Monday, September 26, 2011

Trash to treasure

I hate garage sales. It creeps me out, the thought of pawing through a strangers things - or having strangers paw through my things. 

But my garage is overflowing with stuff. Some mine, some Chrissy's - all stuff no one is using, partly because we don't need it, and partly because we can't get to it. 

Chrissy came up with the idea to hold a garage sale. For me, that meant cleaning out a closet and sorting through totes of household items and decorations in the garage. What a chore. Altogether, I'm sure I spent a good five hours preparing, then four hours that day, holding the sale. 

Did I make money? About $30. For nearly ten hours worth of work, that's not a good return. Until you to stop to consider just how those hours break down. 

Forget the five hours prepping (read: cleaning and sorting). That needed to be done regardless if I sold the items, donated everything, threw it all away or elves came to take it in the middle of the night. 

Also subtract at least an hour from the day of the sale. If I hadn't been working the sale, I would have spent that time (and some gas) carting stuff around to be donated. Instead, a bunch of stuff was picked up - by people who just showed up at my home. 

I still have a bunch of household items that I didn't sell. I have enough curtains to furnish a whole house, several table covers, some towels that are hardly used - even bedding. I found what appears to be a good organization that will take these donations and make sure they get to people who need them more than I. 

I also have a bunch of books I need to unload. I quickly figured out that my local library accepts donations, some of which are resold at a local used bookstore. I can't use them - and I don't want to store them anymore. This way, they can either be enjoyed by many, or used to raise money that ends up back in the community. 

What I sold was all decorative stuff; candle holders and holiday plush decorations, and scented candles and a few assorted odds and ends. One woman's granddaughter was enjoying a stuffed snowman so much - and her grandmother was loading up on finds - that I just gave her the toy. 

In a flash, just like everything else that day - my trash became her treasure. 

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