Posts Tagged ‘garage sale’

The Joy of Stuff

June 9, 2016

My parent’s just sold their house so we are helping them pack. “We” meaning me and three teenagers. It reminded me of packing when my kids were one and four-years-old. I would put stuff in the box and they would take it out. I would get the whole box packed and then couldn’t locate the tape because someone was “helping” and packed it.

Yesterday we were boxing up the kitchen, Christmas pillows, vases and DVDs. My niece packed a bunch of glasses and scribbled out the old moving words from the second-time-around boxes and wrote on the box “Kitchen” and “Glasses.” Then Grandma asked my daughter to write “Fragile” on all the kitchen boxes. So she went around and scribbled out “Kitchen” and “Glasses” and wrote “Fragile.”

moving boxes

My daughter packed a bunch of Christmas pillows from a spare room closet and wrote “Christmas Pillows” on the top. Then my son came and scribbled out “Christmas” because he thought they were just regular pillows and his sister was confused.

I was ready to take away the Sharpies from everyone. I will be amazed if the boxes end up in the right places in the new house.

But everyone was HELPING!

On a more thoughtful note, moving and seeing other people’s stuff makes me ponder “stuff.” Why do we think we need it? Why do we think we can’t get rid of it? If we don’t get rid of it, who will? Why do old things seem valuable when they are simply old things? Is it sentiment? Is it fond memories? Why would anyone need to save a collection of obsolete music recordings that you can’t even listen to anymore? How many table cloths does one woman need?

There are two pack rats in our home… my husband and our littlest girl. They collect stuff and would undoubtedly be on the T.V. show Hoarders if I did not live with them.

Our daughter has a mini coat rack in her room for her bath towel and her backpack. I entered her cluttered oasis last week and spied the big round blob where the coat rack used to be. I asked what was on there. Three towels, (Why?) three backpacks, (When did that happen?) five other bags, (What the heck for?) and six purses. (Has she even used some of those… they have sequins… I doubt it.)

Throwing out my husband’s quality paraphernalia has gotten me in trouble more than once. He is out of the country right now and actually texted me to ask me not to throw anything of his away. Sheesh…. like I hadn’t thought of that already.

We are almost done with the massive-master-closet-clean-out project. It hadn’t been emptied in 12 years. Don’t judge me. (I homeschool my kids, and write, and cook, and create… I am a busy woman.) Now the closet is beautiful… you can see the carpet. There are pretty boxes on shelves, the clothes have room to breathe and are in the color order of the rainbow, but I did a lot of getting rid of in the process.

How in the blazes did all this come out of my closet?

messy room

My fabric supply left my house. It went to a home with two little budding seamstresses. I had not looked at those scraps for over two years. My scrapbooking stickers and supplies are leaving my home too. There are two little crafty princesses waiting for their new stashes.

Someone else can love the stuff that is simply taking up space in your house! Share the wealth! (Not the Bernie way. Don’t even get me started.)

May 21st! The END…. sort of…

May 21, 2016

School is kind of “out for the summer” but in a different way than with my usual end-of-May homeschool mama joy and celebration. There was no counting down the days this year.

We have learned that some of the Colombian Princess’s challenges with memory are due to vast breaks in education… you know, like summer. So in a much diminished fashion, we are schooling a few days a week while home this summer, just to keep the pump primed. She was not real thrilled about this news, and I couldn’t let her know that I was not real thrilled about it either. Someone has to be excited about education… and it SHOULD be the teacher in most cases.

So now the home front needs some love and attention. In case anyone wonders what the Crosbys are doing for the next three months, get out your notepads and pencils… here you go:

