Garage Sales

I think we had a total of four garage sales over the last month as we tried to free ourselves of the possessions that held us bondage, but it wasn’t until we started taking things to the curb that our neighbors came out to support our endeavor. The first three sales had meager turnouts, to say the least. I think we had a combined total of fifteen people, half of which actually bought something.

There’s a certain amount of disgrace when someone haggles you down on a price and then asks for change. Twice did people haggle something down to a dollar or two and then hand me a hundred dollar bill, saying that it was the only money they had. The first one was a hispanic woman who seemed to take offense when I held it up to the light to make sure it wasn’t counterfeit. My wife wouldn’t let me accept the other one so the guy had to run back to his house in order to get a smaller bill.

We finally managed to sell all of the stuff that we thought had actually value, except for our washer/dryer and a teak TV cabinet. At the end of the sale last Saturday, we posted signs that said “Take what you want; leave what you want,” and directed people to put any money in the mail slot. Part of the reasoning was that I didn’t want to move everything back to the garage and part of it was that I really wanted to experiment with an honor system garage sale. To our surprise, we made about sixteen dollars that way.

When we finally moved the rest of the stuff to the curb on Sunday, it was gone within the hour and our old house was empty. We have a lot of good memories in that house. It served as our home for the first two years of our marriage, a lot of ups and downs, and a lot of good friends. But it feels good to be starting a new chapter.

It took a few days for all of the stuff we kept to find its place in the lighthouse. Five hundred and fifty square feet isn’t as spacious as it sounds, especially when you don’t really have any corners, just eight short walls. But we managed to fit most of it and came to final terms with more stuff that we really didn’t need.

That has been the lesson for both of us: how much stuff we really don’t need. Of course, it’s a lesson I’ve learned before, but it never hurts to have a refresher course. Neither of us really has any inclination to own much of anything ever again and feel pretty secure in the idea that anything we’ve moved into the lighthouse can just stay there when we move on to the next place.

We still have our eyes fixed on France for next year. Maybe now that the dust has settled and we have gotten past the stress of moving, we can start our French lessons. Viva la difference!

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