Monday, September 7, 2015


Labor Day weekend.

Every year our little town has a community-wide garage sale extravaganza.  And on this weekend, cars and people go a little crazy!

Necks craned, lookie-loos converge, and the streets are not safe for driving! 

It's a bit like being in a demolition derby – as one has to be extremely alert not to hit or get hit while negotiating sudden stops, willy-nilly changes of direction, and abrupt u-turnsby us and other drivers!

Garage sales are best negotiated by a team of twoa driver and a navigator/lookout.

This is why "The Hub" and I are really good at this whole garage sale thing.  He drives, I look out for hazards – he decides where to go and when, I look out for bargains!

But before I tell you about our adventure, I've got to share a bit of trivia.

Do you say garage sale, yard sale, tag sale, or rummage sale?  

Practically speaking, there is no real difference.  

Some of it has to do with where you live.  (For instance, on the East Coast the phrase "tag sale" is more often used.  I've also noticed this regional difference when people interchangeably use the terms, drywall or sheetrock, lightning bug or firefly, submarine sandwich, hoagie, grinder, or poor boy!).   

OK, so, I have to begin my garage sale ruminations by telling you about our *only-once-and-probably-never-again* experience with our own garage sale.

We held one a few months before we put our previous home on the market.  

Deciding to rid ourselves of some of the mountainous amount of stuff I had accumulated in almost 29 years, trying to downsize before having to move it all, we decided to venture into the wild and woolly waters of a weekend garage sale.

I'm not sure I've ever worked harder in my life!

Here's some of what I learned:

The pre-organizing is tiresome and stressful.

Especially when one of you is a packrat, and the other loves to wean and winnow.  One person is saying, "When's the last time you used/wore that?" – and the other person is saying, "I can't give that away.  It has sentimental meaning."  (Bonus points if you can figure out who's who...)

So, the *deciding on what to sell* can be a tedious process.

Mr. Give-It-All-Away and Mrs. Keep-Everything-Forever worked very hard to come to an acceptable compromise – (which meant a lot less went on the "chopping block" than "The Hub" would have liked to see!).

OK, then there comes the staging time.

This is when you put prices on everything.  Some people use tags – which is fine.  But, they're more expensive and time-consuming than stickers.  We used stickers.  But honestly, then comes the challenge of deciding where to put the sticker so it doesn't ruin the item.

I worked hard to find stickers that wouldn't stick too much.  Because one of my biggest pet peeves is stickers that won't unstick, or the ones that leave a gummy residue, or discolor or tear the item in the process of removal.  GRR!

Deciding on prices is also difficult.  

You expect bargaining, so you want to set your initial price at a good starting point.

Too high?  Too low?  

Endless second thoughts.

Second, it's a good idea to make signs and place them in strategic locations.

Up here in our little town, the local paper publishes ads and a map to aid in searching for participating homes.  When we did it ourselves, we didn't place an ad.  But we did make signs.  I used neon-colored poster board, with VERY LARGE (and legible) letters to advertise our location and time.

Visible and eye-catching – that's the objective.

Because I don't know about you, but little signs with little lettering in lightly-written ink are extremely hard to read.  And, slowing down to figure out where the heck you're going – well, it can lead to those sudden stops, willy-nilly changes of direction, and abrupt u-turns that I mentioned before!

Finally, the day for the sale comes.  

Hold on to your hat!

The actual day of the garage sale is like one big sociology/psychology experiment.  You'll find that you will observe the most unlikely and surprising human behavior.

First, people will show up early.

This is one reason why I learned that it's a good idea, if you can, to lay out the stuff IN your garage before putting it out.  This prevents people bothering and pestering you before your preparations are complete.

Because, sure as the sun will rise, scavengers people will be out and about way before your posted time.  Like circling vultures, they'll pounce long before you're ready.  You can make some good sales at this time, but if you're not prepared, you'll just find yourself saying, "We're not open yet"which is ridiculous when the "store" is your driveway!

Most people are pretty normal and really nice.  

Others defy the laws of explanation!

I vividly remember one guy who sped down our street, came to a screeching halt, and left his car running while he jumped out and ran around our driveway.  After a muttering five-second perusal, he ran to his car and peeled off to another destination.


