Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
A couple of weeks ago, my church had a huge garage sale, which netted us $6000. I worked Friday putting toys out and pricing them and Saturday afternoon as the sale was winding down, increasingly slashing prices in order to unload the rest of the items before the end of the sale when the Salvation Army truck would swoop down and take the remainder away.
On Friday, while I was pricing toys, I was almost weak in the knees when a truck pulled up with trash bag after trash bag of the nicest toys you can imagine. The woman who was unloading them explained that they were from her daughter’s house. Her daughter has four girls and three sets of grandparents, and apparently every single one of them buys, buys, buys. Her daughter, bless her, had carefully put all the pieces of all the toys together and wrapped them in plastic so they’d stay together. So many very, very nice toys, most of which were in like-new condition and many of which were almost identical.
We were also inundated with stuffed animals. There is no reason for anyone to ever buy a new stuffed animals, as far as I can tell. I’m sure there were more than 100, many of which were obviously new and most of which looked like they’re hardest life task had been to adorn a shelf. (Virtually any stuffed animal can be machine washed, but they do need to be lined dried. It’s the drier that will cause the fake fur to loose its softness.)
My husband observed that people hang onto things too long, so long that they lose their appeal and attractiveness to others. He noticed that lots of the decor items were quite out-of-date, and he had plenty to say about the electronics. We had a large number of TVs, big beautiful TVs, but ones that weren’t HD compatible. Dan pointed out that when HD became the US standard, a converter box for a TV such as these could easily be purchased for $20. Now, several years later, converter boxes are $80, the same price as a smaller flat screen TV. These TVs started out being priced at $25. In the end, those that sold only fetched $5. Yes, $5 for a TV that originally cost over $500. Talk about something losing value because it sat around too long!
Someone was hoping that the church would sell his very fancy but old Macintosh computer for $250, which is more than similar units were selling for on eBay. Dan pointed out that the processor was made by IBM, which hasn’t worked with Apple in more than 5 years. The operating system is out of date, and the computer will not be able to run newer programs. Because the owner had let it sit around, it had increasingly lost value.
While Dan was surprised at the number of very aged items for sale, I was surprised by the number of brand new items, as you can see by my list of true confession purchases below. Why would someone get rid of an unopened package of baby wipes? Why would someone buy fancy lights for a party and never put them up, never return them? Did someone really believe that Beanie Babies were so collectible that they should stay in their packages? Why, why, why?
My last observation is about purchasing at the sale. I didn’t start working until 11:00, and it was soon afterwards that we started marking things down: lamps for $1, a bag of children’s clothes for $1, a bag of stuffed animals for $1. Then later, everything you could put in a smallish box for $2 or a large box for $5. I saw one man load up several books, a quilt, and a HP flat scanner for $5! People filled their boxes with stuff they really didn’t need or even especially want, because there was still space in the box.
The next day, I was teaching the 3rd to 5th grade Sunday school class. I asked all the kids if they’d gone to the sale and what they’d purchased. Several of them could name their items specifically, but a lot of them could name a couple of items and then concluded with “and some other stuff. I forgot what.” Clearly, the new treasures had been unloaded in their rooms (or maybe not even unloaded yet) and were already so insignificant that they’d been forgotten. One girl had purchased a bag of stuffed animals. When someone else expressed surprise that she’d gotten animals (usually by her age, they’re decluttering their animals), she shrugged and said, “Why not? They were only a dollar.” Clearly this girls was only thinking in terms of the bargain she got, not the cost of having yet another 10 stuffed animals in her room, being stored, collecting dust, and eventually returning to this very same sale.
In the name of full disclosure, I purchased:
- 2 (new) boogie boards (body boards) for the girls to play at the beach
- a (new) pack of 10 pencils
- 2 (new) packs of notebook paper
- a (new) package of baby wipes (Yes, I still carry these in my purse)
- a (used) boxed set of the Chronicles of Narnia
- a (new) Scrabble Apples games (already played)
- a (used) game of Boggle
- a (used) purple beaded curtain (for Clara’s purple room)
- a (used) pair of shoes for Clara
- a (used) sundress for Audra
- a (used) pair of jeans for Clara that fit neither her nor her friend Grace. They’ve already gone to the thrift store.
- and Dan would like to point out the he bought nothing
Today’s Declutter Item
I listed this old TV on Freecyle it took a while and a couple of no shows but someone finally picked up. Actually it’s not that old but it no longer fit into my son’s bedroom after we bought him a much needed larger bed. There was nowhere else in the house for it. I never watch TV during the day so there is plenty of time for Liam to play his playstation in the living room on our only TV.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
The one day of the year that all of Australia comes to a stop for at least five minute is Melbourne cup day. A horse race unites the nation. I am not one for gambling but if I am invited to a cup do I don’t mind entering a sweep. Today I won and went home $20 richer. Actually it cost me about that for the plate of cheese and crackers and the bottle of wine I took with me. So I broke even but had a great time with some lovely ladies. Win Win!!
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast