Can Yard Sales Spark Joy?

The decluttering craze is sweeping the nation, guys. Have you watched Netflix’s Tidying Up With Marie Kondo? It seems like everyone has. The sweet, soft-spoken organization guru from Japan has gazillions of views on Netflix, and she is bringing the life-changing magic of throwing out old stuff to households all over America.

yard saleGretchen Rubin, long-time self-help author, is cashing in, too, with her latest book Outer Order Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness. I haven’t read Rubin’s book yet, but I have seen Marie Kondo’s reality show.

But let’s face it – reality TV isn’t very real. There is a big difference between the glorious “I’m letting go, I’m getting free, Hallelujah!” snippets on Tidying Up versus the real-life slog of digging through partially-fossilized sweatshirts, musty stuffed animals (that do have sentimental value!), and bent cardboard boxes for things you just need to get rid of already. And then there’s trying to make money off of your stuff which requires hours of “pricing” only for yard sale folks to switch the price tags while you’re not looking.

Do I sound full of joy yet? Oooh, the dreaded yard sale. It’s about time for Dale and me to have one. But, to be honest, I think stand-up comedian Josh Sneed pins the entire experience on the head. Here’s his take: We’re surrounded by crazy people, and the key to get ’em to show up in the same place all at once is to announce your yard sale on Craigslist, Facebook, or, pretty much anywhere.

If you say it’s scheduled for 10 am, the early birds will come knocking at your door come 6 or 7 am. What’s more? If they’ve seen an episode of Pawn Stars, they will barter – even if you’re just trying to sell a $1 toaster. 50 cents it is, ma’am!

Ultimately, though, I do remember how I feel at the end of a yard sale. After getting rid of lots of junk (and putting the rest of it in bags to donate or toss out), I get to return to my home and relax. There are no more yard sale people scavenging about my front lawn. My garage is a pinch more walkable. And I’ve got just enough cash for dinner and a movie with the family. And, for me, that is what sparks joy.

Happy Monday,