Please stop me

Since last Saturday, I’ve told all who will listen:  “If I ever tell you I want to hold a garage sale again, please slap me.”  Many have commiserated with me, saying garage sales are lots of hot work and long hours for very little monetary return.  Others mentioned how they hated seeing people pick through their stuff, even though they’d decided to let it go.  And, you need a charity pick-up to take away what’s left over….so why not skip the middle step and just give it all away?  Think abundantly and pay it forward!

What I most disliked about the garage sale experience, though, is the person I became during the experience.  Mired in the clutter, dust and sweat, my thoughts were often ones of resentment for how hard I was working, or of exhaustion at the weight of the accumulated stuff.  This mindset and fatigue translated into one mean and crabby mom.  Both my daughters experienced it.  If they asked me for anything during those days, my response was a heavy sigh, and anger when the request took me away from my project.  Many times I was so preoccupied my youngest gave up talking to me.  At the end of each day, both my body and my heart ached.  I not only separated myself from things that I was emotionally attached to, but more importantly I’d alienated myself from the ones I love who also share this space with me.

My teenage daughter called me on it this week, saying that if I really didn’t want to do something for her, I should just not do it, rather than doing it in anger and being mean while doing it.  She’s right.  I was angry and mean.  I apologized, and asked her to stop me if I ever even thing about another garage sale.  We laughed.  For all the growing up I witness in her, she gets to see her mom do some, too.


  1. Toni McMurphy says:

    Maria, I was planning a garage sale and am now thinking twice… Thanks for sharing your story…

    • You’re welcome, Toni. Thanks for reading it! After posting, I got a call from a friend who reminded me of his garage sale experience, and that the tax break he got on the eventual donation equalled just about what he made in the sale. So, skip the sweat and early morning and give it away at your convenience! Take care can let me know if you need any more reasons not to do a garage sale!

  2. Lisa Hinrichs says:

    Maria, I think that a couple of years ago you had a sale and reached a similar conclusion. The memory of the misery must have faded with time. I think this is why women have second and third children too.

    • You’re right, Lisa! Just like childbirth, given enough distance from the pain I’m willing to do it again! And, like in parenting, I repeat the refrain, “And this time, I mean it!”

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