From Where I Sit – Just Gravy


In the days leading up to the May long weekend the annual spring roundup has begun. After skipping last year, my sister, mother, and I are gearing up for our yearly multifamily garage sale. Sherry lives right in town so we use her address to capitalize on the location.

If everyone is as sick of this loooong winter and reluctant spring as I am there should be a lot of pent up interest in getting outdoors and rifling through other people’s bargained-priced castoffs. So far, I haven’t had the luxury of time to go treasure hunting myself. Nor did I want to freeze my butt off.

We bought a newspaper ad and hung posters in three or four communities to publicize the sale. The posters highlighted a few categories of goods (household, tools, perennials) and named big-ticket items like an oak dining set and our two leather chairs. My posters ended with the smart aleck line: “If you want it, we have it. If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.”

It’s that attitude that sets our sale apart. It’s a game. We have fun. We are hard-sell but in such an over-the-top way that people laugh even if they don’t spend a dime. Our sale day poster should bring a smile: “Our prices are in ink not stone. Reasonable offers considered.”

It’s funny how it goes. Things that were keepers last time, and for all the times before, are now fair game as they go on the sales block. Did we wait too long to let them go? Will anyone want the set of Cobra two-way radios? At first, they were great when we needed to talk to each other as we combined in the fields. But when we got cell phones they became redundant. Hopefully someone will want them as high quality walkie-talkies for their kids.

I’ve downloaded songs onto iTunes so I’m able to part with some music CDs. It isn’t as easy to let movie DVDs go?especially since some of them may be Hilary?s. The whole book question is another sticking point. I’ve got some duplicates, and others I could part with, but they are notoriously poor sellers at garage sales.

As I prowl around the house opening closet doors and kitchen drawers I need to get real in my assessment of what we really need and how often we use the item. Do I really need sixteen steak knives when we prefer chicken or fish? Do I need my old Rolodex when my smart phone holds my contacts? Should I keep the thirty-six inch trampoline because Grady may jump on it twice a year? Why do we still have the oars and foot pump when the inflatable dinghy was sold years ago?

Making money and knowing our things will live on with someone else are two good reasons to go through all this. Rethinking buying habits and reclaiming some much-needed space are just gravy, from where I sit.

Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites..

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