Ever since my Cleaning Out, Paring Down post in May, I've been going through every drawer, every closet, every shelf, box and cabinet in the basement and throwing things in plastic storage bins. I've been pricing items and organizing them by "department." Housewares, lamps and lights, textiles, vintage, furniture, books, CDs appliances and home improvement.
I placed ads on Craig's List and posted flyers on telephone poles around the neighborhood. Through the tiny bulkhead, I dragged the undercounter refrigerator, the rugs and rolls of fabric, the microwave (which I'm perfectly happy to live without), the tables and chairs and the several bins of collected and unused stuff out for a yard sale.
The crowds came. It was a madhouse for about an hour. I could have sold some things three or four times. People were gleeful. People shelled out good money for CDs, used duvet covers, mismatched drinking glasses, odd silverware, kitchen towels, pillow shams, old light fixtures and a pull-down map of the world. And, thank God, that refrigerator! I was cleaned out. Only eight items made their way back in to the house.
Not only did I clean out the house, I gained an understanding. I understand how so many people NEED yard sales. Students need yard sales to set up their first apartments. Teachers need yard sales to buy music, books and supplies for their students. The man who helps new families coming from the Dominican Republic needs yard sales to buy pots and pans, bedding, drapes and towels. The down-on-their-luck need yard sales to stretch a dollar just a little farther. The Jamaican woman who lives in a one-room apartment at the elderly housing complex needs a yard sale for a quick "sit-down" and a friendly ear to hear about her diabetes and how to make a proper green plantain porridge.
On Tuesday, the chiropractor straightened out my back and I licked the wounds of my reality smackdown. I am lucky. And I am truly humbled.