The minimization station becomes a fundraiser for freedom at our first Free Range Quest garage sale

I can’t believe it’s June. Of course, when it’s 50 degrees and rainy ten months out of the year it’s tough to see summer coming.

After a very late night show with The Old States in St. John’s on Friday, we did not get to bed until around 3 a.m. Honest, it’s been many years since any band I’ve played in went that late. So we were a bit slow to roust Saturday, but determined to push past the inertia and try to get some momentum.

Our garage sale, an intended fundraiser for our bus, “ALFie” (and a huge step in the direction of minimalism), had been delayed for weeks in a row due to rain. But skies were dry.

ALFie became a “bus boutique” with our clothing rack onboard, and signs with Free Range Quest info on our fundraiser. The garage was full and we spread out more on the lawn and sidewalk, with a refurbed parking sign out in the street. Got the Craiglist ad, Facebook updates posted.

And it was slow.

Maybe one or two browsers in a couple hours, people had already planned and embarked on their weekend and the best we could hope was for some visitors via curb appeal. Around commute time we started seeing sales on our busy street.

My 4’ X 4’ goldtop painting was out by the railing and spotted by an older gentleman cruisin’ down the street in a Rascal scooter. He mentioned he was interested and would be right back after returning some cans to the recycling center. He came back a few minutes later. I had decided I would sell it to anyone who offered to buy it or even expressed interest. The customer, who introduced himself as ‘Art’, drew his medicine bottle of change, pulled out some coins and a crumpled one for a grand total of about two bucks. He was worried I would be insulted by his offer. Far from it! I was happy to give it a home and thrilled at the thought of someone enjoying the art…OK, as long as he wasn’t hoarding.

I took the cash, thanked him, and helped load it onto the front of his scooter and he rolled on down the street, showing off my amateur masterpiece to the denizens of NE Killingsworth.

He would be back.

Sunday we were up and ready by our 10 a.m. posted time. No one came for at least an hour. By that time we were supposed to go to a birthday brunch in Southeast, but brunch was cancelled and the place was hopping, so we decided to extend the sale. Friends were coming over too and bringing treats.

I had to keep moving eye catching pieces out front to catch drivers. The biggest was the Day of Dead Mexican skeleton CD shelf. That finally went for $10. I had put a smaller companion painting out front, and soon Art came back, gave me another $2 for it, asked if I had any more. I ran back in, grabbed the half-finished snare drum and gave it to him. We shook hands and he handed me some of his writings on the importance of family. A nice offering from a sweet soul.

Our retired neighbor lady came over, bought several small pieces and we chatted for hours about the neighborhood committee, the drugs and crime, the farm she was raised on. She got a dozen eggs with her purchase and she soon returned with some hearty tomato and lettuce starts for our garden.

We lost count of how many people offered to buy ALFie.

Several customers voluntarily rounded up their purchase price as a donation to Free Range Quest. One such donation was a two dollar bill; that seemed to be a sign — my Wife had her wallet stolen the day before while she was out purchasing some supplies for the sale and a deuce dollar was one of the many low-value things the thieves got away with. The Universe returned it!  More valuable, we realized during this sale that we have some very caring and generous neighbors.

A couple of contractor guys came by and pillaged the free pile of hardware, adhesives and paint stuff. They liked to tell us about all the jobs they were working on, how the chop saw was off for the crown moulding gig they were working on and how it ended up as a three day job instead of one. They were stoked about the free wood putty.

One woman from the neighborhood bought the tall bookshelf with lion head drawer pulls that I’d had for years and had to strap it on her small sedan. Her and her friend got about 6 feet from the house before it started to topple over, so we brought them some twine and they were on their way.

We had to keep running back to Craigslist to post every hour or so to keep extending the sale. By the time there were some raindrops falling, it was about 6:30 and we were pretty much spent, a lot lighter and a few hundred in the fund. Getting rid of personal property can be physically taxing! We felt a twinge of loss braided in with our larger feelings of freedom and relief from letting go of so many things we have held onto for years (watching ‘Hoarders’ can be a huge motivator).

A small load of leftover items went back in the bus and garage, destined for three piles – Donations to Goodwill, and The Rebuilding Center, donations to the garbage, and a few big ticket items to post on Craigslist.

It still seems like we have so much ‘stuff’. But we do manage to move a couple things a day to our Minimization Station – which is really just a box in our spare room… 

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I keep reminding myself a successful day only needs focus on the seeds we plant. And the bigger the hurdles seem as we reach for our goals, the stronger the determination grows.

Work builds muscle.



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