The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

What Stays And What Goes

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At long last Nat and I have cleared the spare basement room from items that have piled up over these past several months and were strewn all over. It all started once we were clearing out the kitchen to get ready for the renovations. There’s always that hidden dish, glass ware or mugs in the back of a cupboard, junk drawer items (extra slot spoons and unknown objects from God knows where) that pile up, a couple of area rugs no longer needed and even a double bed frame and headboard that was replaced a couple of years ago. Once you decide to have a good “clear out”, you always end up checking other cupboards or drawers in other rooms in order to make it worth the while. I made the decision to get rid of a lot of fancy dishes we’ll no longer use. No one comes to a fancy dinner any more as it’s a lot of work for the two of us and we’d rather just make it casual so as to enjoy company that does come for a meal.

By the time we were finished, we managed to collect quite a few boxes and left them piled up in the basement until the kitchen was finished. That came a few weeks back, and it was time I faced reality and got these items priced and ready for a garage sale, which I swore I would never have again – they’re so much work! There was enough items I could not ignore and day after day I would carry up a box of stuff after doing my morning workout. In time, everything was gathered all around the dining table and every few days I would price some items to get things done. With everything ready I held my sale this past Saturday.

Despite the fact I advertised the sale would start at 8:00 AM, quite a few early birds were showing up by 7:00 AM as we were still setting up. The weather gave us a bit of pause, as it was threatening rain as soon as we opened the garage door. Really not sure what to do, Nat and I decided to at least set up the tables inside the garage, close to the door, to wait and see what was going to happen. As it turned out, the sun began to shine and by now our customers were wandering around the garage just fine, so we left things as they were.

With every garage sale, we were surprised at what sold. The tools Nat had for sale were a no brainer – they’re always popular and he ended up selling them all, including one as we were closing up. We had an Ikea Bookcase that no one even touched, along with a microwave stand and a double bed frame. Everyone was buying all the little doodads, glassware, pots & pans, shoes and purses, books, frames, small BBQ grill, along with two boxes of 1950’s tea cups & saucers (never used).

For the first time, Nat stayed for the sale. Normally he would go golfing or stay clear of the house until the sale was over, but this time as he had a vested interest (his tools) he hung around. He absolutely hates this. He can’t understand why people would want to buy other peoples’ used items, and he’s surprised every time I have a sale. I appreciated the company, but once in awhile he shook his head at me as he felt I was giving this stuff away. A lot of my family also think the same thing, but everyone will cut you in half and for what it’s worth I at least sold the damn stuff. Some people would dicker, some won’t, but, again, I sold the damn stuff – including the 2 boxes of tea cups, saucers and desert plates that have been in Nat’s possession ever since he was first married. They were a wedding gift and he’s kept them around for over 40 years and had no idea what to do with them. We tried to sell them to some antique dealers, but even they wouldn’t take them. So when someone finally offers me enough money to take them off my hands – my hand is out there taking their money, baby,  whether it’s enough or not. They were at least sold and I wasn’t taking any chances that someone else would come along afterward and buy them – that never happens!

There were several other sales in the area, so we had a pretty good crowd every 15 to 20 minutes. It seems garage sale people travel in packs and they come in spurts. They’re a tough crowd at times, but others that are just out looking around are always fun to talk to. This is always a great way to get to know a couple more neighbours and this time was no exception. We met a wonderful neighbour who bought the Sony Stereo System for his nieces and nephews so they can get to know more about music systems and play some old records. He also bought the DVD/VHS combo for his aging father who loves to watch old VHS movies and has already warn out a couple of machines. He was thrilled with his purchases and we were thrilled to meet him.

We finally gave up the ghost around noon. No one had come by in some time, but there were one or two as we were packing up. It was difficult having to find room to store the Bookcase and Microwave Stand until we knew what to do with them, but we piled the balance of unsold items in boxes to be delivered to our local Thrift Store and Salvation Army.

After a very quiet weekend – one of which Nat was sick – we were well rested and decided to take our cash to the bank and our unsold items into Fort Erie. The Thrift Shop received the unsold household items and kitchenware and the Salvation Army took the double bed frame. We decided to ask any family members if they wanted the bookcase or microwave stand – one of which has been snatched up already. I’m afraid the bookcase may see the scrap heap, but we’ll hang onto it for a day or two – no takers so far.

I swear on any Gods above – this is my absolute last garage sale – I’m getting way too old!!

As Nat was still a little “iffy” from his sickness bout on Sunday, we took the rest of the afternoon off. We’ve got a few appointments coming up next week and the week after so we’ll take advantage of our free week and do what we feel like.

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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