What I learned from my rummage sale


On Saturday, my mom, my sister, and I cleaned out 18 years worth of accumulated stuff from our basement and attic.  We cleaned out everything from my mom’s shoulder pads from the 80s to the Santa Costume my dad use to wear every Christmas.  Yes, there were a lot of sentimental memories, but mostly there was just a lot of stuff.
And let me tell you spending three hours in a sweltering hot attic makes you wonder why you ever thought you needed these things in the first place.  My mom has this theory that every time you buy something you should think of how it will look when you’re selling it at the rummage sale.  In that case, I might pass on the next three for one sale at Kohls, or splurging on the latest fashion fad from Forever 21.
 I have to admit I can be a real sucker for the latest trends.  In middle school, all the kids were buying North Face Fleece coats.  I longed to be one of those girls walking to school in a brightly colored North Face holding a Starbucks latte (even though I didn't really like coffee at that age). Sure I had a coat, but I NEEDED to have a North Face.  It didnt matter that it was 80 dollars more expensive than my current, equally nice fleece.   Everybody had a North Face so why shouldn't I? 

For Christmas my mom finally caved and got me the North Face.  For the first couple of months I wore it every single day . But as soon as it was no longer in style I was on to the next fashion trend and long and behold the North Face ended up in the Good Will pile. 
 As I looked at the boxes of stuff covering almost every square inch of our garage, I wondered to myself how we ever got to accumulate so much stuff in our lives?  What could I possibly do to get rid of this stuff in an organized and efficient way? 
It was time to play the elimination game.  In our family we do this by creating three boxes: a keep box, a rummage sale box, and a throw away box.  Everything that has sentimental value or functionality in our daily lives goes into the keep box.  All the items we’ve convinced ourselves we need, but haven’t used for a couple of years go into the rummage sale box.  And everything else goes into the garbage.
Playing the elimination game can be an emotional process.  Most of the things I found in my basement and attic were filled with rich memories from my childhood.  I wondered if throwing these things away would mean that the memories would go away too.  But when I saw the beaming smile on the little girl who  purchased the flower pillow that I received on my tenth birthday I couldn't help but to smile.  I watched her skip down the street with the pink pillow tucked carefully under her arm pit.  The memories started coming back to me one by one.  Oddly enough, instead of losing the memories, the process of organizing my stuff was helping me to become reaquainted with pieces of my childhood I had long forgotten. 

By the end of the day the amount of stuff sitting on our front lawn began to shrink, as did my energy.  Getting rid of stuff is not only emotional, but also physically draining.  My mom poured me a glass of her best wine and we sat in the backyard to celebrate our productive day.   Cheers to a successful rummage sale and making room for more peace in our lives!

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