Lessons Learned from Yard Sales

Today was yard sale day….well, actually just about every Saturday is.  I love to get up at 6:30 AM on Saturday morning with my destinations written down from craigslist and start to drive all over town looking for deals.  I look for clothes, shoes, anything I can take to Haiti, and craft materials I can use for a few outreaches I do.  It is pretty simple- drive by, check it out, and stop if it is a good one.  Actually, I left out a simple detail- check and see if I know the person having the sale.  If I do, I weigh out whether it is REALLY worth stopping.  Why?  Because I am prideful.  Plain and simple.  You might be able to come up with a less accusatory name for it but I know that at the heart of it, it is pride.  YUCK!  I don’t want to be worried about what people will think of me if I buy their used stuff but I do.  Character flaw in me that I am working on.

The flip side of it is that people DO judge.  A few will greet you with kindness and dignity and the rest will either give you that “I am sorry you need to yard sale” look, start yelling at people around you for trying to get the price down, or give you the impression that having a simple yard sale is sending their nerves into overload.  Really?  It is a yard sale- sell it for 50 cents and move on.  It is stuff you don’t want and money you would not otherwise have.  I vividly remember a time when I was at a yard sale of a wealthy family and her children’s clothes were priced way too high no matter what the brand was.  A lady asked if she would take less and she began screaming at her saying, “That is the price!  If you don’t want to pay it I will go donate it somewhere and someone who appreciates it can have it.”  WOW.  The lady asking was clearly poor and the lady selling was a doctor’s wife.  When did it come to this? Everyone, no matter the situation, deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.

I have started looking at having yard sales in a different way.  How can I bless people?  How much of my stuff can I give away for free for people who really need it?  I can use the money- I am not going to lie.  But do I really?  Every time we have a yard sale we are able to give away clothes and shoes to families who go out to yard sales faithfully so they can send things back to their families in poor countries. They cannot afford the prices at Salvation Army and Goodwill.  A lot of people can’t.  So the opportunity rises to give and bless. It is so simple and everybody wins.

As we look around our houses, how much stuff could we give away?  Just give it to a friend who would love it, take it to a shut in, or put it on a neighbor’s doorstep anonymously.  Believe me- you won’t miss it.  I have a new thought lately- if I love something I own, someone else probably will too.  Instead of letting it become an idol, give it to someone and let it go.  It has changed how I look at everything.  I love clothes.  Yesterday I had the chance to give a ton of them away to a friend starting at a new job.  A few I was attached to but to see her excitement about them was way better than wearing them myself.

Let’s go love people.  Treat them kindly.  Bless them abundantly.

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