Even though my materialistic desires are almost completely drained – between wanting to live cheaply and efficiently, my recent bout of health issues, and realizing that on a daily basis, I don’t interact with almost any of the objects I own – I still had enough energy for a journalistic trip to a yard sale during the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone is required to wear masks to enter businesses where I live. I’m not sure about yard sales…
I’ll wear face masks for the foreseeable future, however, regardless of wherever I go.
I see no major disadvantage in them, so for me, when I drove down the street where this sandwich board advertised its yard sale, I wondered whether the people hosting the yard sale would be wearing masks. The street was crowded with cars on both sides of the street but past that was the yard sale. I parked past the house, put on my mask, locked my car in the affluent neighborhood, and walked to the house.
They weren’t wearing masks.
I would say that, now, the only things I would look for at any yard sales would consist of books and things that I might collect. I still do collect CDs, but I’ll be going through and downsizing a majority of them over the next year. Beyond my monitor are about a dozen boxes of CDs that I either haven’t looked at in almost two years or haven’t done much with, so the question becomes “do I own these because I like these or because I liked these?” If I still like these, today, then play them, use them, and enjoy them. If I liked them, but don’t, then get rid of them.
I probably won’t collect too many books, though, to be honest.
Other than those two collectible categories, toys and action figures are the biggest third category to come to mind, and are something that I do enjoy, but only to a certain extent. I should be rather exclusive when it comes to what I collect. Rather than “anything” as I did years ago, I should only keep things from my favorite franchises, or the things that mean the most to me. I haven’t put much thinking time into this because it’s not a huge spacial deal, but the ramifications of these decisions do affect how I go out to places like grocery store toy aisles, toy stores, other specialty stores, or yard sales.
There wasn’t much of note at the yard sale.
I had run out of energy while I was walking around, so I didn’t get much of a chance to make small talk with them about how business was going, but they weren’t wearing masks and their overall wares were minimal. It’s been some years since I used to go to yard/garage sales frequently, so I can’t comment definitively on their textures, but there’s usually a difference between the sellers that want to wholesale get rid of everything and those who want to hang out outside and maybe sell an item or two.
The main difference is the wholesalers will tell you they’re getting gone.
Those are the situations where you’re more likely to leave the sale with some stuff, whether you had wanted it or not, whether it was free or cheap. Over the past few years, since moving out of the old place, my relationship to materialism has changed in that I don’t value the individual object as much. I’m more accepting of getting rid of things or buying things and then parting ways with them later. Ideally, I would like to have small collections of just the essentials – the items that mean the most essential to me in their categories, or items that potently represent myriad emotions – rather than having a vast collection of meaningless things.
I went not really expecting to buy anything, but still, you never know.
I can usually tell, between the items they’re selling and their prices, whether it’s even worth hanging out for too long. The books were overpriced and not anything I would read, so I left after taking a brief look around, but still, it was nice to see that yard sales are still around. As I got in my car, left the neighborhood, and went to take the photo that introduced this essay, I thought about how the nature of materialism will only change in minor ways. People will still appreciate owning things, and they’ll still use things, but will things be worth as much?
What if people sell all their rare stuff for medical or moving expenses?
I know, for me, I’d rather get rid of almost everything I own just so that way I don’t have those burdens anymore. Physical objects represent responsibilities that I have to tend to and care about. I’m currently listening to a digital album and if that album were to get taken offline, which would be weird since it’s hosted legally online, then I would listen to another album. It wouldn’t be my problem to get that album back online. I do have that responsibility with my website, and I do what I can to secure and backup my website, but if it were destroyed beyond recovery, then I would move on.
I wonder if we’ve invested too much, financially, into materialism?
For me, I haven’t invested anything more than the cost of each object. I never considered a single object I owned as anything other than something that would make me happy for its proximal relation to myself, but now, I consider materialism to be less like that and more to be like how we eat food. When I buy lunch, I can choose to enjoy it, and it’s gone. It’s a temporal life experience. Owning a book should let me unlock the experience of reading its contents. If not, then it’s like having cans of food on shelves until their expiration dates pass.
That would be like having to move or getting items for free.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Driving home and seeing this sign, then thinking about my experiences.|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.|
|Photo: The other side of the sandwich board did not have “today” on it. Hard-hitting journalism, I know.|
|Written On: 2020 July 05 [6:31pm to 7pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 July 05 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|