenser/cup/trash can/rug/shower curtain...has been taken out of its previous resting place, considered, and either put in the "out" pile(s) or cleaned and put away. Every. single. thing.
I found things I didn't even know we owned. Curtains that have never been used. Duplicate copies of books and movies. Lamps we forgot about in the backs of closets. Unframed Monet prints. Rabbit feeders. Seven packs of playing cards, three of them unopened. (UNopened. Just--why). It turns out I still have three (THREE) Kitchenaid stand mixers, from my bakery days. Something like 8 springform cake pans and 10,000 bottles of unopened food coloring and airbrush colors. There's a giant bowl full of what looks like enough pencils to put the whole third world through grade school. I pulled out all Those Clothes that haven't fit in a decade, tried to avoid saying wow, was my butt actually that small? out loud, and pretended to be unsentimental about putting them out.
It looks like there was an explosion in a Pier 1/Toys R Us/Michaels/Macys strip mall, and it landed in our dining room, office, and spare bedroom.
Actually...there's a lot of really cool stuff here. We're definitely not getting rid of any junk...it's more like we're just downsizing our life.
We started week before last, and I think we're finally more or less done conquering the downstairs at this point, after spending literally all day again yesterday until 8 p.m., doing an even more ruthless sweep of "If you haven't used it in the last year (or decade), get rid of it!"
I still have to go upstairs (cue Jaws music) and see how it looks, but our youngest has got a good start on it and has torn apart the whole floor already, so if I'm right, I *should* just have to go through the bookshelves and decide do I really need EVERY one of Tom Clancy's novels? Will I ever use this knitting machine that I bought in 1988?
Then we just have to carry all of the upstairs...downstairs, and then outside.
Of course, we still have to sort through the garage storage racks, all my old cake decorating tools, a storage shed, the attic, and the garden shed, set it up and label everything, and we're home free.
What does feel great is that, in every room, we have literally cut the volume of stuff in each space by at least a third. The bookshelves, cabinets, shelves, and closets are now all perfectly cleaned, organized and very sparsely and tastefully populated. There are actually a lot of empty shelves in some of the closets and cabinets, because what's left is the stuff we actually use.
I feel like Martha Stewart is definitely my spirit animal this week...
I'm not looking forward to the rest of this week, but I am REALLY looking forward to seeing some uncluttered spaces in our house again.
And...I've promised myself a comfy new living room chair (or two) with the money we raise, because the ones we're still using are unfit for use unless you throw a sheet over them. Not even kidding.