  1. We bought a stand up deep freeze to put in the garage.
  2. Cleaning out the garage so we can fit in the stand up deep freeze.
  3. Buying a shed to put the stuff that doesn’t need to be in the garage somewhere else. (Does the cost of the shed and deep freeze justify the savings on large quantities of meat? I’m not sure.)
  4. Hauling junk from the side yard to the dump so we can put a shed in the side yard. (Is anyone besides me thinking of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?”)
  5. Switching Austin’s and Nora’s bedrooms. (Austin gets the yellow room with the flowers and butterflies around the top of the walls! Oh goody!) This is happening because my niece from Maui is coming to live with us on the mainland for a bit… sharing the BIG room with Nora.
  6. Picking up a room divider from a generous friend for the BIG room.
  7. Gathering and selling an enormous amount of American Girl doll paraphernalia that is no longer played with. (She will be 13 years old in two months…. I feel there are a few more years to play with dolls…. because she is my baby girl after all.)
  8. Selling the cute white dresser from the yellow room. (Wide is no longer cool when you share a room. Tall is where it’s at.)
  9. Selling all the cutesy little girl purple and lime green room decor. (Awwwww.)
  10. Borrowing a single bed from my brother’s house. The BIG room is only so BIG.
  11. Cleaning out the master closet. (I am going to start this today as soon as this blog is finished.  Blogcrastination is what that is called.) I mean TOTALLY cleaning it out. It’s been 12 years since we’ve seen the walls and back carpet in there. Don’t judge. If there is dust lining the shoulders on top of the hanger marks, Rickey, it’s leaving.
  12. Buying #2 new door handle and bolt lock for the front door. My first attempt was feeble even though the lame wrong size handle is on the door right now. It looks like Billy-Bob came by and changed it for us. Wrong size… with a screw hole two inches below the handle. Dumb.

I’m hoping to have this all done by next week. I know that will not happen, but I am a positive thinker! Where are my minions?

Enjoy your summer, peeps!  Let me know what projects you have going on! I need some company.

Black Friday 2012

November 23, 2012

Slept til 8:48 a.m.  Read in bed for 45 minutes.  Got up.  Got dressed.  Ate breakfast.  Cleaned my toilet and washed the bathroom floor. Washed all the bathmats.  Helped Nora try on ALL of her clothes to see what is too small and if we need warm clothes for Canada next month.  We don’t,YAY!

That is all.  So far.

Truly I don’t understand the desire to push through crowds at the wee hours of the day to save a couple bucks.  Yes, I do understand that there are some good deals to be had, but truly, do we NEED all this stuff we already have?  I have come to the conclusion …. in my house we don’t. Not everybody in my house agrees, but he is gone at work most days…… heh heh heh.

Recently I was lead blindfolded with hands tied behind my back to a facebook group with 2400 local members where you can buy and sell the junk in your house.  It’s earth friendly.  It’s convenient.  In one hour online and one trip to the Walmart parking lot, I collected $45 and got rid of four items in the garage sale pile.  Another lady came to my house and purchased a boxed set of books for $12… that we had TWO of.  Selling on this site rakes in far more cashola than a garage sale would bring for these same items.  It’s better than eBay because there are no fees and I don’t have to ship the junk.  I love it.  I am addicted… well, when I have a pile of unwanted treasures to sell.

The remainder of Black Friday 2012 will be consumed with having dinner with college friends that we haven’t seen in 25 years, and a homeschool board meeting.  Then I get to sleep in again tomorrow!  I realize those of you who know me well, think I sleep in every day, but that is not true…. very much.  I have even been arising when the number 7 is on the clock!  Astonishing, I know.  And I’m showering before leaving my room….. AND I’m making my bed every morning.  It only took 45 years to get into these amazing habits.  Just goes to show you that the old dog, new trick idea isn’t true.

Enjoy your weekend!

Maui Mama, Country Road…. Take Me Home!

August 24, 2012

First let me begin with professions of blog guilt….. AUGUST 12!!!  The last blog.  Wow!  No wonder I feel like I was hit by a truck.  I just blew by 12 days without blinking. I have excellent excuses reasons for my absence, which I shall name for personal vindication: nine-day work detail at my sister’s house (more on that later), one missed flight, almost-time-for-homeschool-to-start jitters, my brain in a fog… OK, that is all.

Yes, my baby sister, (who is 41) has had a disturbance in the force.  Her happy, carefree life in the suburbs of Vancouver, Washington is coming to a close on Tuesday, August 28th when she embarks on the journey of a lifetime.  The journey many of us only dream of…. moving to Maui.  Yes, the Hawaiian island known for its beauty and luscious beaches.  The surroundings sound all wonderful and glorious, but this is a lifestyle change taken on only by the brave of heart.

Selling out.  Yes, to God’s call on your life.  Yes, to the stuff in the house.  Moving from 2200 square feet to probably half that, leaves room for many trips to Goodwill.  Baby Sister is the least hoarder in our family, but still, she’s married with three kids and a dog and life in suburbia lends itself to excess.  My arrival in WA (leaving the hottest week of the year in Phoenix, THANK GOD!!!) corresponded with the setting up of the massive garage sale that went down in two days as the most successful garage sale of all time.  The amount of STUFF that sold was remarkable.  The Lord sent people to the sale who loved the color red, were sucked in by half-filled cans of spray paint and needed more Christmas decor.  Seriously.  Even the yard swing that is covered in moss was dismantled and removed for $25.  Really???  Yes.

