My sister and brother-in-law recently had a garage sale. There were, admittedly, not too many treasures, but we also know that one man's trash can be another man's treasures. They had cleared out two family members' storage units so many of the items were a bit dusty or dirty. "Junk" from their backyard and the side of their house was also included. Recently renovated bathrooms and bedrooms meant there was spare door knobs, plumbing paraphernalia, a mish mosh of old tools and gadgets and plenty of whatchamacallits.
They participated in a neighborhood garage sale so there were many others selling their wares as well. A hot California day and the desire to get rid of it all, prompted them to sell virtually everything for a dollar or less. Though there were many customers, things were just not moving. Having started the sale at 7:00 a.m., it seemed they had put in a full day by 11:00! At about 11:30, they decided to sell everything for a quarter. Imagine people's surprise as they told each person who arrived that everything was a quarter. First they would smile politely and then they would look again at my sister or brother-in-law with disbelief. Many would say something such as, "A quarter… EVERYTHING? Really? Diane and Brad would smile and say, "Yes, REALLY!"
Now, I have had plenty of garage sales in the last 10 years, but have never thought to sell everything for a quarter toward the end of the sale. What a great idea! After all, whatever is left needs to be boxed up and taken somewhere else anyway. My sister was determined that nothing was coming back into the house or the garage! However, their final idea is what took the cake and inspired me to write about it. Finally, when the heat became too much and they were weary from the day, they left everything set up and put a large cardboard sign out that read, "ALL FREE."
In the first half hour after announcing that everything was free they had been given fifteen dollars. It was money from people who taken things that were worth something to them. It was more than my sister had made in the entire hour and a half that they sold everything for a quarter! They retreated to their house to cool off and have some lunch.
For the next two or three hours they occassionally glanced out their kitchen window to watch the many people who had gathered to take what they wanted. Just as they had never anticipated doing that, they also had never anticipated how good it would make them feel. I have a life-long friend who taught me in our college days to "get things where they need to go." If I'm not using something, it usually means I should find a new home for it. I have carried that lesson with me ever since. And yes, it always makes me feel good!
One of the most vivid pictures they have from that day is when two boys came up inquiring about a television set. They asked if it could be delivered. My sister told them they could not deliver it, but they would put a "SOLD" sign on it if they wanted to come back later and get it. (The story was that their dad had a truck but the mom was using it and wasn't home.) However, not too much later, the two boys reappeared with a wagon that a neighbor had let them borrow. My brother-in-law helped them load that tv on their wagon and they proudly and excitedly wheeled it home. I would have loved to hear 'the rest of the story' through their eyes on that particular summer afternoon!
At the end of the day, they had a small pile of boxes gathered in front of their house. I told them they should have taken a picture. The caption would read… "We couldn't give it away!" In addition to the normal garage sale fare such as clothing, frames, and household goods, they had given away things such as a treadmill, a tv, and a printer! The recipients felt lucky and Diane and Brad truly felt the unique joy that is found in unselfish giving.
In these challenging times, what a great lesson in charity! My sister still made $150, but blessed many people in the whole process. I usually don't have clothes at my garage sales because I give them all to Ashby House. It is a local organization that helps meet the needs of women and children in crisis situations. They turn around and give them to those in need. I have always taken the rest of my garage sale items to Goodwill or Salvation Army. Now I am excited for my next garage sale! Maybe everything will be free from the outset. What fun to sit and meet the people face to face that can be blessed by my over-abundance of "stuff." I'll let you know how it turns out!
In the meantime, let's continue to think of creative ways to help meet each other's needs. It really is a fun and rewarding little project!
Have a great weekend, knowing you have been abundantly blessed!