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Thanks for the accounting of your garage sale. But, given how many hours you spent preparing for it, and then the actual sale itself, did you calculate how much you “earned” on a $/hour basis?


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No, all I know is that it seemed to take forever to go through everything in Mom’s house and decide what to keep, what to sell, what to donate. And what to trash. As far as the garage sale, I’ll give you your half the next time I see you.


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Keep my half. You did all the work. I did not even offer to help.


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And that was a big help. Thank you.


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Obviously, you must be exhausted because you are making no sense.

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Sorry, but I have a specific way of running garage sales, and the last thing I needed was another “cook in the kitchen”.

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Not a good analogy as “cook” is a four-letter word that I do not use.

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Cute. But seriously, I knew if I had asked you to help, you would’ve. But I can only imagine how you’d have reacted when you first saw all the stuff for sale. Especially as I treat garage sales as a way to get rid of items that I know have very little value. I’m not trying to maximize the money I make; I’m just trying to make the stuff “go away”. In fact, I don’t even put prices on them.

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That all makes sense. Except for not having everything pre-priced. That would drive me crazy. How do you know what to charge people?

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It’s an experience thing and another reason why I didn’t ask you to help. I have a sense of prices, but not something I could quantify in advance. When someone arrives, I tell them that everything’s cheap and give them an example. They usually look at me like, “Wow, she means it.” And then I tell them to collect what they want and that I promise to give them a good price. And I do.

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Is that why you and Mom never had joint garage sales? I cannot imagine she would let you determine prices on the spot.

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Actually, she’s the one who “taught” me not to price things. That if someone picks up something or you see them looking at it, they’re interested. And that’s all you need to know. Where we differed was in how much to charge. To her, it was fun, but also a way to make money. To me, a garage sale isn’t my retirement account. It’s my way to get rid of stuff, especially big, bulky stuff.

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In other words, people are paying you to haul off your trash. Or, save you trips taking stuff to your local thrift stores.

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Exactly. Although I still take a lot of items to thrift stores that would probably sell for a decent price at a garage sale because I believe in what they’re doing, and I know that my donations make a difference. But I forgot how fun a garage sale can be, meeting people and laughing, just making connections, and knowing that someone will now enjoy and/or use your things. Or, in this case, Mom’s things.

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Is there a particular age group that came to your garage sale?


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It was truly a mix of people. Not counting the kids tagging along with their parents, which reminded me of when the girls would set up a lemonade stand to benefit Make-A-Wish at my garage sales years ago, they ranged from 20-somethings to senior citizens. But I’m almost afraid to ask why you asked.


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I will not get into studies and statistics, but younger people are really into the environment and reusing older things, especially clothing (which is one of the three “new” R’s – reduce – reuse – recycle). So, garage sales, along with thrift stores, are becoming more popular than ever.


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I love it! And the idea of so many of Mom’s things, now that she’s passed, will get to live on and be enjoyed by others.


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At the risk of sounding like a MasterCard commercial, there are some things that money cannot buy. Like sentimental value and fond memories.


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I know. Which is why the process of sorting everything was so time-consuming. Interestingly, when that came up in conversation during the garage sale, so many people could relate and then shared their own stories. It was as if they wanted me to know that Mom’s things were getting a good home.


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Well, if you add that to the cash you made, it sounds like a very successful garage sale. Hopefully, the next sale, being an estate sale with larger and higher-priced items, will be as successful. And, although I tried to get you to use a professional “estate sale” company that would do everything for you, I am beginning to understand why you decided to do it yourself.


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The hardest part was culling and organizing, and there was no way I’d let strangers go through all of Mom’s things. And the internet makes “advertising” the sale and posting items online very easy. All-in-all, there’s no reason we can’t do it ourselves.


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We?!


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Yes, because your ability to combine photos into a single image and correct my grammar is important. But your spreadsheets will be critical.


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Now, that I can do.
Photo courtesy of Red


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I know that you’ve been involved with Make-A-Wish for decades, and it’s an amazing organization, but I’m not sure why you made such a big deal about the recent Texas Gulf Coast & Louisiana chapter ’s dedication of its building. I appreciate that you were part of the planning group, but with all due respect, it’s just a building.

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I don’t expect you to remember that it all started in 1980 when Tommy Austin wanted to do something special for a young boy, Chris Greicius, who was battling leukemia and wanted to be a policeman. That wish became a reality and the start of The Make-A-Wish Foundation.


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That story has always inspired me as it makes you realize the difference that just one person can make. But the building wasn’t named after Chris or Tommy, so I’m still confused.
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I may not celebrate Rosh Hashanah by going to temple, and now that the girls are no longer home for the holiday, I don’t prepare a seder with the traditional foods . But I know and appreciate that it’s one of the most important Jewish holidays, as it’s a time for reflection on the past and hope for the future. And this year, between world events, where I feel surrounded by so much negativity, and on the personal front, with Mom’s passing, it seems more important than ever before.


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Although Rosh Hashanah is filled with traditions, like apples dipped in honey because it is believed apples have healing properties (think of the rhyme, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”), and the honey signifies the hope for a new year that will be sweet … it is still incredibly relevant. In today’s hectic world, a contemplative holiday where you stop and think about the road you have traveled over the last year (including any wrong turns) and where you would like to go in the future may be exactly what we all need.

We wish everyone who celebrates Rosh Hashanah a happy and sweet New Year. And remember, you don’t have to be Jewish to look back and reflect … and then try to do better in the future.

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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So, I had to smile when Sawyer came to visit us at Mom’s estate sale. And even though I had seen her only a few hours before, I gave her a hug.


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Yes, you make it rather obvious that you are warm and fuzzy. And, a hugger.


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But what made me laugh was when she greeted you by acknowledging that you weren’t a hugger. Now there’s an understatement.


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No, it is merely a fact.


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I never realized, though, just how much both Natasha and Sawyer are like you. Although they begrudgingly let me hug them, they’d both be just as happy with a handshake. If that.


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Maybe a fist bump?
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