Minimalism is sorting through the fog and gaining clarity on one’s purpose, and what is most important while removing everything else that distracts us from this. It is living a life of intentionality. When I successfully got on the road to a minimalist life I realized how many times I bought that something, just to get a charge, feel better or use it to identify with some unreachable happiness. In reality, happiness I have found comes from within, from the people you connect with, from the silent moments in between the silence. Happiness is definitely not found in things. As a matter of fact, the imaginary joy of buying something quickly wears off leaving an even bigger need to fill that hole. Getting rid of my things and getting down to what is most important to me has been an ongoing process of self discovery. One thing I can honestly say is thus far, I have zero regrets.
How does one get rid of 50 some years of collecting things that overflow in a 2,000 square foot home, with a 10,000 square foot yard and two car garage? How does one get this down to 200 square feet worth of belongings? Well, I found multiple ways, and to be honest am still on the journey. So let me start by telling you about one, the garage sale.
Let me start by saying, I hate garage sales. I had sold my house and had a limited amount of time to get out. Over the last few weeks whenever I touched something it either went in the garage to a throw pile, or garage sale pile, moved to my fancy new apartment ( I downsized in stages), was given away to friends and family or donated to charity, or local organizations. Thinking back on the garage sale, a colossal disaster that taught me about one of the first things I would do differently going forward, I can do nothing but laugh.
It was the day of the sale. Yep. It was almost noon, and I had not put out a shred of advertising. I didn’t do the ad in the paper the night before and have everything set up to go at seven in the morning. Nope. I sat down with my cheap poster board and markers and couldn’t get any of them to work around noon the day of. I was feeling incredibly sorry for myself. Everyone needs that sisterhood (or brotherhood) that will surround them with support and love when in crisis, were what saved me that day. My sisterhood, I loving call my Bristlecone Sisters because, like the trees, they are strong, resilliant, dependable, have your back type of beautiful long lasting friendships that everyone deserves. The Bristlecone Sisters dropped in, took over, and saved the day!
One sister handed me a plate of home cooked enchiladas and instructed me to sit on my behind and eat. She grabbed the very last posteboard and marker and asked me what I wanted it to say. As I was blubbering about nothing working and how useless this whole stupid effort was, she again firmly repeated what should I write. I thought about it, and said “Afternoon Garage Sale” with my address and a big fat arrow pointing in the general direction of my house. Another girlfriend went to work on setting everything out so that it was presentable. I really was a mess. Getting rid of stuff can be emotional. I told another girlfriend to duct tape the sign to the pole on the closest busy street (five blocks away) so that the arrow pointed the right way. I figured curious folk would find there way to my house. I had an awesome turn out! Who knew?!
The people who showed up were an amazing crew of interesting artist types all super excited about this afternoon garage sale. They said who is it that thinks everyone wants to go to garage sales in the morning? They loved the afternoon sale. As everything went down to plants from the garden, I gained an assortment of new friends, wonderful folks who had been living by me for the last five years. Along with this new bunch of artist types that I had no idea (living in a very plain suburban like city) lived by me, came a collection of wonderful swapped stories and an all around good time filled with laughter.
Some neighbors really didn’t come to shop, they seriously just wanted to meet the girl they had watched slowly transform her yard into a beautiful drought tolerant paradise. Several came by in the next couple of days, dropping off bottles of wine, gifts, thank you for a fun garage sale. I did make money, but what I really made was the realization that going forward I would always see the people, get to know the beautiful souls who lived around me. I would never bury myself in a household, double car garage full of stuff, barricading myself from humanity. And I do just that, I introduce myself. I listen and get to know folks. My life continues to grow with amazing beautiful people all around me.
My very terrible garage sale taught me I was on the right path and helped me get rid of my stuff. In a future post I’ll share a few more of the nitty gritty on how I decided what to keep and where to get rid of things. And I’m pretty sure I’ll never have to have another garage sale. I’ll just get to know folks up front rather than collecting things.