Once again, I quote my mantra, “What God favors, He funds.”

After the sale packing commenced.  In one day, we packed 63 boxes.  Then we sat on the couch and stared at Craft Wars for two days…. which was only supposed to be one day, but I was pretty darn sure my flight home was on Wednesday.  Turns out it was Tuesday.  Oops.  My nine-year-old nephew labeled me a “hard worker” and that was all the praise and adoration I needed.  My job was done. I am home.

And what does this all boil down to for ME?  A dazzling vacation opportunity.  YES!

Treasure Junking

October 2, 2011

In Phoenix, the trash collection authorities are quite gracious by granting us permission FOUR TIMES A YEAR to leave large lumps of litter on the curb in front of our homes.  They come around with a huge truck and take it all away for us.  When we lived in our previous house with 32 full-grown trees, this plan was a godsend.  We would have had to make a trip to the dump four times a year without this blessed service.  Large Garbage Pickup even has a map with zones and dates so you never miss your turn to display your trash.

My kids figured out when this would all occur as interesting items started showing up along our street.  They asked if I would drive them around the neighborhood to see if there was other people’s junk that could be their treasure.  I’m not sure why I fell for this…. but I did, and hard.  We found a fish tank, a garden cart, a sand box, a Little Tikes Doll House, an ice cream freezer like in 7-11 (which we gave to the youth group), shutters and a bird-cage, etc. etc. etc..  I’m sure there are other quality items I’m forgetting too.  This practice got named “Treasure Junking“.  It’s sort of down-scaled garage sale-ing with no money needed.  Fit right into our budget.

Well, it is still alive and well in the Crosby house.  Last weekend my bug-spraying husband was spraying bugs over in the next city, and lo and behold, it was Large Garbage Pickup in that same neighborhood.  Destiny.  Rick watched as the man who lived across the street from the fully sprayed house went in and out of the garage three times and placed three bicycles on the curb.  This fascinated my husband, Mr. Wallet.  He strode over, as he’s been known to do in all parts of the world, and asked about the bikes.  Sure enough, the guy was DONE with bikes in his garage that no one used.  Rick asked if he could take them for our kids.  And now I have ELEVEN bikes parked in the garage where my van should be.  (It’s hopeless.)  Anyway, the bikes Rick brought home are OLD… old like dirt.  Two are black Huffy cruisers with white walls and springs under the seats… and the dream of my 17-year-old daughter’s heart.  Truly.  She is outside washing it right now.  She’s never washed a bike in her life, I’m pretty sure.  She went to Walmart and found large wicker baskets that you can put on the handlebars…. and foamy grips that look like wood.  She’s really into this.

The third bike, as far as we can determine, is a 1970 Schwinn with a small wheel in the front, large one in the back, a banana seat and long handle bars.  Something Beaver Cleaver rode.  To my astonishment again, our youngest son claimed it.  Yes, it shocked me.

Needless to say, our youngest daughter, who is eight, is thrilled because now there are all sorts of people wanting to go on bike rides with her.  And now, for the first time in about 10 years, I have a bike to ride.  These bikes even promote good posture!  Win win.

Adoption FUNds….

May 17, 2011

Many people have asked us how we raised our adoption funds.  We smile a knowing smile… because WE didn’t raise the money, God did.  He funds what He favors!  Adoption is expensive… domestic AND international.  Personally, I don’t think it should be expensive, but that’s another story for another day.  We didn’t have nearly enough cash to adopt from Colombia, but we had some “seed money” that we planted and waited for God to harvest. Our dream of adoption came from the Lord so we relied on Him to show us where the adoption money was hiding.  It was a huge step of faith! Huger than any we’d taken previously!

When our adoption process began, we had faith that we would be one of the QUICK families…. not so.  It took us 10 months to get our dossier together (we had to work with two Canadian provinces and five American states!) and then we waited three months until we were approved.  THEN a 34 month wait for our referral. From the referral to us kissing our girl’s soft cheeks was eight days.  Eight days of FLURRY, scurry and hurry!

The 34 month wait was when we put our noses to the grindstone and searched hard for adoption funds.  I applied for 10-12 grants, and we received only one from Show Hope (MaryBeth and Steven Curtis Chapman) right at the beginning of the journey.  It was the sweet priming for the fundraising pump that we needed!  Thank you, MBC and SCC!

