Day 11: My First and Last Garage Sale

May 31st, 2015


Joslyn Hamilton, freelance writer and editor, Salt Lake City, Utah

At some point today I stopped trying to sell my crap to actual humans and started posting it on the local classifieds, with extremely witty product descriptions. This, you guys, is why I get paid the big bucks.

I’m taking part in a 30-day writing experiment. See Kale & Cigarettes for details and the Facebook Group to read stories by other 500-words-ers.

We had a garage sale today. They call it a garage sale even though technically it was in the driveway. Or, they call it a yard sale, although in the chicly manicured suburban neighborhood I now live in, we don’t even walk on front lawns, never mind dump junk on them. Growing up, we called them tag sales, I assume because you were supposed to put price tags on things? Who knows. We also called the liquor store “the packy,” so.

The garage sale was my idea when my neighbors told me they had bought a new house and were moving. I am always looking for ways to get rid of crap, so I said “Hey, let’s have  a garage sale!”

Later, I really regretted this idea. First of all, my neighbors turn out to be major morning people and steamrolled right over my insistence that we not start “too early.” Either that, or we have different definitions of “too early.” For me, too early is before noon. We started at 7am. Brutal.

Another reason I really regretted this garage/yard/tag/driveway sale is that I easily forget how much I hate people. I especially hate people at 7am. I always blow right past this truth about myself when I’m making plans to do things that explicitly involve me interacting with tons of people, especially complete strangers.

But the biggest reason I regretted the garage sale is that I am not much of a hoarder to begin with, so it turned out we didn’t really have a lot to sell. Before I moved here to Utah I did an experiment where I threw something out every day for 100 days. I documented this creative project on Instagram, and it was a really good time. For me, throwing things out is a total rush. I love lightening my load.

Jon, on the other hand, still has his karate trophy from high school on a shelf in our bedroom. Strangely, he firmly believes that he is a minimalist. He is a minimalist in the same way that I am a Buddhist: half-assed, and mostly in theory. He likes reading about minimalism on the Internet, but he doesn’t like throwing away things that have sentimental value. The problem is that everything—I mean, literally everything—has some level of sentimental value when you really think about it.

Anyway, between the three of us (myself, Jon, my stepdaughter Emily) we only managed to scrape together a handful of things to sell, in contrast to my neighbors—our garage sale comrades—who offloaded an entire houseful of appliances, sectional couches, and tchotchkes. Emily and I sat in the driveway all day and enviously watched throngs of people parade in and out of our neighbor’s driveway while we desperately tried to shill our lame junk to the few who happened to wander too far in our direction.

It was pathetic as far as garage sales go. But in terms of days spent sitting in the driveway, soaking up sun and hanging out, it was pretty much a raging success.  


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One Response to “Day 11: My First and Last Garage Sale”

  1. Felechia says:

    I once had a garage sale with my friend Maggie and our friend Jim. Jim, the gregarious one among us, ran the actual sale, while Maggie and I hid in the backyard, mixing cocktails. Anyone who bought anything was required to take something off the ‘free!’ table. I made $300 from my junk!

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