Terrified. That’s the word. Procrastination. That’s the result. Or, that was the result until this past Sunday. Me and the kids threw our very first garage sale. Here’s how it went down, and the lessons learned.
Discussion of a garage sale began about 2 years ago, but I won’t start that far back. I could start 2 months ago when I finally got tough and spent a day with my mom clearing out half a shed, the bedrooms and closets and stacking everything into the kitchen. But that was a scary long time ago as well.
I’ll start back a few days ago.
I realize that although the garage sale is on Saturday, I haven’t attached more than 3 stickers to our pile of stuff. I set out with the intention of simply setting prices, but quickly realize that some of this stuff’s dust has procreated. Dust bunnies everywhere. Okay, wet rag. Get cleaning and pricing. Call kids over to help. Mom stops by and prepares to lecture me on my disgraceful laziness (in the nicest possible way) before realizing that we are in full garage sale prep mode. She can sleep tonight.
I post listings for huge garage sale on Facebook and Craigslist. I tell friends about it. We three musketeers soldier on with adding price stickers to every item that will be sold. There’s a lot of shit. The kids start bickering. It is a merry-go-round of what are you doing you shouldn’t be doing it that way that’s actually mine and I don’t want to get rid of it why are you still sitting there anyway you’re so lazy can I have this oh you don’t use it anyway when’s the last time you’ve used it you are so bossy that’s the price you’re putting on that you’re crazy no one is going to pay that much money for that nobody asked you goodness just wait and see. So yeah, it’s a real good time. It’s too bad you’re missing it.
The kids do not have the clutter-free, everything-you-don’t-want-goes-into-this-bin milieu that I was expecting. We start looking under dressers and beds. Fml there’s a lot of shit. Well, seeing as money isn’t currently in abundance, I decide to rejoice over everything that might possibly sell. That positivity lasts some time, then it wears off. After hours, an entire day, of adding price stickers to items and mediating preteens, grumpiness sets in.
It isn’t until evening that I remember that I have a choice. This experience is going to happen regardless, and I can make it a fun challenge or an anxiety-enveloped potential disaster. It’s all in my mind. This is our first garage sale. I’ve been talking about doing this for years. I’ve told the world it’s happening and I’m doing the work to make it happen. I’m a fucking winner already! I’m getting out of more comfortable place, trying something new, teaching my kids at a young age to do what’s taken me so long, we’ll be making money, we’re together as a family, and something else.
With every decision I make to sell something, I feel a little weight lifted. This is proving to be an exercise in cleansing not only our home, but my mind. I’ll have to ask the kids for their thoughts on the process. Anyway, I get committed to being as prepared as possible and keeping a happy face and positive attitude. It’s gotta be better than this fear, right?
What is this fear, exactly? It’s the fear of failure and the fear of sunken costs. What if no one comes? What if I make no money at all? What if it turns out to be a huge waste of time? What if the kids see me fail? What would they think of me? Well, what would they think if I keep talking about something and doing nothing about it? Right. Buckle up, Lyz-Stephanie, this garage sale rollercoaster has begun.
Alarm goes off at 5:45am. I take one last look around the house and change price tags that with time’s passing seem inappropriate. We start setting up the carport with items for sale. We make decisions about layout. My mom pulls up with more garage sale signs. I hop onto my bike to place more signs around the neighborhood. Mosquitoes start attacking me and my daughter. My son calls register duty. We wait. We wait. I post about the sale once again on every social media outlet and group. We wait. Someone shows.
Short version: People trickle in at a painful pace. We extend the sale to most of the afternoon. By the end of it, I don’t feel like a winner. We’ve barely made money after a lot of work, and now we have the task of bringing everything back inside. I had said goodbye to this stuff already. We had parted ways.
Imagine signing your divorce papers, thanking the judge, and walking into the same elevator as your now ex-husband. It’s like, fuck, I just said good riddance to your ass. Why am I still looking at you? That’s how I’m feeling with this shit back in my house.
However, I decide that in front of my kids my comments will be positive, even if my thoughts aren’t. After all, the negative aspects of this garage sale experience will fade, but the lessons I’ve been learning will last throughout my life.
As I think about Sunday’s portion of this blog post, I do some stretching to music. My body is tense. It mirrors my inner turmoil–the fight to stay positive when I’d like to punch positivity in his face and get back to the comfort of safety.
Instead, I think of my writing, and I focus on my body.
Things I Learned
- I didn’t die. The garage sale wasn’t what I was hoping it would be, but I survived. Annoyance and time are small prices to pay for numbers 2-
- There’s relief in just getting it done. All questions that surrounded me having a garage sale are gone. It frees me of some anxiety I’ve been carrying around.
- The number I was expecting to earn at the sale was far more than what I actually made. It’s reminded me that in these stressful times, I still have a natural (maybe unnatural) sense of optimism, and optimism is always beneficial.
- I pushed back fear, which is something that has held me back in the past. Every win against fear is a point in favor of confidence.
- I’m no garage sale expert now, but I’ve learned some of what works and what doesn’t work.
- I treated myself to a nice long session of stretching, which I may not have done otherwise.
My name is Lyz-Stephanie and I want to inspire you to live a more interesting, fulfilling and beautiful life. Think of me as your well-being and happiness guide. I know that things aren’t always easy. Life doesn’t drop dreams into our laps, but every day we can do something to make our lives happier and richer, make our minds more active and engaged. I’m on the journey. Will you join me?