Love ’em. As I’ve shared before, my slobbish ways came perilously close to hoarding when I discovered eBay and the whole “buy it for a quarter, sell it for 17.01” fabulousness.
Garage sales became less of a shopping experience, and more of a grabbing experience. Up at 6:30, crazy-eyes aglow with the anticipation of finding treasures I never knew I needed, and coming home at noon with a van-full of randomness.
A big part of my deslobification process has been . . . not going to garage sales.
But the other side of this dilemma is that I’m also cheap frugal. Because of my years of spending only 10 dollars for an entire year’s worth of clothing for each child (and truly, the year’s worth was enough to clothe quintuplets), I can’t bring myself to spend even 5.00 on a pair of shorts.
And this goes for so many things in life. Dishes, clothes for myself, furniture pieces to fit in that corner which used to be piled up with stuff . . . I KNOW that I could get those things for pennies on the dollar if I shopped garage sales.
But I’m scared to put myself in that situation again.
So, here are ten things I’ve done to try to keep myself in check and not go back down Slob Road.
(Believe me, I have the same icky feeling in the pit of my stomach that you may have . . . . thinking this might be a post I’ll someday look back on as foreshadowing that I was going to fail at the deslobification thing.)
1. Sleep in. Don’t be one of those people who gets there an hour before the sale is supposed to start. Have breakfast with your family, and then get going leisurely. This means that things will be picked over by the time you get there. While that used to be your fear, now it is your saving grace. Most likely, there will be some cute pieces left, but the entire wardrobe in your daughter’s next-year-size won’t be calling your name.
2. Make a list. When I attacked my clothing clutter recently, I figured out what I truly needed. Now, I know it’s okay to buy a few wintry dresses for my daughter. Not 23, but a few.
3. Dig through your change pile. Take change only and you can’t buy out the entire sale. Better yet, get mostly dimes and nickels.
4. Put the change into a Ziploc bag. OK, 3 and 4 could be one thing, but I’m trying to make this a list of ten. Here’s the logic. If you don’t have a lot of cash, you can’t buy the big stuff. If you truly do find just the thing you needed, you can always go get cash, but while you’re driving to the ATM, you can have a heart-to-heart with yourself and decide if you really need it. Also, with an embarrassing plastic bag full of change, you’re more likely to spend less than a dollar at each sale, since that’s as much as you can surreptitiously count out. Pulling out the bag and counting 6 dollars in dimes is embarrassing enough to make you think twice about how badly you need those candlesticks and Barbie clothes.
5. Don’t check the paper. If you used to map out your sales the night before, and woke up in a cold sweat that someone else might get to the “toddler girl clothes” first, go against that temptation and determine that you’ll just randomly hit the sales whose signs you run across.
6. Only go when you’re looking for something specific, and in that case . . . check the paper to find which sales to go to. (I know. I just contradicted myself. I’d be mad too.)
7. Make going a special (rare) thing. My husband takes the boys on outdoor adventures occasionally. While they’re gone, my daughter and I go to garage sales. It used to be that those weekends were when I could justify going ALL DAY LONG, as opposed to a few hours in the early morning. Now, that’s almost the only time we go. It’s fun girl time, and we love it.
8. DON’T take your never-meets-a-stranger, falls-in-love-with-the-ugliest-rattiest-has-to-be-fumigated-before-it-can-enter-your-home-doll daughter. You probably think I’m advising this to avoid the “Can I have that?” conversation. No. People love to give things to cute little kids. Give. Meaning, you’ll end up with, ahem, stuff . . . that you would never buy, even for a quarter! I’m amazed at the number of times my kids have been given stuff at garage sales. People’s eyes light up when they see my 4yo cuddling with that smooshed-faced-one-armed doll that they never thought anyone would want. Lucky me, my daughter has a special place in her heart for the ugliest-of-the-ugliest.
9. Declutter. I know of nothing that motivates me to avoid bringing clutter into my home, more than actively trying to get rid of all the clutter I’ve brought in in the past.
10. Keep on decluttering. Like it or not, I’ve realized that this decluttering thing is an ongoing lifestyle, not just a 30 minute show.