I’m a yard saler. Before I left the UK, I was a car boot saler. They’re pretty much the same thing, except one involves driving around neighborhoods looking for individual piles of junk outside people’s homes. The other involves going to a field where lots of people have gathered to sell old junk from the back of their cars.
I love both kind of sales, where I pounce upon shabby chic items that have character. I also have a tendency to think I’ll renovate or restore things, and can’t resist a bargain. So basically, I have a lot of junk. A couple of weeks ago, while setting up our own yard sale to start clearing the decks in preparation for our international move, it became apparent how much junk I’ve managed to amass in our 5 years in Denver. A LOT.
We spent a couple of nights preparing, putting out signs and making sure we were kind of ready. Then on a sunny Saturday morning, we had our first paying customer at about 8am. She bought a basket that had sat in a box somewhere since I bought it. Then a trickle of customers, who bought all kinds of trinkets, toys, books, garden equipment, candles, picture frames, chairs, etc etc. Someone even shoplifted. With most items priced between $0 and $1, they must have been in need, so we hope they enjoy their speakers and make some dancing magic with them.
Look – customers!
Towards the end of the yard sale a guy drove up and immediately asked if we had any musical instruments. I left Mr D to negotiate over the price of his electric guitar and amp while I attempted to keep P-nut from wounding herself on some randomly placed tools. Music man drove away and Mr D walked towards me looking very happy with himself for selling both our guitars.
As well as selling his electric guitar, he’d sold our acoustic guitar, which used to hang in our living room. We never really played it. I can barely string a tune together and Mr D can only play about 4 songs recognisably. But that guitar was part of my world that I could see on a daily basis. The kids loved it when we occasionally got it down, and could spend ages strumming/hitting it. They liked to put small toys inside it and get us to shake them out. It had travelled all around the North West with us on our 10 week camping trip and helped lull both babies to sleep when they were little.
In that moment, I felt physically sad. My heart felt tender and it hit home that selling up and clearing out is going to be an emotional process. I say I’m not attached, having bought most things second hand. But our world here is unravelling bit by bit and it’s sad and a little bit scary.
Now a couple of weeks have passed, I’ve got used to the bare wall where the guitar used to hang. The chaos of all the other preparations has swallowed up that guitar-shaped void.
I’ve been starting to tell my wider circle that we’re leaving. So the move is becoming even more real. When it’s someone like my bikini waxer, it’s kind of weird. But good. A bit like snipping away at the strands of a rope that are keeping us docked here.
Soon we’ll have to cut the last few strands and that’s going to be hard, and almost too surreal to think about. For now, I need to keep my eye on the future and remember all the things that we’re just about to gain. Like old friends, family and a sense of being where were meant to be. I hope….