94: The Yard Sale Party

94: The Yard Sale Party

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less

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The Yard Sale Party

People coming together as a community can make things happen.

~Jacob Rees-Mogg

We have a real estate agent who markets our neighborhood and gives us a great gift each year — he sponsors a “Neighborhood Yard Sale!” He buys ads in the local paper and puts up signs to direct traffic into our neighborhood. We simply need to open our garages, haul out our unwanted stuff, and reap the financial benefits.

One year, I decided to make a real party out of the neighborhood yard sale. I got busy on the phone and asked several friends to join in by hauling their own offerings over to my driveway. As the time grew closer, we kept each other accountable as to our progress and challenged each other to release more and more of our unnecessary possessions. Why is it so hard to part with things you haven’t used in years? I realized it was also getting quite competitive! But with the added energy and support, it seemed just a bit easier to release your once “prized treasures” into the hands of others.

We decided that we would all meet on Friday night with our boxes of sale items so we could semi-arrange them before the sale started early Saturday. What an array of stuff arrived at my doorstep — kitchen items, clothes, sports equipment, books, music, office supplies, camping gear, artificial Christmas trees, dishes, jewelry, and garden stuff. There was even a bathtub, remnants from a recent remodel! Over pizza, we talked about the game plan for the morning and shared laughs about the memories attached to so many of the items.

The next morning arrived way too early but strong coffee and donuts got us motivated and we started hauling our assortment on to the lawn and driveway, each lady carefully displaying her wares in her designated zone. As we all sat down to await the arrival of our first customers, we took in the splendor of the view, realizing that it was more of a confusing mess than splendor at all. We also had a friend arrive with one last item — a box of kittens!

As we sipped more coffee and munched more sugary treats, one by one we started to offer some ideas on how our display could be improved. Within thirty minutes we had transformed our mess of merchandise into a mini retail outlet! We had our clothing, sports, housewares, holiday, and garden departments each neatly displayed along with a small music and bookstore. We put the “pet store” near the cashier so that any potential buyers could be properly interviewed to assure the kittens were going to a good home.

As the morning moved along, we needed to consolidate areas as sales were made and more space opened up. It was like a perpetually renovated store that took on new dimensions with each passing hour! So many people lingered just because of our friendly banter and discussions over prices and new ideas for arranging our mall. Some shoppers even offered their own ideas of how to make the remaining items more appealing!

By the end of the day, we were exhausted but filled with such joy. Not only were we each getting some much needed cash as well as less congested homes, but we had enjoyed a day of laughter, creativity and time to talk with friends and neighbors. Our yard sale party was a gift to treasure for years to come!

~Joan Wasson

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