Midwest Musings: Decluttering Part 3
Fireworks, Garage Sales and Inspiration
My first post on Decluttering mentioned several ways you could eliminate the clutter in your life. This was my week to follow through on three of them. Saturday was my first and maybe only garage sale ever, Method Number 1. A friend who is really into these things encouraged me to do this before just giving away everything I have cleared away from closets, drawers, shelves, you name it. But in order to carry off an event like this, you need a place to hold it, i.e., a garage. In my case, that meant cleaning it out before we could ever set up our wares.
We began last weekend, working our way along one side, throwing out numerous stored cardboard boxes, ignoring several partial sets of golf clubs, leaving behind thirty-plus clean peanut butter jars, and then turning our attention to the four rows of shelves my husband built on the other side. Actually, that was his job, because those shelves contained mostly gardening, auto and building supplies. I never thought I’d see the wall behind those shelves again, but by the end of the day, there it was. There are no words to describe the happiness I felt upon seeing it again. Plus, those shelves were the hit of the garage sale, because they offered a fairly unique way to show off our sale items.
We filled our two trash barrels and also hauled away two trailer loads of items to a dumpster, Decluttering Method Number 2. At first, I was afraid it would be difficult to see all those items that at one time had been precious treasures go off, never to be seen by us again. I was wrong. It was a freeing feeling.
From Monday to Wednesday night, I priced items for the sale, a slow-going process at first, because I didn’t like placing a value on things. It didn’t take long to realize that if I was ever going to get through everything by Saturday, I had to price according to what I thought customers might pay. From then on, it was mainly a matter of finding the right colored sticker to indicate the price.
On Wednesday night, my husband and I took in the Yankee Doodle Pops concert at the Iowa State Capitol, sort of an annual tradition. It was a glorious night. Loved the music and then the fireworks that followed. Always look forward to hearing the booms of the cannons at the end of “The 1812 Overture.” The only problem with this event is that some 20,000 other holiday-goers also attend. My husband dropped me off and tackled the prospect of parking the car himself. The concert was just starting. Suddenly, I was in a festive, holiday mood, putting pricing and garage clearing out my head. And then it happened. My brain relaxed and my muse returned. There I was, standing in the midst of this crowd of concert goers and all I could think of was how I was going to solve the plotting problem I’ve been writing about the last two posts.
As the strains of the orchestra’s musical road trip to America’s cities – I do remember “St. Louis Woman” and “New York, New York” – there I was, using the notebook feature of my iPhone to jot down how I was going to get my story unstuck. As a writer, I never know when inspiration will strike. What I do know is, when it hits, go with the flow and get it down in writing.
But the next day, when you were probably basking in the sun at the pool, burning hamburgers on the grill or getting reacquainted with family members at a picnic, my husband and I were back in the garage, now hitting the third stall. Strangely enough, we really enjoyed the togetherness time with the reward of a much cleaner garage at the end of the day, when we went to view more fireworks at our local park.
Friday, set-up day, was like attending a “Garage Sale 101” class, watching my friend and her sister efficiently put things together. Who would have thought you could place storage crates in the middle of the table and lean items against them to create a better display? Or use the bottom of an ordinary metal pan to show off refrigerator magnets?
GS Day finally arrived on Saturday. Maybe sometime I’ll devote an entire post to the shopping habits of garage sale devotees, such an interesting glimpse at human behavior. My point here is that it came and went and I survived. And we did pretty well, although clean-up lasted almost as long as the sale itself.
Now I’m ready for Decluttering Method Number 3, donating the items that weren’t sold to local charities and non-profit organizations. That phase is now starting. Books will go one place, household items to another. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with four tubs of fabric and unfinished sewing projects.
And then, and then…back to writing again! Can’t wait to try out the plot changes that came to me in the midst of fireworks, cleaning, and a garage sale. So glad I wrote them down, because it’s been one busy week!
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