Monday, 30 April 2012

Letting it Go

Stuff. We all have it. Most of us have too much of it. We certainly do. We had so much stuff that we can't even park one car in our three car garage. Why? Why are we all so attached to our stuff? Aren't experiences and relationships the things that we should value? Shouldn't we be able to let go of our attachment to objects that clutter our lives? I'm absolutely committed to let go of my stuff this year. Of course, there are a few special items that cannot go. For the most part, if I'm not using it, I shouldn't be hanging on to it.

As I said, I want to place value in experiences and relationships. I have an opportunity coming up to follow my heart and become a birth doula. I feel myself called to this on a very deep level. It's almost unexplainable. It's just me, this is what I am meant to do. I can not pass up this opportunity. As a birth doula I will have experiences worth far more than any possessions, and will hopefully build relationships worth even more. I can not wait to go to training in June.

When this opportunity came up, we could not afford for me to go. Local(ish) training sessions are few and far between and I didn't want to wait for the next one.We are on a tight budget and working hard (with Dave Ramseys program) to pay off some past errors. I made up my mind that I had to go to training and it was easy to see that a yard sale was the way to go.

When I shared my yard sale idea with people and explained what I was doing, I was shocked when people started dropping off items for me. Once I saw that other people were willing to sacrifice a few of their things for me, it was so much easier to let go of my stuff. We let go of so many things and I have no regrets. We priced everything to sell, and accepted almost every offer. When the sale was over we hauled the left overs to another friend that is going to have a yard sale to raise money to go and do some valuable mission work.

At the end of the sale, I not only had made enough money to go to training, but also to pay for my gas to get there, my meals while I am there, and the remainder of my certification requirements! I feel so blessed to have so many people that care for me and to have had so many eager shoppers.

The lesson I learned this weekend is to let go of the things that are holding you back that you don't need, live simply, and follow your heart. You'll be surprised at what you can do and what joy will find you when you do.

*Some yard sale tips*

  1. Price to sell. Many of our items were a quarter a piece. At the end of the day we have over $25 in quarters in the bottom of our money bag. DVDs sold for $1, t.v. seasons for $5. Video games for $3-$5. Books were .50. Clothing .50/piece, shoes $1/pair, toys $1, little toys .25. Furniture ranged from $3-$25.
  2. Accept Offers. Would you rather go down a few bucks and get it out of there, or stick to your price and have to haul it back in the garage later?
  3. Baked good go fast! We served up some amazing cookies, coconut banana bread with lime glaze, black bottom banana bars, and vegan brownies. We actually had a little argument over the one full loaf of banana bread, which sold for $5!
  4. Price items. People would rather see a price on the item that throw an offer out with no guidelines.
  5. Have bags available. The week before the sale I actually asked for plastic at the grocery store and left the reusable sacs in the car. We used them all up at the sale really fast.
  6. Really consider what you are keeping. Do you really need it? If it's not bolted down, it's fair game. Ask do I need it? Does it mean something to me that can not be replaced? Is it replaceable if I decide I made the wrong choice? When is the last time it was used?
  7. Keep clothing organized. We spread out a blanket on each side of the driveway. One side was adult clothing and one side was boys clothing. At .50 a piece we sold a ton of it!
  8. Smile at your shoppers, make small talk and be happy to be there. 
  9. Short hours work! We were only out from 7am-noon on a Saturday. The afternoons are almost always so slow that it's not worth it and by noon most of the good stuff is sold.
  10. Advertise on craigslist, and create an event on facebook. Put up signs around the neighbourhood so that no one will have trouble finding you. We didn't even bother with an ad in the paper, and we did just fine.
  11. Don't do it alone. Make sure you have a helper. Find a friend, neighbour, or family member to help you out. I couldn't have done it without my awesome helpers. :)


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