Another guy threw me (in my opinion) a very low-ball offer for a set of glass, brass, and mirrored display cases.  I had picked what I thought was a quite reasonable price for each, and he proposed the same price for all three!  I counter-offered, and he started to walk away.  (Yes, I know this can be a tactic).  I was feeling stubborn, and refusing to cave in, until "The Hub" gave me *The Look* – you know, the one that says, "When are you going to use these, I don't want to move them, he seems like a nice guy, some money is better than no money at all...").


Then there was the couple who looked through a box of books.  In very good shape.  Which we had priced dirt cheap.  And then, complaining that our prices were too high, they offered a bargaining price that was laughable. Because I didn't like their rather haughty attitude, I chose not to bargain.  Then smugly watched as they drove off in their ironically expensive car.


(I guess I'm not a good garage-salesperson at heart.  For though my objective should have been to get rid of stuff, I found myself personally insulted at peoples' attitudes.  Harumph!)

Which brings me to another point.

I wasn't prepared for being offended.

Some people were unreasonable, some were rude, some were downright dismissive.

I found myself experiencing old insecure feelings.

It brought back memories of not being chosen for a team, or not being invited to a birthday party, or left out of the popular circle of cheerleaders and song girls in high school.

You see, though I had determined that this stuff was stuff I was willing to part with, I wasn't prepared for people not liking my stuff!  

Ya know?!

So, my advice is to detach yourself from your stuff.  (Which is very difficult for me, which is why we STILL have a lot of stuff!)  For instance, don't expect someone else to appreciate the nostalgic value of your old VHS movies and cassettes…ahem.

One last thing that I learned is this – when the sale is over, almost anything and everything that you put out on the curb with a *FREE* sign will magically disappear overnight.  


When all was said and done, we made over $400.  Which was great – except for the emotional roller coaster of that weekend!  Harassed, haggled, and harried.  That would sum it up for me!

I have discovered that it's much more fun to be a buyer than a seller!!

Which brings me back to our Labor Day weekend garage sale bonanza.

Yes, we were successful in our searching!

We found some old western frames and pillows, a cute western mirror, a wooden toilet paper holder shaped like an outhouse, some porcelain figurines for my animal collection, a book about ghost towns, an electric sander, a miniature tea set, and a slew of other little things.

What fun!  

But honestly, can I finish this post without bringing in some sort of spiritual application?

Of course not!

So, here's what I want to say...

Looking for stuff is fun, but we must never confuse stuff with treasure.  Earthly things can enhance our comfort and convenience.  They can help grace our homes with a personal touch.  But, we must never become overly attached to temporal things.

For our treasure does not lie in this world.

"Do not gather and heap up and store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust and worm consume and destroy, and where thieves break through and steal.  But gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven...For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." 
(Matthew 6:19-21, AMP)

"'Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.'" Luke 12:21, NLT)

Second, searching for things can be fun.  Purchasing things can be fun.  But these things are not the first things.

Only God must hold this place.

And we must seek Him before and above everything else.

"'…seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.'" (Matthew 6:33, ESV)

"'I am the Lord your God, who has brought you...out of the house of bondage.  You shall have no other gods before or besides Me.'" (Exodus 20:2-3, AMP)

"…if riches increase, set not your heart on them." (Psalm 62:10, AMP)

And finally, let us never forget that we are a redeemed people.

The enemy of our souls would gladly discard us as worthless rubbish and meaningless junk.  He would gleefully have us wear the filthy rags of guilt and shame.  He would enthusiastically celebrate a life lived in the wasted ravages of sin.

And yet, destined for the trash heap, we were instead purchased by our Savior!

Worth nothing in our own right, we were chosen by the Lord God Almighty Himself!

Somehow in the rubble and rabble aftermath of the Fall, He still saw people that He loved.  People that desperately needed salvation.  

And just like that *garage sale treasure*He saw something worth saving.

Greatly cherished, He sought us and bought us.  And one day, He will bring us home to a place of honor.

Oh, what joy!

