One of my new favorite things about the Spring and upcoming Summer to look forward to is GARAGE SALE SEASON! These signs totally jump out at me now and the reaction is always a huge smile and widened eyes in eager expectation of what treasures I will find amidst other people’s junk. There’s a quick look at my blind spots and a screeching of tires as I make the unexpected turn in the direction of the bold arrow. . .
The months before my wedding were spent every weekend possible driving around and for pennies (almost literally!) purchasing all the things that would come together to make a home: furniture, kitchenware, pillows, curtains, frames, candles, cookbooks, utensils, lamps, holiday items (even a tree base and manger!), baskets, even tools and lightbulbs! And the thrill of it all is talking down the price – I’m learning from the pros (including my amazing mother-in-law, queen of negotiations) to get the best deals. I have saved us so much money! I am reaching the point where I hesitate to ever spend full price on anything- even nails since I can find it at a garage sale. Why spend $1.99 when you can get it for $0.10-$0.25 !
With the exception of my beautiful, wooden antique desk ($75) and our practically new Restoration Hardware down-feather couch ($120), every piece of furniture in my house was $10 or less!
Of course, there’s always Goodwill and Thrift Stores that you can go to in your area, and I highly recommend supporting the ones that donate their profits to good charities such as Hope Houses.
This very different kind of shopping really is so much fun because if anything, it gets you out and about, learning your way around the many different areas around you (this especially for me has been a big plus!), can be so agreeable on a beautiful day when you can drive around with the windows down, and will save you so much money! But at the same time, as with anything, practice the virtue of moderation. Ask yourself if you really need it. . . not just are you getting it because it’s a good deal. It’s a big temptation, just like with any kind of shopping. But the point of it is to simplify your life, (especially financially) rather than over-clutter your home or worse yet- have only the material aspects of your home always be on your mind. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important to take care of your home, keep it organized and make it beautiful with homey touches. There’s great dignity in the work of the home just as much as in any other profession- but it should never be at the expense of losing the focus of this vocation. What I mean by this is that the point of it all is to serve your husband, children and friends through the material means, rather than merely showcasing and acquiring more.
Live simply and you’ll live happily,
I believe, especially when you’re starting off.
I am a total convert to this way of seeing with new eyes – that really is the charm of it all. You’re essentially restoring the beauty of something. Take my antique desk, for example. I’m not sure of its origin except that given it’s style (it even has an old lock with removable key!) and that it’s in fact made of a beautiful, solid wood (I love natural, quality materials that last) it obviously is very old. A young woman and her father bought it at an antique auction and payed a pretty penny for it. Though it was worn and scratched, they sanded it and refinished it to look as it does now- with so much character! She was very sweet and did not want to lower the price (she had it for $125, I think) but finally, when she found out that I was about to get married (a great selling point *wink), asked me,
“Will you love it forever?”
to which I could honestly say “Yes!” And so its story continues! I wrote all my thank you notes after my wedding day in it and continue to write letters to all my friends from it. I love the little built-in compartments where I can keep envelopes, stationary and stamps tucked into it. I especially love that it beckons me to write and rediscover the “Lost Art of Letter-Writing.”
Isn’t that part of the story of life: restoring the dignity of everything, seeing things with new eyes, building character, making all things new again? *It’s what we do for ourselves and for our friends: sanding down the roughness of our character, rescuing people who are suffering a setback, elevating spirits. . . just like the old, abandoned, piece of furniture that you restored and put back in a prominent place in your home, -it’s the same you do for others by bringing peace and joy back into their lives.* It’s what Jesus does for our souls through the Sacraments!
* My mother’s insightful words during a recent conversation*
I hope the charms of garage sale-ing, and seeing things with different eyes inspires you in your home life as it has me and I will keep posting on this topic to share some of the things I’m learning and implementing in my own home.