This time last week we faced an enormous task: emptying a 10x10 storage locker, moving it to our former home, sorting, pricing and preparing for a yard sale, scheduled for the same day a hurricane was due to visit Maryland. Now, the day before, when flying up from TX, we enjoyed a smooth flight – with an empty seat on our row! Then we relaxed with kids and grand-kids, girding our loins so to speak for the “reveal” day.
So, Thursday a week ago, we rented a truck, and began unpacking the contents of the storage locker; what did not go home, went into a locker one-fourth the size. Two friends pitched in; our daughter-in-law gave up her last days of summer vacation before beginning a new academic semester and joined the insanity wholeheartedly: loading, moving, unloading. Then, our daughter and son-in-law’s living room and porch became a mountain of Smith clutter. And the sorting began: this stays, this goes, this is trash; the “this” was a pile of priceless pieces of a long and happy marriage.
Friday dawned – the sorting continued while the pricing began. What’s realistic? What’s not? We had some help from an antique dealer who gave us a few bottom lines, and educated us: some stuff we thought was valuable were just decorator pieces; some stuff we thought was knock-offs were the real deal. Throughout the run-up to the sale, we tended a busy three-year-old and eighteen months-old who doesn’t know how to walk; he runs! Our daughter-in-law brought crafts and kept some semblance of quiet. We worked until 10:30 P.M.; my daughter, taking the occasion to purge her “collection” worked until midnight! Projections of bad weather the day of sale slowly became firmer. Did we have a fall-back plan if rain was a reality on Saturday? No.
Saturday, the big day began at 6:00 A.M. We awoke to a humid morning, hints of sun shining through clouds; our son-in–law had secured tables for us, so we quickly began transferring the inside on my daughter’s home to the front lawn. Buyers showed up at 7:15 – before we finished unpacking. The cloudy skies were a mercy; the humidity was not. Sell, sell, sell – you offer, we deal – that was my mind set, closing my mind to the memories. That is, until one yard-sailor demanded how badly I wanted to get rid of a carpenter’s chest? I preferred consigning it. By one we had loaded up the truck and deposited what was not sold to the Salvation Army. Our unsold books went to the A.A.U.W. And nary a rain shower!
Then, we collapsed – taking a long nap!
Was such an effort worth it? Money -wise, we made some. But it wasn’t the money that made Thursday, Friday and Saturday worth it. (Next time I have the urge to purge, my “junque” goes to Salvation Army directly!) What made these three days great for me was the people who helped and those who came to the sale – the helpers’ time, kindness and strength were invaluable. And those who came to sale, some shared genuine compassion, understanding what it means to “downsize.” We also got to see friends we hadn’t seen in many years, who promised to give our stuff good homes.
Some of the lessons of the last week are still percolating – but, given all the possible problems, I know God heard the prayers for us – His kindness was overwhelming! From giving us many loving, helping hands, re-routing the rain, to having a good time with kids and grand kids – to getting rid of stuff we can no longer use, God is surely kind.