Introvert's Guide to Holding a Yard Sale

>> Thursday, May 25, 2017

In the last week or so we've had a yard sale, taken two trips to the children's second hand shop, and I've also made my first transaction via a local mom's Facebook sale group. I feel like a superhero of sorts when it comes to getting rid of all the dreaded stuff. Yet, when I think back . . . I thought I got rid of everything last year. You know, the great purge. Why am I doing it again? Obviously I haven't been following my own advice to stop bringing things home. That's not the topic of today's post, though.

Let me tell you about introverts having yard sales. It's a comical situation. I got so wrapped up in the prospect of making cash money from all my things that I hadn't considered the strain it would have on me. And, yes, strain is the right word. Of course, I am being slightly dramatic. But sitting around while random strangers paw through your children's old toys and make small talk is a nightmare scenario in my eyes.


So, here's the setting: Saturday morning, dawn.

I got up early. I had already staged everything in the garage the day before so it would be at the ready. I pulled each makeshift table (these camping cots we've had for eons sure come in handy for lots of things!) out to the driveway and proceeded with marking prices. Most were $1, $5, $10, and even amounts. Pretty easy -- I was ready to go in 10 minutes. But also pretty hard to put a price on things with so much sentimental value and even guilt attached. I digress.

And just like that, it happened. People started slowing their vehicles. Stopping at the foot of the driveway to gawk. To ask questions by shouting out their car windows. Walkers and joggers took notice, too. You know, because that's what people do when they're trolling around for deals. It's part of the game, Ashley.

When people started approaching . . . the conversation I had in my head was sort of like this:

Oh, god. 
Here comes this or that person. 
Do I look right at him/her? 
Should I say hi? 
Hm. 
Maybe I should just let him/her look around first. 
OK. That's the plan.

It would never fail. I'd say an awkward "hello" and nervously giggle.

Inevitably, someone would want to chat or ask a question. It's a social interaction, after all. I don't know what I was expecting. (Maybe next time I'll have a sign that reads: "Please just buy my things in silence.") We had all sorts of people come by. Some of them ended up being people we'd met briefly in the past. Some of them, we learned, do this trash-into-treasures hunt every weekend. And some seem to have crawled out of the woodwork. One woman exclusively clapped to get her 2-year-old son's attention. I think I made a nasty face at this whole thing, and she left in a huff.

I think one of the most uncomfortable parts of the sale, at least to me, is when people wouldn't buy anything. Instead, I feel like they may have come just to look for looking sake. We had primarily baby and little girl things. It was plain as day because the driveway was basically glowing primary colors.

We would have people slowly examine each and every item only to come up to us and say "Well, I don't have a family or any friends with kids. In fact, I have never even met a human child -- so none of this stuff interests me". Thank you. You could have decided that from the road versus slowly stalking that table of brightly colored toys for the last 10 minutes. Have a nice day. Merry Christmas.

I imagine Stephen's account of the sale is different from mine. In short: People were everywhere. People lingered. Drivers honked and waved. Some tried to haggle. Some lonely stragglers had no interest in the sale and simply wanted to talk to someone. In the end, though, I survived to tell the story. And I'll probably do it again sometime. That is, after I get back the mental energy. People zap me out cold.

So what are my tips for introverts who want to hold yard sales?

1. Grab your extroverted partner, if possible. Stephen -- thank god -- was able to take a big shift while I took Ada to gymnastics. He was loving it. He's entertained by people. He genuinely likes chatting with strangers. So, I let him do it while I pretended to clean the garage. Only problem is that he had an appointment during the bulk of the latter half of the sale. So, I was solo for a good chunk.

2. Hold your sale with a friend or neighbor. We were lucky because it was a neighborhood sale, so our friends next door were also outside. I considered them my crutch if I started getting uncomfortable. Actually, the husband is quite like me and retreated to his basement during most of the festivities. (Lucky.) Anyway, at least I had a familiar face to hang with.

3. Set definitive start and end times. Some people hold sales all day weekend long. They sit and sit and sit. I knew that I wanted to be done by 2PM because -- well -- that's what I decided on the spot. So, when I got uncomfortable, I knew that we were getting closer to my somewhat early end time.

4. Consider alternative modes for selling your stuff if you're really uncomfortable with the idea of having people scattered about your lawn. As I mentioned in my intro, I also went to the local children's second hand store. So, we made $165 at the yard sale (by selling only like 5 things!) . . . but we made another $100 at the store. Honestly, if I had started by taking everything to the store, I may have made slightly less . . . but if you consider the time and energy that went into holding a yard sale . . . you have to figure the cost of time.

Have you had a yard sale? Do you love it or hate it? You have to admit that -- no matter what end of the spectrum you're on -- it's an experience.

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More Thoughts, Fewer Ideas

>> Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Of course, when I write about possibly stopping writing . . . I all of a sudden have so much to say. First, I wanted to extend a big thank you to those of you who sent me comments and messages on this topic. That's the reason I've continued on as long as I have. This community is so supportive and kind. I have loved "knowing" some of you for the past decade, give or take.