We also sent a letter to friends and family far and near telling them of our expanding family and asking if they felt the Lord nudging them to help bring a child home.  The monies from that one pink letter came in over four years.  It brought me to tears time and time again. Faithful friends, doing their part!  Thank you, if you were one of those loving people.

My sister-in-law, Jennie, came up with this fabulous idea to sew purses and carrier bags from recycled and donated fabric.  She nick-named our daughter Zaza, and Bags for Zaza was birthed!  The sewing escapades went on for over a year with six or seven contributing seamstresses (with three solid contenders).  She auctioned them online and it went over brilliantly…. 10 times more brilliantly than Jennie originally hoped for!  Thank you, Jennie!

While searching other adoption blogs and fundraising sites, I learned about having a Media Drive.  Great idea!  Ask all your family, friends and enemies to donate unused, dust-collecting media….. I gathered books, CDs, DVDs, videos, games, collector cards, plus more.  The valuable ones I was able to sell on eBay and the less valuable ones I sold at a local used book store.  This really encouraged me as friends far and wide donated boxes and boxes of stuff!  It made me feel great that there was a way everyone could contribute to helping an orphan…. it wasn’t just people with extra cash.  Everyone.

I also looked around our house and decided we didn’t need all this stuff that had accumulated over the last 20-something years.  I started selling everything: furniture, clothing, sports equipment, household trinkets, silk trees, books, lamps, you name it.  I sold most of these items on  There is one in your area!

Our neighborhood group decided to have a “Large Item” garage sale for us…. held at our house.  More than 20 families donated large items for this day and it was a great success. Thank you, neighborhood groupies!

Right when I needed another idea, a flyer was squeezed into our front door crack telling about a children’s clothing consignment sale.  I sent the word out for friends to donate kid’s clothing.  I gathered, ironed, tagged, hung and delivered over 200 items!

Most unique of all: Matt’s Meals with a Mission.  A high school grad in chef training (friend of daughter’s) set up MMM to raise money for different causes.  So, our adoption was one of the causes he supported by cooking meals for different families for special occassions.  We were so amazed by his giving heart, generosity and cooking! Thank you, Matthew!

The day before we flew to Colombia we received a phone call from a businessman we are acquainted with.  He asked how much we still needed and transfered the funds into our account that day.  It still brings me to tears, knowing that God had people lined up to take care of the needed funds.  We did our part and others did their part, as a body of believers and unbelievers alike, God used MANY people to bring our girl home. The blessing is spread far and wide.  Be encouraged if you are fundraising!  Be creative!  God funds what He favors!  Here’s our breakdown for you:

  • Our Savings – 19%
  • Show Hope – 7%
  • Letter to Family & Friends – 23%
  • Bags for Zaza – 16%
  • Media Drive, Garage Sale, Craigslist, Consignment, MMM – 8%
  • Last minute Donation – 27%

Weekend Report

September 13, 2010

Whilst I was away scrapbooking amidst the pine trees, my family and our home-group from CCV had a garage sale to help raise funds for our adoption.  They are SOOOO awesome!  I did sell some of the bigger items on Craigslist too… and there are four or five more things to sell, but we made over $1,200 so far!  My teenage daughter and I pulled out all the like-new designer kids clothing from the piles and piles that were donated and plan to consign them next week.  That should be another couple hundred dollars.  Whoooo HOooooo!

The best story from the entire weekend was from Saturday morning at the garage sale.  For those who don’t know, we live in Phoenix, AZ…. home to MANY illegal aliens…. who ALL shop at garage sales.  AZ is also the home to the infamous SB1070 bill that enables officers of the law to ask for identification from anyone they pull over, who happens to look like they could be an illegal alien.  (I would love it if Obama came to AZ and got pulled over and asked for proof of citizenship…. but I digress.)

Anyway, there is a man in our home-group who is a policeman who works nights.  He arrived home from his beat and dropped by the garage sale to see his wife and offer his support to our family.  Well, his presence in his uniform didn’t go over so well with the shoppers.  In fact, many dropped piles of chosen articles where they stood, slouched to their vehicles in the cul-de-sac and escaped without showing proof of citizenship.  When everyone figured out what was going on, Mr. Policeman’s wife sent him home to change his clothes… and to stop hampering business.  As soon as he left the cul-de-sac, six cars came right in and the shoppers resumed shopping.  It was hilarious!

