Every six months or so I declare my Semi-Annual PURGE WEEK. I attack every corner and closet over five days, ridding our home of excess and clutter, my mind of unnecessary sentimentality, and I produce an admirable pile of STUFF. We usually donate everything, but this year we had enough to hold our own yard sale with contributions from some family and friends, too. My whole prep-week was a blur of making signs, organizing, pricing, gathering, re-organizing, and convincing myself that I could enjoy it all instead of being anxious.
The morning of, I was armed a roll of masking tape on my wrist and a marker in my pocket (for re-pricing) and my sling backpack stuffed with cash to make change. The sale was advertised to start at 7:30, so naturally we had customers at 6:15. I couldn’t believe it – to be honest, I was a little miffed that we had people pulling up that soon. All my “merchandise” was stilled boxed and I couldn’t put it on display with the early birds pecking at it so insistently. One person tried to push me into making a sale, but I smiled apologetically and explained that I wasn’t making any deals until 7:30 – I needed the time before to finish prepping. The gentleman muttered all the way to his truck. Some might say that it was a mistake – that a yard-seller shouldn’t turn down cash when it’s offered; but, the bird bath they wanted sold right at 7:30 to someone much more courteous and sweet – no qualms here.
Once things got going and my driveway was full of shoppers, I was delighted at the well-oiled machine before me. My signage around the tables indicating sections, pricing, and discounts was doing the trick. People were having a good time and making great conversation while I fluttered around straightening items as needed. One guy was thrilled to get a set of Guinness coasters from Ireland for $1; another lady breezed through my tables in less than a minute but approached me with arms full. Little kids giggled over stuffed animals and movies and new grandparents made mad grabs for my “stuff a bag for $3” baby clothes table. The highchair I thought would be gone in the first minute lingered for several hours before I sold it to a mother in desperate need; but the section of half-full cans of old paint cleared out in no time. It’s so funny what people will buy. If I doubted that anyone would be interested in a particular item, sure enough it would sell within 15 minutes. My favorite part was when just a lone customer sauntered through briefly and before leaving said, “Well ma’am, I’m sorry, but I don’t see anything here I can’t live without.” I just said, “Me either!” and we both laughed.
Throwing an event like this was a blast. What a great way to spend a Saturday morning: visiting with strangers, enjoying my in-laws who came to play with the kids and keep us company, and relishing in the perfect yard-sale-weather God could have ever bestowed for a Loosiana July!
The objective was two-fold: get rid of clutter and make money. Aside from the stipend for my column in the Catholic Connection, I make no contribution to our checking account. While I know my work as a housewife and stay-at-home mama doesn’t yield financial gain and that Andrew is the one who serves as provider, there are times when I really want to bring something to the table. We have discussed and agreed that our Team Sciba Mission involves me at home and him at work and that it is what is best for all four of us. Occasionally the idea of going back to work interests me just because it would be something new and different; plus it’d be nice to bring home a slice or two of bacon; but at the end of it all, this is where I’m happiest and where I can best serve my family. By the end of the sale, we had tripled my anticipated profit (I had low expectations) and I felt like a million bucks (<–not how much we made). It was so gratifying knowing that I achieved it through taking care of our home and family this way. We got rid of extra junk and put a few more dollars in the bank all from me just doing what I do! and in the middle of Don’t $pend a Penny*, too! Praise God for such a fun and successful time!
*(Which, by the way, is going pretty well! We almost caved Saturday night to get a pizza from Papa Murphy’s to celebrate our success, but opted for home-grilled quesadillas instead. It was a challenge considering how wiped out we were from the whole day, but it was worth being proud of ourselves for sticking to the game.)