The weather has been nothing short of glorious, and you know what that means, right? That means we have been busy with spring cleaning. And by “we,” I actually do mean everyone in our family.
My younger daughter has been going through all her clothes. This is to say that she can almost see her clothes again. I helped her a little bit by holding up each and every item I found in the corner of her room. She responded by saying “Dirty” or “Too Small” or “Not Mine.” I’m not sure what her organizational system was for piling all of the clothes she’s ever owned, worn or touched onto the floor, but with just a glance, she knew where each one belonged. She didn’t do anything about it, necessarily, but she knew where it belonged.
I tackled the closets. Nine years ago, we moved into our beloved home just three weeks before school started. I haven’t looked in the closets since that frantic weekend when I shoved all the homeless items into a closet so they could have a home until I “got around to” sorting through them all. Nine years later, here I am, sorting through them all.
I’m not sure where my daughter gets her organizational skills. Okay fine. I guess it’s partly from me. Partly, I say, because you haven’t heard the rest of my story.
With my younger daughter and I working inside the house, the windows open, iTunes playing our favorite tunes, my older daughter and my husband decided to work outside. She’s a high school sophomore who’s been exploring career options so she decided to see if botany, horticulture or agriculture areas appealed to her as she decided to clean out the flowerbeds and flowerpots. She even began planning what we could plant this year to beautify our home and add to the curb appeal. She started by dumping all the dead and gone plants from the pots into the flower bed and then pulling the long-forgotten vines and piling them for compost in the middle of the yard.
My husband, God bless his little heart, decided to clean out the garage. He started by dragging out everything that was in the garage and putting it in the middle of the driveway. When the driveway was full, he began stacking it in the yard. For that brief moment, while everything was not where it belonged, our garage looked pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.
As I carried a box of donations to the garage, I passed my husband sweeping out a corner. I asked him where he wanted me to put the box, and he motioned to a pile of other boxes on the front lawn. I took two steps then stopped in my tracks.
“By where those people are?” I asked, pretty sure he was unaware that there were three adults in our front yard looking at boxes. Two of the women had empty flower pots in their hands. I’m not sure where my daughter was.
“Who are they?” he asked, joining me at the edge of our garage.
I looked at him trying to convey that I hadn’t invited people over to dig through our stuff. I felt that if I were to say much more, I might offend them. Whoever they were.
“How much for the pots?” one of them asked, holding up a planter that had never really been my favorite.
I started to answer that it wasn’t for sale when my husband interrupted me and said, “How much will you give for it?”
And then it was on. I held my box of old sheets as they dug through it, selecting a set of sheets for a full bed and three extra king-sized pillow cases. I sat the once-organized box down on my front lawn as my husband walked over to greet yet another couple who had stopped by to see what we had to offer.
I started to tell them that we had nothing to offer. Instead, I went back inside to gather more boxes and to yell at the girls to drag their unwanted items to the lawn.
At one point, a gardener was convinced she could bring the vine that my daughter yanked from our flowerbed back to life and gave us $3 for it. We got rid of a box of bottles we hadn’t taken to recycling yet and a pair of rain boots I had never seen before in my life went for $5.
The spurt of people wandering through our yard lasted for about two hours. Then it died down, and we resumed our spring cleaning tasks. Overall, it was a good day.
$235 is not a bad haul considering we weren’t having a garage sale.
Heather Davis is a momma, a writer, and a believer in the power of front-yard negotiations. You can contact her through her website at www.Heather-Davis.net.