This is the time of year for tag sales. We had one this past weekend, and much to our disappointment, we had very few shoppers. We had put up 5 signs and posted it on Facebook, but, due to the holiday weekend (bad planning on my part) we made about $35.
I don’t know about you, but after a tag sale is over, I do not want to see that pile of what-I-now-refer-to-as “junk” come back into the house! It sat on the driveway for a couple of hours while I thought it through. And then I decided I was going to just give it away. I logged onto Freecycle.org and posted the largest list of things I have ever posted before.
Freecycle is an online, community-based trading site where you are allwed to post things for free as long as they are being offered for free.
Maybe I am crazy to not organize another tag sale, or post these things on money-makers like Craigslist or Ebay, but a few thoughts struck me:
1. I want this stuff out of here as quickly as possible. I know you can relate, especially you moms and dads who are over run with toys and clothes and unwanted chachki’s handed down from family members. As a society we are piled high with things in our homes that cause clutter. It is a scientific fact that this endless amount of clutter actually causes stress, anxiety and in some cases can lead to depression. Have you see the TV show "Hoarders"? If you have, you know what I am talking about. And while many of us are not "there yet," our consumer-oriented society certainly does not help us to stop buying and owning more and more things.
2. We don't get as much money for our things as we ever hope to. It's true, I have seen it happen at tag sales. The seller is trying to tell the buyer how amazing that 1987 Zenith Camcorder is. They are obviously still emotionally attached to the thing, but the buyer just wants it for their 13-year old to mess around with. "$50? $40? Ok, $20." Let's face it - our trash may be someone else's treasure, but that doesn't mean they want to pay for it.
3. Giving it away made me feel good. It just plain felt good to give things away and expect nothing in return; to fulfill a need with no strings attached. When was the last time you did this?
People are in need right now. When times are so economically tough for families, when families cannot go out and purchase a new stroller “system” for their third baby or a new 10-speed for the 11-year-old who just outgrew her bike in the middle of the summer, friends and strangers who are willing to help are a blessing.
So the question has to be asked, if neighbors don't do it, who is going to step up and help the families make it? Back in the old days, towns seemed smaller and people were more tied-in to their communities. If one family was struggling, the families around them knew it and helped. Now-a-days, we are all so separate and spread out, we don’t even know or talk to our neighbors half the time, let alone know if they need help putting groceries in the refrigerator.
And don’t be fooled like I have in the past. Just because they live in a house with a yard doesn’t mean they are doing alright. Some are barely making it, or have gone several months without paying their mortgages.
Who is helping out the families today? The answer is that we have to help one another.
That day I gave away a box of 0-18 month baby boy clothes and the lady who came to get them said she was “giving it away to a friend.” So, let's draw a horizontal line. I gave my box of clothes to a woman who was giving it to another woman. A person I didn't even know was going to benefit from these now too-small clothes all because her friend knew she had a need. We need to have the same perspective that this generous-hearted woman had. She saw a need and looked for a way to fill it and I feel honored that I could play a small part in that process. To be honest, when she told me what she was doing with it, I felt motivated to add some even better stuff to the box! That is just one example, but you get my meaning.
So, what neighbor haven't you met?
What person on your street looks like they might be struggling in some way?
What do you have in your garage, basement, attic that could fulfill a need today?
Today, let's make eye contact with our neighbors, engage them in conversation, and get to know one another.