It’s All Relative… To Yard Sale or Hoard?

Thank you, Cozy Coupe, for your years of service.

Yard sales we have held since we’ve been married: 2

Ugly things we got out of our home this weekend: 127

Things I didn’t want to sell and begged to hoard instead: 12

Full disclosure: I may, possibly, come from a long line of women who don’t like to get rid of stuff.

This is an unpopular concept in today’s world of reorganization, revamping, renovation and “Hoarders.”

On the one side, I have my mother, who is convinced that I throw away everything that isn’t nailed down. On the other, I have my husband, who gives me that look when I get attached to, say, a platter.

This past Saturday was our neighborhood yard sale. My husband got very hyped up about it, the way one might get if one were preparing to compete in an Ironman triathlon or the Iditarod. He trudged up and down two flights of stairs to the attic and garage and back, shirtless, hoisting things and swearing for about a week ahead of time.

My son got excited the way he does when we throw a party and there are going to be his two favorite things: people and food. In the case of a yard sale: people and money.

My husband begged, cajoled and bribed me to clean out the guest room closet.

Dude. Just because there are five garbage bags of towels and sheets with holes in them that no one in their right minds would ever touch, much less dry his body with does not mean I have a problem.

I threw away bags of stuff. I sat down in front of the guest room closet door and read through scenes from my past: recommendation letters for my CNN internship from my cute Psychology professor and my Tinkerbell-like drama professor. Floppy disks (!) with copy for newsletters and flyers and ads. Newsletters I created at my very first job, writing profiles about teachers in a local school system. (Which was somewhat humbling, because I am now almost twice that age and still writing profiles about teachers.)

The evening before the yard sale, my husband brought home a price labeller thingie. It was making me edgy. It looked efficient and businesslike, and there was a lot of stuff that was getting labelled.

Namely, my daughter’s aquarium that used to hang on the crib rails. I remember the first time she learned to kick it to turn it on in the middle of the night. I was tired. So tired. And when I heard her cry that night on the baby monitor, then the distinct click of the aquarium switching on, it was one of the sweetest sounds I’ve ever heard.

This Saturday, we played it for our kids before we put it out on the driveway.

“Creepy,” my son pronounced. “That music is creepy.”

I really wanted to keep it. But it’s gone now. As my BFF said this morning on our run, what am I going to do: sit in the middle of my living room floor some random Thursday evening and play it?

But along with the sentimental items, there was a whole lot of junk. In England, when my husband was growing up, they called similar events “jumble sales.”

It was a jumble, all right. As I sat on a nylon chair in our driveway sipping coffee, I felt two things: embarrassment at the low-level junk we were displaying in front of our house for everyone to see and relief.

The first things to go were some kids’ soccer cleats that were barely worn. I’m so glad they will go to a good, soccer-loving home. And when a lady asked me if she could buy a huge, stinky candle for one dollar instead of two, I couldn’t say yes quickly enough.

My husband is right, of course. We needed to get rid of things so that our attic doesn’t catch on fire or baby clothes come crashing through the rafters onto our children as they sleep. The headline would read: “Crushed by Junk.” So that’s good.

But I can’t help feeling a little victorious about the things that didn’t sell or get donated: the red Cozy Coupe that my grandmother got at a yard sale and my son’s bunnies-on-a-cloud mobile that played the Everly Brothers:

“Dreeeeeeam, dream, dream dreeeam,

Dreeeeeam, dream dream dreeeam

When I want you

In my arms

When I want you

And all your charms

Whenever I want you

All I have to do

is Dreeeeam dream dream dream…..”

And in other news, I wanted to thank Dennis Langley at Hare’s Tales for the ABC blogging award. Dennis, I really appreciate it!

I will do a brief ABC-themed, yard sale-themed nod to the award:

A is for Awkward, which is how I feel when selling my old stuff on the driveway in front of my house.

B is for Beloved, which is what the items are that I can’t part with.

C is for Cash, which will help us pay for a laptop for our son eventually.

