1. I don’t have nearly enough junk
I vividly remember my move-in day when I began college. Everything I owned fit in half a 10×12 dorm room. I remember thinking to myself, “wow this is it? this is everything?” When moving out of the dorm my sophomor year, everything fit in the back of our family Ford Aerostar van. Everything. My thought was, “my whole life fits in the back of a van. great.”
Now, over 10 years later I can report that my whole life still fits in one room and a bit of shelf space in the garage for the junk I didn’t unpack because my roommates already had spatulas and dinner plates. I don’t think I could fill a 10×10 storage space with everything I own (minus the vehicles). I’m okay with all of this. It’s kind of nice actually. Well until I have no more roommates and my makeshift couch will be two aluminum lawn chairs duct taped together.
2. I can’t handle the rejection
When I go to a garage sale (it’s usually by accident) I always feel awkward walking away purchasing nothing. And with my status of not owning much junk, other peoples’ junk is vastly uninteresting to me. And I feel extremely awkward for the person who has in a flash of transparency and vulnerability spread his life out on the front lawn. I can know what kind of books he’s read, movies he’s watched, clothes he once thought were stylish, and unfortunate purchases he’s made over the years.
When people meander around the merchandise tables with a bored look on their faces it’s as if the seller is silently begging people to understand that all this junk on the lawn is because everything inside is interesting and tasteful and, “NO, I didn’t collect every single Beany Baby. Those belonged to my grandmother and I’m just selling them for her.”
So if I were to lay my past consumer choices down my driveway for people to pick over and silently judge, my little ego couldn’t handle it. The irony would simply be too great. I want to believe that things that I have acquired over the years are a result of good investment and taste and are therefore worth good money, yet YOU can have it for $1.50.
3. I’m probably too good of friends with the garbage
Let’s get to the bottom of a garage sales. You don’t have a garage sale to make money, you have a garage sale to get rid of your junk. Your baby clothes, toys, 70s furniture with that weird smell, knick knacks you picked up at someone else’s garage sale, broken sports equipment, picture frames, blah, blah, blah.
I don’t have any of that kind of stuff to sell because either I’m still using it (like the bed and mattress that’s older than I am that came out of my grandmother’s basement) or because I throw stuff away. As soon as something becomes inconvenient to store or move, I throw it out. When I buy a new article of clothing, I donate one that I already own. I’ve also moved 7 times in the last decade so many things that could’ve piled up as junk for an embarrassing garage sale just fell apart or broke in the move.
Bottom line: I’m the opposite of a pack rat. I throw trash away.
4. I’m a sucker for negotiations
If I think something is worth 100 dollars and you say you want to give me 90 dollars, I’m going to give it to you for 90 dollars. Here’s why.
I have a hard time rejecting someone who seems genuine in what they think is fair. Sometimes, if you are just a friendly person I’m willing to negotiate just because I want you to think I’m a friendly person too. In matters of monetary exchange, I have this annoying “golden rule” attitude and I just want someone to be pleased with doing business with me. I want to sell something to a nice guy or gal even if it means my wallet takes a hit. Likewise, when I’m buying something I get scared off negotiating because again, I don’t want to walk away feeling like the person is glad they’ll never see me again.
5. I’ve heard of eBay (have you?)
I sell stuff. I sell it on eBay. People on eBay decide the price of the junk I have (less pressure!) and so many people can view it. I also rarely have to offer up an explanation of why I got the item in the first place. I’ll get more money from the sale and because I can set things up as an auction, people will bid against each other. This means the other buyers are the bad guys for negotiating a higher price, not me. People can pay electronically and any cost of shipping is adjusted into the final buying price. I can set the terms of the sale and there’s a fairly good system in place to discourage buyers from bidding and not paying.
Ok that seemed a bit too much like a commercial for eBay, but with the power of the internet (Craigslist, Freecycle, and other selling/trading websites) it seems crazy to me to spend all that time setting up and stressing over junk when the payoff seems little.
If you can read this blog, you can be more successful in getting rid of you junk. Now go, my peoples who are crazy! Go and sell your junk!