Friday, June 25, 2010

Garage saler can’t part with every memory

If one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, someone is bound to hit paydirt.
We have, after procrastinating for many years, made the decision to finally have a garage sale. As a family, we know now that we are complete, with no more babies to grace the high chair or the play pen. No more infants to require squishy toys or any of the three thousand little outfits we have accumulated over the past nine years.
But as in most marriages, there is one sentimental sap of a pack rat, determined to find a practical potential use or a direct tug at the heart strings for each and every item.
This would be me, and our entire basement is filled to the tippy top with tender memories and future crafty endeavors.
“My baby wore this outfit when we ate dinner at my Grandparents. I just can’t part with it.”
“I could probably take this gross of receiving blankets and sew them into quilts or bags or something. Better keep them.”
The husband is more of the everything-must-go type, ready to unload and free ourselves from the clutter that makes our lower level more like a museum/obstacle course than anything else. Not being able to stand it any longer, he pulled rank and, well, the garage sale signs are up.
I should say that I’m personally not a fan of garage sales, neither shopping at them nor having them. For some people it’s a great hobby or a way to find great deals, and that’s wonderful. More power to you! But for a frugal pack rat who despises shopping, there is nothing more painful.
Still, I sort and sift through boxes and bags of clothes I’ve been saving up, wiping away the tears of sweet memories with stained onsies and socks the size of my thumbs. Out of the bags come each item, some with mysterious stains that I swore were never there before, some still with a scent that makes my olfactory nerve connect straight to the lump that forms in my throat when I think about how great it felt to hold a baby so tiny or a toddler so wiggly.
Is something that precious worth a quarter?
What about the favorite shirt of a toddler, who wore it every day and night during the beginning of his camouflage phase (which still continues, by the way, four years later) and even wore the ratty thing for his two-year pictures? I probably couldn’t give that away for a quarter.
There’s the rattle that was the only thing to please a fussy infant, and once when I thought we lost it I scoured the town with phone calls and shopping trips until I could go no more. Broken hearted, I returned home to take off my shoes only to find the smiling face of Winnie the Pooh peeking out at me from the pocket of my jacket. There’s just no way I could ever part with it.
So as I sift and sort, I make piles that appease both parties. There is a giant trash can, for those mysteriously stained and torn clothes, the mismatched socks, the chewed up toys. There are bins, labeled and organized, with things I suppose I can part with if I want to be able to actually walk through my basement some day.
And finally there is a box for each child set out, marked clearly with his or her name and a bold message saying “memories. Don’t touch or meet your Mama Bear doom.” In those boxes I will store those things that I’m not ready to part with yet, and that are worth more than the average garage-saler is willing to pay. Unless, of course, someone wants to shell out $1,000 for a ripped up camo shirt, size 2T.

2 comments:

Koala Bear Writer said...

With us, it's the opposite - I'm the "we haven't used this in a year let's get rid of it" and he's the "yeah but it was a wedding present..." I just slowly declutter and take things to the thrift store, because I'm not into garage sales either. Good luck with yours!

Jen said...

can totally relate. not yet ready to part with a thing. :) loved this post.

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