Stuff

My Family Is Completely Sabotaging My Yard Sale Prep

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I’m trying to get our family ready for a yard sale this weekend. We have a basement full of stuff that I can’t wait to get rid of. I’m in the perfect mood for getting rid of stuff. Sometimes I do that thing where I’m overcome with emotional attachment. But not this time. I am getting rid of clothing from 20 years ago and from last year. I’m chucking trinkets I won’t use or display given to me by family members. It’s ON.

But now that I’m a wife and a mother, I realize that my own mood isn’t sufficient. I knew things would be bad when the kids, ages 4 and 2, crept downstairs into the basement and started crying when they saw the big box of unused stuffed animals that are going to go to the highest bidder (and if that fails, to the big yard sale in the sky). “Nooooooooooooo! Mommy! That is my favorite doggie!” (It’s not. Not even close. In fact, it’s been downstairs in this box for six months and nobody mentioned it.)

My 2-year-old simply hid in a corner and found another box that she quietly unpacked, slowly bringing every single item upstairs where I found them in her big toy refrigerator. She’s young, but she’s crafty.

And the clothes. Oh, the clothes. The children’s clothes, I mean. See, I have siblings who have children just ahead of ours in age. They gave us everything, and I do mean everything, that they owned. Considering that two of the parents worked retail during the time their children were young, these are wonderful clothes. Great brand names and great condition. They fill a dozen large boxes in our basement. Even though my husband and I hope for more children, I always knew that this was just too much of a wardrobe for any child. But it was hard to pick out what to keep in case of future children. That’s what I did, though. I went through each box and sorted out a few things that I wanted.

The first sabotage happened with my wonderful sister-in-law, who is staying with us right now. She saw that I was planning on selling some of the clothes her mother had gotten for us in China. She said, simply, “I don’t know if I would do that.” Well, not wanting to anger the in-laws was more than enough for me. I put those things back in the “keeper” pile.

Before I tell you about what happened with my husband, let me provide some background. A yard sale should be a simple decluttering, right? But for some reason it became a heavily emotional thing for me. For weeks I agonized over what to do with the children’s clothes. Like I said, we want more children. But after problems for over two years now, I am putting more stock in our adoption efforts. Which could take an additional couple of years to realize, if they’re ever realized. I had to work through all of this before going through the children’s clothes. I did work through it all and came to my decision. I’d toss most of the clothes but not give up hope of future children. In fact, my friend who is hosting the yard sale told me that she’s doing the same even though she knows they may have more children. She said, “I’m not making this yard sale a referendum on our future. I just want more space in the basement.”

So I have a dozen clothing bins in the living room and my husband comes home and asks why they’re there. I explain my decision process. But he told me, flat-out, he’s nowhere near ready to get rid of the clothes. He believes another baby will be here in our future and he wants to keep our stockpile. We had a brief discussion about it but the long and the short of it is that I had to go back through the boxes and instead of pulling out a few items to keep, I did the reverse. I pulled out a few things that were never quite our style and put them in the pile to sell.

Tomorrow is the yard sale. I expect more wailing and gnashing of teeth, but the good news is that we’ve decluttered and cleaned up. And I may have learned a few lessons about how to work with my family as we prepare to do those things.

(Photo: Paul McKinnon/Shutterstock)