My husband took me to a yard sale today. It was held in one of those places that rent large storage bins by the month for folks to hold all the flotsam and jetsam of their well-ordered lives. Boy was I surprised. These aren’t the typical yard sales I remember growing up or going to estate sales on weekends looking for that rocker I couldn’t live without. These are full-blown retail outlets working out of these storage bins. They even had those cutesy signs hanging outside with huge industrial fans blowing so you couldn’t hear yourself think or hold a conversation with the owner. They were needed – those tin cans got hot inside. It was fun seeing some very old things like the old Coca-Cola cold soda machine from the 50s, so very similar to the one my grandparents had in their little mom-and-pop store in Chattanooga. It was heartbreaking to see the tiny bits and pieces of glassware and jewelry they were trying to sell, because my life is cluttered just like theirs, and I wonder what I would do with all my treasures.
I should have taken pictures, but I somehow don’t think the store owners would have appreciated it. It’s hard to put into words what seeing all this stuff did to me. I don’t need any more dishes or crockery or knickknacks or furniture or clothes. Now, books. Whole nother story. When my husband pointed out a slew of books on the back table in one of the booths, of course I checked it out. In fact the sales lady and I got so involved in our conversation that my husband interrupted, saying call me when you’re free, I’ll be in the next aisle. I bought 3 books.
All this made me think what the purpose of these storage areas has accomplished. There must be thousands of them strung across America, helping us organize and re-organize our lives. I know when my grandmother passed away, my youngest sister stored some of Granny’s furniture in a storage bin, until she could either sell it or assimilate the pieces into her home. When we moved south from West Virginia, we used one for a short time until my husband could build another shed on our lot to hold the things we thought we needed to make our house a home. Now his shed is built and we’ve emptied our storage bin. But all the stuff that was in the storage bin is now in smaller totes, and still in a storage bin (his shed). We walk out there occasionally, stare at them and wonder what’s in them, saying one of these days, we’ve got to clean them out. There’s just something wrong with this picture. I know I’ve got too much stuff, but I’m just not gonna rent one of those storage bins and sit there and try to sell my stuff. No, I’ll just leave it all for my grandchildren to sort through.