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We’re Having a Yard Sale. What Was I Thinking?

Over a few too many glasses of wine, two friends and I chatted about our surgeries and our various health problems like sailors comparing tattoos.

We drifted into the “What next?” phase and decided to simplify our lives by having a “yard sale” — or, euphemistically, a “living estate sale.” Such bravado is not lost with age, but wine does fog the vision.

Once sobered up, we realized there are two decent sets of eyes, two sets of functional legs, and only one strong back between the three of us. This must be a step into old age: The majority of our conversation was about physical ailments, and we still believe we can pull together an event that takes an astonishing amount of energy. But we were committed to this project, so there was no stopping us.

The place? One friend’s house that was in desperate need of emptying. She had the space and convenient location. Date? A month hence. Day and time? Saturday, 9 AM to 3 PM. Marketing? We had signage and social media covered.   

Yard/garage/estate sales are hard work! Although I had been assembling items to sell for some time, I still needed to haul them to the sale site and get them integrated, organized, and marked. As the only one with functional lifting capability, decent eyesight, and the strongest legs, I handled most of these chores for the three of us. What we cheerfully thought would be “easy” took several days of preparation with much sweat and energy.

Some advice? Texas gets very hot in the summer, so do the heavy work early in the day and quit after a few hours. I ignored this during one preparation day and could barely move the day after.

One must have patience with yard sale partners who can provide limited assistance. As in marriage and business partnerships, there are disagreements at times over disparities of contribution. With older adults like us, we forget to recognize our limitations. But wisdom is sometimes learned the hard way. I knew we would smile and laugh about this afterward, right? Right!

Lucky for us, a few more people joined the sale and were present to help that day. Most importantly, the weather cooperated. No rain, so we pulled the large items into the driveway very early in the morning. That 9 AM start time meant nothing to hardcore shoppers, so we were ready at dawn: The first shopper arrived at 7:30 AM.

It was a long, hot, profitable, exhausting day, with a whole lot of people attending. We took turns with air-conditioning breaks, settled-up, and were still friends at the end of the day. Whatever didn’t sell was donated — another “carrying chore” that was mine in the aftermath but could wait until I revived.

Thank heavens it’s over. I vowed never to do another yard/garage/estate sale again. I’m ready to join the ranks of the Zoomer generation who own nothing more than what they can carry in a knapsack. Smaller spaces with my most meaningful items will suit nicely.

But enjoying wine and dinner with my friends while comparing medical maladies is part of the journey. After three more glasses of wine, who knows what we’ll accomplish?


Barbara Glass

A Yankee by birth, a Midwesterner and Southerner by heritage, Barbara Glass lived in Texas for 20 years and em­braced all things Southwest. She celebrates aging by experiencing it firsthand, and helping the next generations along the way, including her own children and grandchildren. “I try to bring an understanding of the aging perspective within the context of community and nonprofit initiatives”. Part of this engagement is writing about aging in celebratory and thoughtful ways. “I’m living the dream by telling our stories.”

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