Garage Sale

It’s been consuming my weekends, this supposed White Family Garage Sale we will eventually have at my parents’ house. We’ve sorted, we’ve trashed, we’ve found all sorts of interesting items, and still, we are not done. My mother has been planning on having a garage sale for the last decade or so. I was in college when she had the last one. I remember that because the job was so large that I had to bring college-friend reinforcements to help get it done.

The biggest component by far was getting the garage in order. I made my mother come out and help me sort. At the end of the day, I declared victory. “Keep” on the left, “sell” on the right.




I had to take a nap at one point, but I did it. There were no sections for anything except Christmas decorations, so I arranged things into sections to help my parents find things easier and prevent another free-for-all from forming again. My parents are wonderful people, but they have no system whatsoever for their storage areas. There is now a Hobby Wall and a bin just for wicker baskets, as well as a shelving unit devoted entirely to my father’s multiple boxes/bins/files of PAPER. I made him three Baskets of Technology and left him to sorting the cables and computer pieces, but it’s been two weeks, and he has not touched them. My mother says she is worried about me having OCD when I insist that she put something in its section instead of tossing it wherever there is a small opening in the Sea of Crap. Each of them thinks the state of the garage is the other person’s fault, and it’s so amusing to watch them accuse each other of it, when it’s so clearly their shared dysfunction!

Last weekend, once the garage had been tamed, we went after the inside – closets, drawers, stuff from Grandma’s house, etc. I cleaned out the cabinet next to the kitchen phone, and I threw away an entire trash can full of expired medications. Most were from the 90s, but I found a bottle of ipecac that expired in 1981. My mother just laughed at my amazement of the assortment in the trash and said, “Well, you’re alive, aren’t you?” Yes. Yes, I am. I lived to clean out this cabinet for you. I found three glue guns in there she had no idea she owned. I made baskets for each SECTION (Medicine, Batteries, Flashlights, Miscellaneous, etc.), and as I was finishing, my mother came by and stuffed some little things into the Medicine basket. I took them out and yelled “MISCELLANEOUS!” and put them in the right place. You should have seen the look she gave me when I followed up with, “The system is the solution!” So I made labels for each basket since she is clearly not grasping the advantages of the SECTIONS concept. I’m sure it’s all a mess again by now (two days later), but it was nice to see those cabinets clean for the first time in my entire life. My father was in awe. “I’m not sure I like this,” he said warily as he asked for a flashlight, and I neatly reached into the Flashlights basket and handed him one, batting my eyelashes to prove my point.

It’s an uphill battle, but I will win.


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