Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Garage Sale...

The Potential Curse

"I wish I had your eye for things."
"That's so creative - I never would have thought of that!"
"You see so much potential in stuff."

Wanna know the truth?
It's actually a curse to be able to see potential in EVERYTHING.

I was reading The Nester today and she spoke to how even if she didn't want to display something in her home anymore, she didn't want to just junk it or donate it - until she knew someone else vlaued it as much as she did.

I know that feeling.  I've had it.
It's strangely...paralyzing.

You see something at Goowill - it's only a buck - but it has SO much potential.  If you just added this, or that - heck, a cute specialty store could sell this for $40 in a snap!  Wrap a little tissue paper around it with a pretty ribbon and it's an adorable gift!

That cute imaginary shop.
Do you know it?

Maybe you've even opened your shop on Ebay or Etsy.
I did.  I actually have 2 Etsy shops on permanent vacation.

Now for some gals, shops can be a cold popcicle on a hot summer day.  They are just the breath of fresh air they need.  It's a great outlet.  It's a fun way to spend your time. maybe make a few bucks.

Not so for me.
It's like staging a garage sale that never ends.  

Really cool stuff, lovely vintage items, WAY too many of them, just sitting around.  And, this is stuff that needs to be in the same condition all the time - because when it sells (can we be real..."if" it sells) it needs to be "just as described" and look just like it did in the pictures.

So, it ends up in limbo.
It's all my stuff...
Yet it's held hostage...
By the buyer..who might never buy it..

I came to a conclusion a few months ago.  The clutter needed to end.
I wasn't going to bring anything else into our home - no matter how cute - unless I had an immediate place for it.

Even better, there should be an actual need for it.
Cute, just wasn't gonna cut it.

I decided if the item wasn't gonna add to the goal of making our home more useable, fun and welcoming...well, it wasn't coming in.  (Unemployment and under-employment can also reduce the buying of unnecessary knick-knacks.)

And, no more holiday kitsch.  You know the stuff.  You put it out for 2 weeks - maybe 4, then the other 48 weeks of the year it sits in a container marked Easter.

Last year I stopped buying holiday stuff and started focusing on seasonal stuff.
What's the difference, you ask?
By season I mean, "Things relating to the outdoor seasons."
(In Chicagoland we have 4...unless you count Construction Season.)

So, rather than pastel decorations for bunny time, I went with branches with buds and greenery.

Fall and Winter became less about green and red and more about acorns, and harvest with more candles and less clutter.

I got a rude awakening the other day which really helped put things into focus.  You know all that stuff that had so much potential?  There were so many things I could do with it!  Things I wanted someone else to value it as much as I did?

Well, a friend was in a bind, so a bunch of us gathered all our stuff and had the world's biggest rummage sale. (Slight exaggeration, but not by much.)  All proceeds would go to our friend.

It took NO TIME at all for me to bag up all those (no so) valuables and hand them off to be sold for a buck or two each. I filled a box with stuff that I never would have parted with for a dollar.  Until that day.  I knew that volume mattered - and woo-hoo, I was the gal!  At the rummage sale, every item that sold for a buck was another dollar that went to my friend.  Honestly, I would have been happy - ecstatic - if every item in that box sold for a dollar.

So, really I must have known deep down that those items didn't have that much value.

Irony - it's what's for dinner.

Do you struggle with clutter?
Do you see the potential in everything?
What is something you really should get rid of?

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