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-turns – by us and other drivers!
Garage sales are best negotiated by a team of two – a 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,
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!
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.
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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