|* photo credit|
My husband pretty much dreads garage sales.
But–I’ve been cleaning out rooms.
The spring cleaning urge is simmering and my get-rid-of-pile is growing.
As the spring buds begin to emerge, we’re getting closer to the start of the garage sale season.
My husband doesn’t want to know if something we own came from a garage sale.
He is slightly mortified by the idea of people rifling through his personal belongings while we sit quietly by in lawn chairs.
But, I say that it is easy to make the case for the worth of garage sales.
For instance, last spring…
I sat with four friends for several hours just relaxing and catching up while we “worked” at our garage sale.
We needed that excuse to pull out the chairs and sit around doing nothing.
The kids played.
And strands of friendship were knit even tighter.
And then there are all the incredible treasures I’ve found at garage sales.
One time, I was 2 hours away from hosting a baby shower for a friend. I stopped at a garage sale on the way home from the market and asked the seller if she had a punch bowl. She wasn’t planning on selling hers, but when I mentioned my search, she went through her cupboards and pulled one out and sold it to me for almost nothing. I went home, washed it out, and used it an hour later for my friend’s baby shower.
A few years back, our daughter Laura prayed we would find an American Girl doll at a garage sale. Even after I made several faithless attempts to fill her with doubt, God answered her prayer that day because He knew it would show her 7-year-old-heart something special about who He is and His love for her.
There is also the huge opportunity that a garage sale creates for meeting neighbors. Instead of driving in and closing the garage doors behind us,
We open the doors.
And spend the day sitting out in the driveway just inviting conversation.
Garage sales also invite generosity. My favorite challenge is to out-bargain a bargain shopper…
The conversation often goes something like this:
The shopper: “Would you take $2 instead of $3 for that stuffed moose?”
Me: “No…but I’ll sell it to you for $1 if you agree to also take the purple pig.”
I love that kind of bartering.
And I can’t help but note my favorite garage-sale-celebrities…everyone in the area knows them.
There is Motor Cycle Man.
In our town, your garage sale isn’t official until he has passed by on his motorcycle looking for electronic gadgets (he’s been at every garage sale I’ve ever hosted in our last 16 years).
Also Grandma Lorraine & her Side-Kick-Friend .
She loves to buy lotion for a good price and will never leave without giving you a hug.
Garage sales are the perfect melting pot for strange reconnections as well.
Last summer, I joined a garage sale at a friend’s house and one woman who came to shop looked very familiar.
Through tears, I realized that she was “Dr. Erin”…one of our special doctors from when we were up at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in 2008 with our daughter Selah.
That same day, a favorite teacher from the old high school where I once taught, came treasure hunting and I met her newly adopted daughter.
I love garage sales.
Last season, I also stopped at my friend Krystol’s garage sale.
She’s my friend through garage sales.
Over the years we have seen each other at different garage sales throughout the area.
One year I sold her a stroller for next-to-nothing and helped answer a prayer of hers. The next year, she passed along some children’s clothes and helped me out. One year, at my sale, we discussed her plans to homeschool and I sent along a pile of curriculum that another garage-saler had given me for free. The following year, she passed back what she didn’t use and we reconnected again. Last year, I bought a Laura Ingalls Wilder book from her and realized how much our children have grown since that first garage sale where we met.
Two springs ago…
Our daughter told me about a new neighbor’s garage sale. I agreed to walk down with her and found they were selling the exact car seat that I had been searching for.
So for only $10 we had the car seat we needed for our new baby. I met our new neighbors for the first time and we have traded baby clothes since then.
I realize there is a bit of an “icky factor”…old things, used items…
Sometimes more trash than treasures.
But it’s so worth it.
Garage sales break down walls.
Remove stiff barriers of formality.
And get you talking.
I know I may not convince everyone, but I’m convinced.
There’s something bigger and better about a garage sale than just making a few extra dollars.
When that garage door opens and life slows down to the stand-still of bartering over whether an item is worth a quarter or a dime…
Generosity tends to win out and bridges are built.
And that’s my case for garage sales…