Putting In the Work

I write a lot about ways you can go greener in your own life, and I try to practice everything I 'preach'. Most things come natural to me, and I almost get anxiety when it comes to throwing something away. In every instance, I run down my list of options - reuse, recycle, donate, repurpose, then toss. Throwing something away is a last resort option for me.

I moved in to my fiance's exactly two years ago. With me came a cat and apartment full of furniture, kitchen stuff, clothes and decorations. As the stuff piled up, the idea came to have a garage sale. (Milo not for sale.) Let's make some extra money off our stuff, I said.

It was one of the most-put-off things we've ever done, but finally we decided to go through with it when my mom announced she was going to hold her own. Our guest bedroom has functioned as storage for two years and we were ready to reclaim the space! (Spoiler alert, it's not hotel-worthy yet, but it's so close and it's seriously motivating!)

We started prepping, pricing items and organizing a few weeks back. And this past week felt crazily nonstop. There's a lot of work that goes into planning and executing a garage sale, and that's if you use your own driveway. If you're holding a joint sale with another family and you have to move all of your stuff over there in advance, it's about twice the work. We spent three evenings moving bins of stuff over, then spent the night before setting everything out like a mini used Bed Bath & Beyond.

After all of two and a half hours of sleep, we were up to make sure everything was ready and wait for customers. The morning went by both slow and quick, and while we made an acceptable profit, we still had way too much left over that I was in no mood to pack back up and move again.

The garage sale was one thing. The work to donate what didn't sell was a whole other thing. All in all, we made three trips to Goodwill, two trips to Plato's Closet and one trip to the library.

Even on a Sunday evening, it still feels like our garage sale work isn't over. We first brought two loads of bins to Goodwill for donation, then had to drop off a few tables we borrowed to hold our goods.

We brought two large containers of clothing to Plato's Closet and walked out with every last piece still in our containers. After the first trip late on a Saturday evening, we decided not to leave the bins, and chose to come back on Sunday. It's highly disheartening, especially when you're already exhausted and frustrated you have so much left over, to get a big fat whammy on making a little extra cash. So the clothes made up the third trip to Goodwill.

After hauling in a bajillion pound container of books, CDs and movies to the library's front desk, we learned the donations now take place at their collection facility, a couple miles away, and by the way it's closed on Sunday.

(On a side note, we also made two trips to Best Buy as part of exchanging a Christmas gift for something similar. I was also supposed to drop off a container full of random cables and cords that we don't need. Needless to say, that box is still in the back of my car.)

So, in our big effort to purge and get our house back, we have been moving nonstop for about four days now, and we still have items in the house that we don't want to see anymore. We are just tired. Late on a Sunday night, laying in bed with my laptop, it's my first chance to actually sit down and rest.

And we're still not done. I still have a donation trip to Acadiana Animal Aid, another trip to Best Buy, a trip to the library book donation drop, and I need to go back in my own blog and figure out where I can donate old eyeglasses. My fiance still has things he plans to sell online.

But I am going to make sure everything goes somewhere where it can be recycled or reused again. That's just how I work. And even after all this work, I still can't bring myself to just throw something away. I was thinking about how this must be why other people just throw everything out. IT'S SO MUCH EASIER.

But, even if it's easier, I know that it takes a bigger toll on the planet, and I just don't want to contribute to the landfill if I don't absolutely have to. Even if no one wanted my pile of clothing this weekend, I still donated it, where someone might see something and choose to buy and wear it.

This is why I put in all the work. Everything we tried to sell is still usable in some way. I'd so much rather do the work to try every avenue we have to allow someone else to use what we just don't need anymore. It still pained me to throw some things away this weekend, but I told myself (and my mom told me), "At least you tried."

We did try. It may not have gone as well as we hoped, but we still made an impact. We earned a little money and we donated a lot. I hope our stuff serves its new owners well.

And, going forward, I'll be much better about getting all the information before shlepping heavy containers all over town!

Oh, and I'm still in purge mode, so I'm sure this cycle will be repeating itself for the next few weeks!

A garage sale day sunset, forcing me to stop and rest a minute.
While sometimes doing the green thing can be more work, it's also more worthwhile. I'm tired and my feet still hurt, but we tried, and it feels SO great that we didn't just throw all of our stuff on the curb for trash pickup.

1 comment

Anonymous said...

First, Target accepts old eyeglasses. That's where I have brought mine :) Second, congrats on following through on what you preach. Things don't always go as plan, but following through on what you believe is always a huge success, so congratulations!

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