Out with the old junk and in with the new, I say.

Congrats, new ABC Award winners! And now for some blogs that you should be reading, if you aren’t already:


Rantings of An Amateur Chef

Random Thoughts of a Crazy Woman

And they all start with R… how’s that for knowing my ABC’s??

18 thoughts on “It’s All Relative… To Yard Sale or Hoard?

  1. Daryl says:

    Even I couldn’t part with Bunnies on Clouds singing Dream, dream, dream…
    Thank you for parting with so many pieces of junk, I mean memories.

  2. David Gentry says:

    Anne, I really look forward to your posts, and they never disappoint. I can see a book coming.

    You and Daryl are brave for having a yard sale. I don’t think your mother and I would be up to it. I guess we will die happy pack rats.

    Love, Dad

  3. Melissa says:

    Ahh….the cozy coupe…we still have ours and there’s a bit of an age difference between our kids. Fortunately, though he won’t admit it, hubby is just as sentimental as I am when if comes to the kids….now the bad poetry I wrote in college, that ‘s another story.

    Thanks for the award! It’s always great to be told your awesome 🙂

  4. Stephanie says:

    Good for you! PURGE! PURGE! PURGE! (I’m the one who’s always trying to get rid of stuff in my house)

  5. crubin says:

    My husband and I are the opposite of hoarders. If an item has served its purpose, it’s either off to the mission or on the front berm, where it lasts all of about ten seconds before someone in a big old pick-up truck picks it up.

    That being said, I did save a favorite toy of each of my children from when they were little, their blankets, and my boppy pillow. For some reason, I just couldn’t part with that boppy. Too many happy memories. 🙂

  6. vanster101 says:

    and i cleaned my closet! So how about that???? Now our attic, and my closet are wonderful…i think. 🙂

  7. jmmcdowell says:

    We just had the annual neighborhood garage sale last month. Having moved to a smaller house, we really needed to get rid of some stuff. Fortunately most of it sold. There are some things I’ll never part with (too much sentimental attachment), but others are just things that should go to someone who has more use for them.

    Congratulations on the award!

  8. First of all, you have a Price Labeller Thingie! I don’t …
    Second, my grandson just got the Coupe last week!
    Which, third, means someday I can get my daughter a Price Labeller Thingie (of which I was deprived – insert sad smiley face)
    Fourth, I’m gone for a couple days and get your wonderful shout out – thank you!!
    And, fifth, if ever there is a drunk guy on your roof trying to get in the window, at least your closets and attic will be clean. Rest easy.

    • annewoodman says:

      Ahhhhhhh! Your grandson will LOVE the Cozy Coupe. Given the amount of use by all the kids on our street over several years, we could have paid $1,000 for it and gotten every penny out of it.

      On your fifth point (and your hilarious post): my attic being clean will only allow a drunk guy on the roof more space to move around. But, I guess the good news with that is that at least I will hear him!

  9. You know, I was so mad at that neighbor. Not only were we up with all that crap for a couple hours, but my husband was going out of town early that morning so the alarm went off at like, 4:30am, and he had a 6-7 hour drive ahead of him. I was home alone all weekend. I wasn’t afraid, I didn’t have any reason to think the guy was either harmful or he would return, but I was SO MAD. The doorbell must have rung 4-5 times, and I knew it was the neighbor, and I would not answer. Kept the garage door shut, and never talked to them again. It’s silly, but I was so mad.
    Just remember, don’t shoot the guy, he’s a good family man.

    • annewoodman says:

      Didn’t Hall & Oates make a song about that?

      I think I would be mad, too. Neighbors’ friends who attempt to climb into my house might require homemade baked goods or some similar forgiveness ritual on their part.

      Plus, if you say you weren’t worried after that, but I think I would have some form of PTSD. I would hear a bird land on the roof and start hyper-ventilating.

      • I think it’s because I realized that the guy had absolutely no intentions of doing harm. Also that I was so astounded at something like that, I’m not sure it registered. And then probably the mad took over as a self defense.

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