I've never had a garage sale or yard sale before, and now I see why. They are a heck of a lot of work!
Last week, I flew to Atlanta to help my family with a sale—my mother moved in with my sister, and the house she left behind, which has been sold, was filled with stuff. Earlier in the year, we had cleared out the house itself and moved everything to the garage/basement (the house is built on a hill), so we gathered again to organize and open the big doors and take the cash.
On Thursday, Karen and I worked like pack mules to sort the stuff. After months in that musty room, everything seemed to take on a layer of grime and dust, so we aired it all out and put things with things. You know, like picking up an aluminum pan and walking over to set it down with all of the other aluminum pans and finding a box of glassware and hauling it over to the table with all of the other glassware.
We had a section for silk flowers, one for kitchen pans, sewing patterns all the way back to 1948, knick knacks, clothes and shoes and purses, Christmas decorations, tablecloths, curtains, curtain rods, games and puzzles, pictures, decorative plates, sets of dishes, serving bowls, empty picture frames of various sizes, and furniture. Then there was a wall of shelves filled with appliances, and then there was a day bed stacked with linens, and then there were nasty looking boxes filled with nails and gunk for $5 each (they sold!). I could go on. By the end of that day, everything was sorted and displayed and priced. And then we collapsed into a sweaty heap.
We opened the door the next day for Day 1 with our mother assisting, and despite the threat of rain, we did all right in selling things. Later that evening, the rest of the sisters arrived so that, on Saturday, we had a combination family reunion/estate sale that was sort of festive. That atmosphere was just right because our mother was grieving over the loss of her things. I think she handled the experience with dignified grace, but it wasn't easy.
Here is the living room vignette we set up in the driveway to convince yard-salers they needed this scene in their houses. We sold almost everything in this scene.
Here are some of the prints that my mother had collected over the years—we sold just a few of these:
And here are some of the silk flower arrangements—we had others because Karen is a floral designer and had product to unload. People really loved them:
At the end of the day, we closed those big garage doors, said good bye to it all and walked away. What else could you do? A guy with a thrift store at his church will take what was left. As for me, Husband and I took the one item we had requested, my grandmother's china cabinet that we have admired for years. Here's what it looks like in my dining room. I'll treasure it until the day my kids open up my garage and sell off my stuff. That's a long way away, I think.