Three months. That’s how long I had been parking my truck in the driveway because my half of the garage was full.
Loyal readers might remember that we did some remodeling last fall. During the process we gleaned massive amounts of unneeded stuff from cupboards, drawers and closets. All of it ended up nicely sorted and laid out on folding tables in the garage.
The plan? Have a garage sale. I mean, why not make a few bucks off the stuff?
First attempt: Cancelled due to rain.
Second attempt: Cancelled due to dad’s reluctance to get out of bed.
Third attempt: Cancelled due to rain.
On March 7th I made the following crack on Facebook: “Half our garage is full of stuff for an “eventual” garage sale. Then we get a reminder that there will be a D.I. pod at the Stake Center…”
…and the response was quick – 72 people chimed in with their opinions, Most were along this line:
- I’d rather give it to the DI, garage sales are not for me…
- Quick, load up the car/truck/SUV before you have time to think about it! I HATE garage sales – I would rather give it to D.I. and see it put to good use than haggle with a bunch of people that think that $3 for a child’s Sunday dress (that cost me $50) is too much, and want to pay 50 cents.
Then two friends dropped the guilt hammer (One happens to manage our nearest D.I.)
“The blessings of a storehouse for the bishops. In Mesa we have to import product from Utah to stay full.” (Seriously? How embarrassing for Arizona!)
“More power to those who are into garage sales. Not I! I read an article a while back about how donating stuff to the DI or other consignment stores is a way we live the Law of Consecration. When we have excess of what we need, we share it with others without asking for money in return.”
It caused me to re-evaluate. I knew for sure that I dreaded holding the garage sale, but the idea of recouping a few extra bucks sounded good. Exploring it in the context of the Law of Consecration was enlightening, and brought a change of heart that was followed by a change of mind.
Yet there was a potential problem: My youngest had organized a bunch of stuff, including bikes, furniture and electronics that he owned, and was counting on selling to make some money. He was pumped up for it and was already seeing dollar signs. Since I don’t run a dictatorship, I was going to need to persuade him to give it up.
I thought through the speech I was going to give him. It would go something like this:
“Son, we don’t really take advantage of many of the opportunities we have to care for the poor and needy. We were thinking that maybe, instead of holding a garage sale, we could donate the stuff to Deseret Industries as charity. I know you were counting on making some money from your bikes and stuff – Maybe, instead, I could give you some money to make up for that. What do you think?”
I decided to drop the bombshell on him when we were driving home from Church. I took a breath and launched:
“Son, we don’t really take advantage of many of the opportunities we have to care for the poor and needy. We were thinking that maybe, instead of holding a garage sale…”
“Okay.” He cut me off.
“Sounds good. Should we take it to D.I.”
“Yeah, but what about the money?”
“Oh, it’s okay, this is probably a better thing to do.”
…and the child becomes the teacher.
A few days later I messaged my friend and asked him where the donation pods were that week. He gave me the address and the lock combination. I loaded up my truck – three times – and filled up half that pod. I came home, and pulled into the garage.
That felt good. It felt right.
A thought from President Monson in 1991, well before the current emphasis on serving refugees:
“Generous contributions of wearing apparel to Deseret Industries are being used to clothe men, women, and children around the world. Clothing is sorted, sized, and shipped to locations as far distant as Romania, Peru, Zimbabwe, and Sierra Leone, as well as to cities in North America. This clothing has warmed and comforted those exiled in refugee centers and orphanages. Meaning is given to the words, “I was … naked and ye clothed me.” (Matt. 25:35–36.)
Elder M. Russell Ballard made it much more personal when he said:
“We should never forget the Savior’s teaching: “Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48). He has blessed us abundantly. I think of the teaching words of one of our hymns:
Because I have been given much, I too must give;
Because of thy great bounty, Lord, each day I live
I shall divide my gifts from thee
With ev’ry brother that I see
Who has the need of help from me.” (link)
-I have been given much.
Being willing to part with stuff that once held value can feel like a sacrifice. One thing that really helped me was an idea I heard – but I don’t remember where it heard I – that went something like this:
“The value of the item you are struggling to part with is NOT how much you paid for it. It is how much you would pay for it TODAY.”
That perspective helps me to part with that item that cost me $100, which will probably be sold to someone for $5 – but that person might need it desperately.