Laura on Life

Garage sale angst

By Laura Snyder

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[April 20, 2010]  When having a garage sale, there are two kinds of people: those who want to make some extra money and those who simply want to get rid of their stuff.

My husband is a hoarder. Not a full-blown, needs-therapy kind of hoarder, but the kind who thinks that if we're going to sell our stuff, we should get top dollar for it. Otherwise he can't bear to part with it.

I was of a different mindset. I thought if I could sell the stuff at a cheap enough price, I wouldn't have to muscle it into the back of my car and haul it to the Goodwill.

There is a certain amount of angst when trying to decide which stuff to keep and which was good enough to spend money on a few years ago, but now you realize you must have been on some kind of drug. The cost of the space it took up in your home, plus the time it took to dust it and reposition it every few months was more than it was worth.

It isn't new, but there's nothing wrong with it. So what is it worth now?

I find myself second-guessing myself a great deal. It works, so... $5. But would I buy it for $5? No... OK, $2. If I can only get $2, would I keep it? Maybe... $4. Do I want to dust it, clean it or trip over it ever again? Hmm... 25 cents it is!

I have to set up for my garage sale without the help of my husband. Otherwise, he'd be walking around behind me saying things like, "You want to sell this?" or "Why are we selling this so cheap?" or "This gravy bowl was somebody's grandmother's, wasn't it?"

To avoid giving him conniptions, I put him in charge of making dinner. He was just as happy to do that because he got to use his new grill. We were selling the old one, which was the only item marked "$5," marked down to "free to good home."

I guess he thought if we didn't get rid of the old one, I'd make him take the new one back. Not so, but the new grill kept him busy while I cleared out our house of all the useless stuff taking up space.

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Later in the day, he came to me and said, "We used to have a little white basting brush. Do you know where that is?"

Oh, drat!, I thought. "It's in the garage in a shoe box full of old utensils marked 25 cents."

"You're selling our basting brush?" he asked incredulously, as if I'd lost my mind. Here we go...

"I never use it. I use a spoon to baste."

"Still, you shouldn't sell things we can use," he said, as if basting was a diversion in which he regularly dabbled.

"I'm only selling things we don't use."

"Well, I need the basting brush for my barbecued ribs."

I put my salesman hat on and said stubbornly, "Fine, that'll be 25 cents, please." I held out my hand.

"I've only got a dollar."

"I don't have any change yet," I said tartly.

He looked at me and waited for me to change my mind. I looked back unblinking.

Finally, he broke. "Oh, for crying out loud! I'll go out to my car and get some change. Where's my slippers?"

"Oh... um... no need for change. Those are $1, but for you... 75 cents."


Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author and speaker. You can reach her at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com or visit www.lauraonlife.com for more info.

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