It seems like you guys mostly understand where I am right now with blogging. I love writing. I don't love content generation. Also, I think some of you were confused when I wrote that I like watching YouTube and Instastories more lately. I don't mean I'm considering replacing writing with these things. In my experience, putting together videos for my YouTube channel takes so much more time and energy. Writing flows. I also don't have to get dressed or put on makeup to write. I suppose I don't need to do that to record either -- but you know, vanity.

The more thought I've put into the whole situation, the more I've decided that less is definitely more. As a writer and as a reader, I think this idea holds true. A return, perhaps, to the good old days of blogging may be my thing. A 2005-style (thanks, Chrissy!) of longer or at least more poignant narratives, less often. More of my thoughts and less take-home ideas (though I'm sure bits and pieces will spark things you may want to try for yourselves). A recipe where it feels right, but not testing and tooling for recipe creation's sake.

Obviously, I'll continue to share the everyday things I'm doing. Like how we're building a glorified kiddie pool with a filter (!!!) so we won't have to continually dump and refill all summer long! (By the way, if you've wondered where I've been on social media recently -- I've been digging and leveling.)


I've always been meaning to share more about my homesteading efforts, too. I just planted our garden for the year, for example, and I'm excited to start small.  I had all these sweeping plans to be much more impressive, but -- again -- the theme this year seems to be less is more.

A longstanding goal of mine is to grow more of our own food in the backyard. I have had many missteps along the way. But instead of forcing . . . sharing my tips and tricks, I'd rather just share the chronicles. Because I actually don't know what I'm doing! I'd rather write about my observation of the pesky robins and other birds who jump the fence I took a good hour erecting. They laugh in my face as they nosh on the would-be eggplants and peppers.


Somehow when I inserted that last image, it deleted the rest of what I had written. Several paragraphs. Fail. So, I mostly wanted to say that I appreciate there are some of you who still read blogs. Already, writing in this more narrative style versus TIPS and DIY THIS and PIN ME! It's just easier. It suits me more in this stage of life.

So, if you'll keep reading . . . I'd love to keep at it in this way. And if you read blogs that are in this style, please share them with me. I'd love to get back to more reading, too.

Let's begin this resurgence of old-school blogging. I'm all in!

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Who Even Reads Blogs Anymore?

>> Monday, May 22, 2017

Do you guys remember when blogs were, like, the whole world? I'm talking early 2000s to maybe about 2010-2011. I'd wake each morning and eagerly open my Google Reader to see who posted what, often reading for an hour or more before I officially started my day. Slowly, life started to take over. The hours I used to read became skimming or short bursts of catching up. And in more recent years, Instagram has almost completely taken over reading. I'll scroll through pretty pictures while nursing. And my new favorite activity is watching Instastories.

I'm losing steam when it comes to blogging. There are many reasons.

  • I don't feel I have as much to say as I once did. I used to take on a much more expert opinion on matters. In my ripe old age of 33, I don't necessarily feel like I have much figured out anymore. Or at least I've learned to put my foot in my mouth whenever I think I finally have figured out everything. Because, ultimately, there are many ways to do things. All things.
  • I don't have as much time anymore. Practically, I have to spend time where the money is, and that's freelancing for me. I make a modest living pecking out articles on medical matters. It feels much more stable than trying to hedge my bets on blogging as my main source of income. Unless you're part of a select few, blogging money isn't what it used to be. And I'm unwilling to submit myself to the sellout gods. I've experimented with sponsored stuff in the past . . . and I'm not saying I'll never take on sponsored posts again, but it's a delicate balance. Most people don't do it well.
  • People just aren't reading as much anymore. I have a good number of devoted readers, and I love you guys. But it's hard to pour energy and thought into something when it just isn't reaching many people for whatever reason. There have always been hits or misses, but lately it's more misses. 
  • And I think that has to do with stage of life. When I was in my twenties, I had all the time in the world to think about my fitness, eating, and personal stuff. Everything about adulting was so fresh and new and exciting. The sorts of people who are attracted to this space seem to care mostly about my journaling. My personal thoughts versus recipes, tutorials, or anything else. We know that planning the perfect birth/wedding/fitness plan/outfit isn't always feasible. That doesn't mean we don't try . . . but we'd rather read deeply personal accounts of life so we don't feel so alone. At least that's me.
  • But as I've written in the past (almost a year ago, in fact), I'm conflicted about sharing too much. Because sometimes someone random will take your photos and pretend your children are actually her children. For years. You know, weird stuff like that -- and no, I don't feel like going into detail!
I don't necessarily think I'm done blogging full stop, but I may approach it in a new way. I may go down to posting just once a week with words. Once a week with photos. Something personal. Something of quality. Something that means something . . . rather than churning water trying to get the number of posts up.

And as I typed that sentence -- not meaning to be done with you guys just yet -- my teething 11-month-old baby is waking from her fitful nap. No, I don't like to blame the children. But when you deal with early wakeups, skipped naps, and overall crank for days weeks on end . . . running to the computer to come up with content isn't really what you want to do straight away. You sort of just want to stare at the wall for a minute, take a deep breath, and keep on keeping on. Or call a friend. Or your parents. Or do 10 minutes of Barre3.

I suppose I'll return with a part II. For now, I'm going to grab that apple ice teether out of the freezer and hope to goodness it does its magic.

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