The last time I moved, it was 1994. We moved into the house we are now leaving, and did it with the help of a couple of friends. This time, relocation specialists will be in charge, but we still have plenty to do.
Staying in one place for 17 years meant that we never had to be judicious in what we kept and what we got rid of. We have a large basement that easily swallowed the dioramas, paper mâché birds, model boats, fishing poles, and old skis. Our kitchen cupboards are home to our every-day dishes, two different sets of fancy china, some random old dishes, and a complete set of 12 place settings of orange stoneware. When my mother died I ended up with those orange dishes and her collection of plastic Halloween pumpkin buckets, which I hung from the basement ceiling and pretty much ignored.
Because we are running out of time, this was the only weekend we could hold a garage sale. I contacted some neighbors, and corralled some of them into holding yard sales on the same day, so I could advertise the event as “multi-family.” The forecast predicted the chance of rain for the day to be 80%. In retrospect, I think it rained for about 80% of the day.
Given that the advertising had already run, and that we had no other day to choose from, we held our sale under a large tent in the front yard and up on our front porch. My husband persistently grumbled, “This wasn’t my idea,” and had it not been for the arrival of a friend with lattes, it might have gotten even uglier.
We priced everything as cheaply as we could: 25¢ for a whole basket of toys, free books, a free chair, etc. While some things went fast and early, we didn’t sell anything after noon. The fishing poles went for a song. A guy with no car walked off with the free chair on his head. Our oldest son did manage to sell the piano, which made him extremely happy but made me kind of sad and tired. All of the things I had really hoped to be able to unload (the treadmill, which is top of the line and huge; the orange dishes; two large plastic light-up snowmen), I would have parted with at any price, and each of these things is still here. Given the weather, there was no way to sell bed frames or sofas at all.
In the parallel universe where I have patience for activities like participating in Craig’s List or eBay, I might have found homes for a number of the items at a fair price. In that parallel universe, I have a lot more time to take pictures of plastic Halloween decorations, my IBM Selectric typewriter sits on the desk of a ransom-note writer still fond of mid-1980s office equipment, and even the orange dishes go to the highest bidder.