Do the words “garage sale” fill you with unbridled joy? Does the added word “neighborhood” excite you in an unhealthy way? Are you often late to important events because of the seductive pull of the garage sale sirens? Are you worried that you may be a hoarder in the making?
Are you quietly weeping now that you’ve answered a resounding yes to all of the above?
There, there. I’m here to help. You see I, too, was once plagued by garage sale fever, unable to resist whatever sale came into my line of vision. But those days are long gone. Oh, I still stop at one on occasion, but I am now able to curb the urge to hit them all.
How did I do it? I wrote down some helpful mantras and then dutifully repeated them whenever temptation struck. Give it a try.
Mantra No. 1: I don’t know where the items have been or what they have been used for. I admit to being a bit of a germaphobe, so — no surprise — this is my most valuable mantra. You know that TV show “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation?” Where they zero in on the grossness of crimes to a molecular level? Practice the same technique with whatever item you are considering at a garage sale. The day I discovered dentures in a vintage sewing kit was a watershed moment and the genesis for this mantra.
Mantra No. 2: I will never be on that TV show, “Antiques Roadshow.” For so long, I dreamed of being the lucky person to find some rare antique at a garage sale that turned out to be worth millions. I even fantasized about the moment on “Antiques Roadshow” when they revealed the item’s worth — a moment marked by giddy laughter, happy dancing, grateful weeping and dramatic fainting. From there, I envisioned appearances on morning TV shows followed by a book deal. You, too? Three words: Not gonna happen.
Mantra No. 3: I am stronger than the pull of a good deal. Oh, the good deal get, who doesn’t love finding a pair of gently used Uggs for $5? A French press coffee maker for $8? A Ping putter for $10? That you don’t golf or drink coffee or wear Uggs is beside the point; you scored big time. You saved a bundle on items you’ll never use. Depressing, isn’t it? That’s why you’ll need to repeat this mantra with conviction whenever your car starts to mysteriously veer toward a sale. Try simultaneously whacking your head on the steering wheel as you say the words out loud. Works like a charm for me.
Mantra No. 4: I am downsizing. I AM downsizing. I am DOWNSIZING. The repetition of this mantra is critical, because it is the one, quite weirdly, that many of us forget. I say quite weirdly, because it’s all anyone harps about anymore, especially us empty nesters. But is this harping doing us any good? No. We are still sniffing around garage sales, bent on worsening our downsizing woes by buying more stuff. It’s a never ending battle that only you can win by chanting this mantra.
Good luck! And may the mantras be with you.
Anne Palumbo writes this column for Messenger Post newspapers. Her email is