"God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.  This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us…" (1 John 4:9-10, NLT)

"You are not your own, you were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, AMP)

So, our garage sale adventure is done.  And I can't wait to do it again next year.  

But, in the meantime, I'll leave you with this one last thought…

Oh, the lessons to be learned…if we only go looking for them!!

One man's trash
is another man's treasure...

...or in my case,
every man's trash

is this woman's treasure?!

Go on your own treasure hunt adventure – look for the *gold nuggets* in these Scriptures!

R  "O Lord, You have pleaded my soul's cause; You have REDEEMED my life." (Lamentations 3:58, NASB)

E  "EVERY good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father…who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1:17, NIV)

D  "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will DWELL in the house of the LORD for ever." (Psalm 23:6, KJV)

E  "'I have loved you, my people, with an EVERLASTING love.  With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.'" (Jeremiah 31:3, NLT)

E  "'I am the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the END,' says the Lord God.  'I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come – the Almighty One.'"(Revelation 1:8, NLT)

M  "[He] said…'Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your MASTER.'" (Matthew 25:23, ESV)

E  "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have ETERNAL life." (John 3:16, NLT)

D  "And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, 'DEATH is swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever) in and unto victory.  O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?'" (1 Corinthians 15:54-55, AMP)

Have you ever held a garage sale?  What did you learn in the process?

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BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. such a thought provoking post, love you

  2. At our garage sale before we moved from Montana back to Southern California, a man who was looking at our stuff and me started talking. I always charge dirt cheap for items, just want them gone, LOL. He said to me "the only thing we can take with us to heaven is souls" (meaning the people we might administer to that through the power of Holy Spirit come to know Jesus.) After he said that, it really made an impact on how I looked at items and decided I would rather store my treasures in heaven than earth; so prices went more cheaper just to get rid of. I have learned it is easier not to individually price items; people ask, tell them a price, if they don't like it and want to barter, most of the time I will :)

    Great thoughts as always!


  3. Wohoo! Thanks Sharon! Love your acrostic of REDEEMED! however, I am not a "garage sale" person, scout or hunter... not even a "lookout" team player and I only participate in our church's Annual Yard Sale (for Missions) mostly because I am such a packrat and my bargain shopping does not include driving around from place to place---I'm a one place shop all kind of girl ... be it Savers, Goodwill or Wal-Mart. In Mexico, they have "tianguis" and a nearby colony has this every Sun. and I don't even venture there ... except once or twice in all 20 yrs. here just to drive and accompany someone there that really needs good deals (free would be best). I collect all my "stuff" and make a haul once in a great while to donate to Goodwill or our church's (if I'm there). I use to come home in time just to help at our week long tent sale at church. I have no idea about pricing or value. I value all my "treasures" and learned the hard way not to hold any stuff too closely from the fire that totaled our house and sooted so much of the other personal stuff ... that my heart still aches. I guess I needed your "spiritual message"! I was hoping that you'd have a photo of your "stash" that you found ... bonanza style. I'm not too good about bartering either and it hurts me so much when the "tourists" come and want to pay the vendors, who make their life earnings from selling their wares, the lowest possible price and they brag about their deal (when perhaps that's the only sale some vendors might make) so now the vendors are aware of this game and price accordingly. No, I'm all for getting a good deal, but not at some else's expense or worth. Fair price for fair work. Considerate of the cost it costs to make and then sell. Never taking advantage of the poor. This puts food on their table. {anyways, sorry, I went off on my speel} ... enjoyed reading as always and lessons learned! Thanks! (love, hugs and a big thank you for the time you spent catching up ... always appreciate your input but that was a long haul and really awesome to hear from you-I get concerned when I don't, ya' know) Blessings~ Peggy

  4. You are something else, Sharon!!! I just love you! I know the feelings of having your own sale, felt the stress and know that I will probably be facing one in the next year!! AHHHH!
    God gives us His perfect peace and allowing Him to reign is so very important. Thanks for giving me some food for thought!
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  5. What I learned is that people who come early are usually buyers that sell stuff on Ebay and make a fortune and drive nice cars. Garage Saling is a big game. Every now and then you meet a family who actually is having fun with it, happy to get whatever they can because they know where their true treasure lies. Even garage sales can be a witnessing tool....or not.

