01 Oct Lightening Our Load
For the last three weeks, Jill and I have been cleaning house in preparation for our super big yard sale. I know, I know, I said that the last yard sale would be our last. But, well, never say never. Actually, we really weren’t planning on doing this but, as with so much that happens in this house, it began with something small. The small thing was a sink I replaced with a better, older — marble — sink. But the decommissioned sink was good enough to sell, so Jill said we should take an inventory of other stuff we might have. As it turned out, we have a lot of stuff. So much stuff that we’ve been selling the higher end collectibles on eBay.
If you sell a lot of stuff on eBay — say, 30 items at a time — it becomes a full time job. 1) You have to take photos of the items, 2) write descriptions of the items, 3) upload the descriptions and photos to the website, 4) Answer questions from the prospective buyers, 5) and keep checking for questions, 6) then invoice the sales, 7) wrap the items, 8) print the postage, then 9) mail it off, hoping that 10) the package gets there and 11) gets there safely and 12) the buyer is happy with the item (i.e., you didn’t misrepresent the thing). I sold a new pair of Ray Ban sunglasses. At least, I thought they were new. But apparently they had scratches on the arms because I’d had them in a drawer and they got bangs around. So he wanted a refund, which I gave, plus I paid for the shipping both ways. In other words, you’ve got to pay attention. Details matter.
What this all comes down to is lightening our load. We’re trying to make the house more manageable by cleaning out years of collecting. Because we have a house with lots of storage space, it’s too easy for Jill and me to bring stuff home from flea markets and yard sales — stuff we think we might use. Call it speculative buying. We did a lot of that. But now we’ve decided that we have to be more discerning. I collect old toys, for instance (among many other things), and so it’s always a temptation to pick them up at flea markets when I see them cheap because I think, well, I could always sell them online. But, actually, you can’t always sell them online. Selling online isn’t what it used to be. Often as not, you’ll get minimum bids, if any. That’s okay if you’re desperate to get rid of things. Generally, you’ll get more online than at a yard sale. but sometimes that’s not saying much. And then there’s all that work I’ve listed.
People at yard sales want stuff for nearly free. Actually, they’ll be suspicious if you try giving it away. Really. People want a bargain. So they want to pay something. But never a lot. That’s why you can’t sell really valuable stuff at a yard sale. Nobody comes to a yard sale to buy really valuable stuff. If that’s all you offer, then you’ll disappoint, even piss off, a lot of people. I mean, WTF, a yard sale is not an antiques show.
So, we’ve turned our house upside down, shaking loose the junk. It’s a great feeling. And it’s kind of dangerous because, once you start, you might find it hard to stop. I sold my 120 year old bicycle and my 1940’s drum set — things I thought I’d keep and restore. Then Jill took down our dining room chandelier and sold that. In a few weeks we’ll have that big yard sale. It will be exhausting and exhilarating and, at the end of the day, I’ll look at Jill and say with determination and sincere conviction, “Okay, sweetheart, that’s it. Never again!”