Garage sale of memories

My church is having its annual “garage” sale next weekend and I’ve been very busy going through the house top to bottom, finding a lot of STUFF to get rid of. I put on my ruthless gloves and whatever they touched, out it went. Except it’s SO HARD! Yes, I know I’m yelling. And I know everyone reading this understands.

Why is it so hard to get rid of things you never use, have outgrown, don’t like, or are tired of looking at? The answer is memories. I still have the flowery cotton summer dress I’ll never fit into again that I wore in photos taken with my firstborn. I have my mother’s peach silk-chanteuse dress she was married in (I’ll never fit in that, either). There’s the Fitz and Floyd parrot luncheon plates I’m tired of using for twenty years (but my stepmom gave them to me!). The wooden painted cats from Hawaii (that’s how I remember my Hawaii trip twenty-two years ago!). Ugh.

My stepmom came to town for a visit and I told her I was weeding out my possessions for the big garage sale. She, who just rented out space for a sales booth to fill with her unwanteds, understood. She said, “Well, you’re welcome to throw out anything I gave you if you’re tired of it. I hope you don’t mind if I do the same for anything you gave me.” I threw the cloak of guilt off my shoulders as I thought of those parrot dishes.

I have a whole lot of garbage bags, paper bags, plastic bags, and cardboard boxes bursting with stuff, stacked in the basement ready to go. Today I took one carload to the church. I need to make a second trip, but the basement looks like nothing was taken and I see plenty of decorator items still on the shelf spaces. I feel ill.

I want to go all sparse Japanese-style like you see in fancy magazines. Sadly, my Japanese mom did not raise me right. Instead, I grew up with American clutter and have a huge collection of Japanese stuff to boot. It’s just too hard to part with the stuff of memories! And heritage, in my case. But, the cats are in a box for the church, and the parrot plates are packed away in the basement because my college girl wants them in her future. And next year I will have another carload of memory stuff to go to the church.


About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; author of Poems That Come to Mind, for caregivers of dementia patients; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), poetry, and cats
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4 Responses to Garage sale of memories

  1. I bought my first rubber chicken at a church sale for 25 cents. While it has since passed on, I have great memories of it, and it carried someone else’s memories as well.

  2. Squawk, squawk, I think we still have our rubber chicken somewhere! You’re right about items from garage sales carrying someone else’s memories. I especially like buying things from estate sales, and find they usually mean more to me because someone else once loved them – they have history.

  3. Linda, I have moved so many times that I became very proficient at sifting,sorting and pitching “stuff”. But it is piling up again so I need to tackle it. it’s such a great feeling to clean out the clutter but I agree, it’s hard to part with all those memories. Good Luck!

  4. We have moved many times, too, Kathy, and even sold almost all our furniture at one point, but we’ve been here for about 13 years now, and yes, stuff has gathered. My kids even have trouble parting with the stuff of memories.Thank goodness this annual sale pushes me to purge a little each year.

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