  6. Hi Sharon! My husband adores garage sales. Loves them! I wasn't brought up going to them, so it's not high on my list of things to do.
    We had a garage sale once. Like you said, the prep time is amazing. And just settling on prices was tough! The day of the sale, my husband came down with a fever. It got to the point where he was shaking in the bed from it.
    We had a trip to the ER where he got IV's and finally felt better.
    The garage sale did not go well!!

    May we all look for treasure in the right places, and remember that we are all God's special gems :)
    Happy Labor Day!

  7. Ours was a "Yard Sale." It was quite some time ago, and Robert says we need to do another one soon. a couple weeks ago, I did take some really nice dresses that for some reason are not my size any longer - and gave them away. Our garage and shed is full of lots of stuff (not clothes) but to get the energy to set it up is a chore. Probably we will end up donating it like the dresses. It is true that one mans trash is another mans treasure. And although the devil thinks we are worthless, Jesus says we are priceless. Thanks for sharing your delightful story with us here at Tell me a Story.

  8. I laughed at the last part. I know someone who seems to collect everything and has a hard time letting go of items even when there is virtually no use for it.

    I hope you can unload more of your items so you enjoy receiving more. :)

  9. Yes, we've held exactly one garage sale.
    Three days of hard work, but we made over $500...The funniest thing that happened is when our daughter came home for a visit in the middle of the sale and I tried to convince her to climb up into the loft and retrieve her tote full of Wizard of OZ paraphanilia (sp?) and either take it home with her or sell it...Well, she did take it home with her...five years later!
    I also remember a guy actually asking my husband what he did for a living up here (in the north woods)...I thought that was a bit intrusive, hmmm. I definitely felt judged sometimes though.
    One thing for sure....NEVER again, lol!
    I am trying to detach from worldly goods more and more...since we too are considering a move soon. Stuff takes too much of my time and thought, and life is just too short. But I like to decorate my home, and that changes with my there's always extra stuff stored away in the spare room which needs to be pushed aside whenever someone comes to stay.
    My treasure is in Jesus, but I can't help but wonder what he will place in that heavenly home that he is preparing for me...or is he going to leave the walls bare for me to decorate them myself? hmmm, makes you wonder, lol!

  10. I love yard sales, both having them and buying, especially since we have young children. I do hate, though, how much junk is still left at the end - I never want to bring that stuff back in the house. Once we had a parent get mad at us for selling her son a big item for .10 - it was something we really didn't want and apparently she really didn't want him to have it either!

  11. "And just like that *garage sale treasure* – He saw something worth saving." Thank you for this reminder. I dread hosting a garage sale. Most items we donate to a worthy community charity.

  12. You nailed this one, girlfriend...well, you always seem to nail! We love "yard sales" (that's what we call them here mostly). I mostly donate unwanted stuff to Goodwill, it's just easier for me and sometimes all that work just isn't worth it. We have had our share of yard sales though and it is a HUGE job. I loved your spiritual application, as I always do. This was a great post, Sharon :)

  13. Just reading this post triggered moments of garage sale trauma! lol! We had our share of garage sales years ago and finally we decided we would never do it again. It instigated a better routine of scouraging our home for unnecessary items quarterly and calling in an organization to which we could donate. I love the how you weaved in the spiritual component! So much to learn from a garage sale adventure!!
    Stopping by from #Reflect :-)
    Blessings and smiles,

  14. I love garage sales and so often I find at them things that I've asked God for or even thought that I need without voicing it.

  15. Hi Sharon, sounds lots of fun, and trauma, all in one weekend! Glad you got through it safely though, lol! Great analogy too. I will never look at a garage sale again with the same eyes :)
    God bless

  16. Never been big on garage sales, although I know some people who can find the best things at great prices. Such a great word that stuff is not to be confused with treasure.

  17. love going to garage sales. People throw out some of the neatest things.I don't like doing them. Did once, kids loved it but me, I thought it was just too much work. I'd rather give the stuff to someone free who can use it. Like what you said about stuff vs. treasure.

  18. Love the application and the adventure! In my business I've learned to have thick skin, but I've also learned that the last place I want the vultures at is my driveway!

    I also learned a few years back that the stuff we long to own can come to own us... and we're designed to serve One Master... the Lover of our souls. Good stuff. Thanks for the chuckle!

  19. Your adventures are so much fun! Garage sales are just too much work anymore. Our last one was a doozy before we went overseas and I vowed NEVER AGAIN. Ha, I sold everything anyway so what is left? But it is funny to watch the people at such an event. All kinds come for sure and they will haggle and haggle to get the lowest price, sometimes just bickering over a quarter! Thanks for tying it all together. Stuff vs. treasure. ♥

  20. Wild and wooly waters- haha
    Oh, I love how you bring it all back to the Scripture!! It's our play book for life!
    I say yard sale, native Floridian.
    Here from Tuesday Talk.

  21. Loved reading this! Great message!

  22. It's a lot of work to actually have one, but I do love to go on a good treasure hunt!

  23. I'm not a garage sale person but I sure loved your post. Stopping over from #livefreeThursday

  24. Yes, being the buyer is much more fun than being the seller. We had a rather large one years ago when raising money for JDRF. Several people donated stuff and it got a bit out of control. And I ended up sick. And I was starting a new job the following morning. I'm chuckling just thinking about that day. lol

    Love you, dear friend.

  25. Oh, my! You had me laughing out loud...literally on this one!!! SO funny, because I can SO relate to all you said. My husband said my mother-in-law reminds him of a squirrel when she is yard-saling. She darts in and out and back and forth and flitters like a little is downright hilarious. Yard-saling can bring out the absolute best....and unfortunately, worst, of people! Thank you for sharing this wonderful, funny post...I needed a good laugh today. Love you, sweet friend. :)

  26. It's "yard sale" in my neck of the woods. :) And I'm not a very good yard sale person either. My husband is though! So this year I went with him along the World's Longest Yard sale and had more fun than I expected. :)

  27. I say garage sale! I never go to garage sales but I have had two in my lifetime, both times when I was moving. It is a lot of work!

  28. I have two garage sales a year. I love to visit with the people and I can make a difference in someone's life too. Thanks for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop.
    Betty @ My Cozy Corner Co-Hostess at Katherines Corner

  29. Not going to lie, parts of this really made me laugh! Thank you for sharing your insight on #TheocentricThursdays. Your two posts to read and comment on are #s 3 and 4

  30. Oh my goodness: just the mention of "garage sale" gives me apoplexy. I love the lessons you've drawn & shared, too. The lesson that spoke to me the most both here and in real life is the one that entails assessing a value to something. One man's treasure is another man's junk & vice versa.


  31. We just had a sale too last month. Most people were very nice but we had a few of "those" people also. But I tried very hard to remember that everyone we see is a soul. And oh yes a yard sale is a lot of work but I felt so liberated when we dropped the last few boxes off at the Good Will LOL !!!

  32. Thank you for sharing with us at #JoyHopeLive!

  33. I need to have a garage sale or yard sale. Whatever they are called. I have to figure out how to get people to come down our dirt road, LOL.

  34. Smiling.
    What a fun place to find spiritual truth!

  35. Our neighborhood is fairly large and holds community wide sales twice a year. It's a pretty big deal. I love how you find the greater lesson in every day things.

  36. No garage sales for me. Too many people invading my space does not sound like a good time in any way. I love your ability to take garage sales and flip them to spiritual lessons. You have a gift.

  37. I loved reading this post this morning as my son & DIL are participating in, what is basically, an indoor yard sale for books & toys. They verbalized some of the very same thoughts last night when I spoke with them on the phone. Thank you for all the reminders but especially that there are lessons to be learned everywhere. May we have eyes to see what He would have us to learn today. Blessings!

  38. I have never gone to garage sales because I just cannot bring myself to purchase more stuff. But many of my friends say it is a blast. Your story tells me I might try because truly we can learn from any experience. Thanks for sharing.
    Coming to you from Theocentric Thursdays.

  39. Yard sales are hard work, but I love going to other people's and finding good deals and treasures! Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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