Three Way Tie

August 5, 2010

I don’t know if I’ve ever been this tired before.  Even when I had babies waking up at all hours, I don’t recall being this exhausted.  Yes, I overdid it a bit with the whole redecorate the house thing.  OK, I’ll admit “a bit” is an understatement.  The schedule in my mind for this week consisted of:  Monday – Zaza’s room. Tuesday – Boys room.  Wednesday – Kitchen and Family Room.  Thursday – recover and finish tying up loose ends.  Friday – lay by the pool.  I’m right on schedule too.  What surprised me was my aching body on Wednesday night.  I thought I would hit the pillow and be out cold.  Well, I did hit the pillow… even early, at 9:45.. and I slept like a baby.  The baby that wakes up and cries every 20 minutes.  My body was hurting.  Too much up and down the ladder.  Too much painting next to the ceiling.  Too much of too hot outside.  Too much moving furniture.

By 3:45 a.m. I had had enough.  I decided I needed a soak in a hot bath tub with epsom salt.  It did wonders for me… and in a mere 30 minutes.  I climbed back into bed and was relaxed enough to sleep until 7:45.  YES!  My husband woke up and asked how I slept… TOTALLY unaware of my tossing and turning and moaning… and even the bath tub water running 12 feet from the bed where he lay!  “That was quite possibly the worst night’s sleep I’ve ever had.”  But then I remembered camping at Needle Rock Spring Break of 2009…. and “sleeping” in LaMision, Mexico in the summer of 2009.  It’s a three-way tie for worst place.

Tonight, I’m heading straight for the tub before the bed.  BUT Zaza’s room is darling and 98% done. (Just needs curtain tie-backs, and some more painting of butterflies and flowers on the tea table.) 

The boy’s room is situated, but will it ever be clean to my liking?  Who knows?  We piled our 11-year-old’s belongings in the hall before moving him into the room he shares with his 13-year-old brother.  I instructed him to pick up each item in the hall and decide to keep it or get rid of it.  He spent about 10 minutes in the hallway and then came and reported that he didn’t want anything in the hall anymore!  SWEET!  The garage sale pile is growing!  We separated their bunk beds and put a bookshelf in the middle of the room to create two separate spaces.  It’s pretty dorm-ish, but does the job well.  I need to anchor the shelf to the wall before someone dies of falling shelf in there.

The family room and kitchen were painted in one day thanks to a friend and her three sons who helped me and my three children.  Worker bees were we!  I made the valances today, but only got two of three up on the wall.  Tomorrow morning I’ll be done!  And I’ll take photos for you, faithful readers.

Off to the tub.  Good night!

A Windfall of Thoughts

August 2, 2010

The email last week announcing our forthcoming adoption referral has sent me into a tizzy of excitement. It is a rare night when I’m not asleep within nano-seconds of my head resting on the pillow…. but now I lie there in the dark with questions running amuck in my mind. I got out of bed last night at midnight and sent an email full of questions to our case worker. It’s nice, because they are two hours ahead of us, so I awake to answers!

In two weeks, one of my college roommates (and bridesmaid) is coming for a five-day visit with her hubby and three kids all the way from Manitoba. We have not seen them since their wedding day…. it must be about 21 years ago now. We are bosom friends and a fabulous time will be had by all. But I looked around my very lived-in and loved house and thought to myself, “These walls were white just five years ago!” So, with that bit of inspiration, and company coming, decorating and redecorating has commenced.

Our family room is not large and we have had a very large oak computer desk in there for the same five years when my white walls changed colors. A friend came up with the brilliant idea to cut the back off. Duh! Why didn’t we think of that five years ago? So, with skill saw in hand, my husband cut 15 inches off the back of the desk and added over a foot to our living space. YAY! (Really, I know it sounds ghetto, but even Larisa thought it turned out great!)

Then I noticed these dated lamps and too many end tables, and too many chairs…. and a garage sale was born, organized, conducted and finished in two days. $280 raised for paint and valance fabric! Yes! I’ve decided to break out of the white all mode and ….. brace yourself…. pale lime green will go up on these walls on Wednesday. I hope I don’t regret the bold move.  Of course, pictures will follow.

And Keeve, …. Keeve, Keeve, Keeve.  My 11-year-old son has been living in Zaza’s yellow room with a purple bed and lime green accents for over two years.  There are bunk beds in the boy’s room, but he gravitates to solitude.  So, today is the day!  He is moving out for good!  I have little wooden butterflies, dragonflies, flowers, bird houses and the smiling sunshine to hang up around the border of the room.  There are shelves to hang and the hand painted tea-table and chairs to move in there.  The antique gold trim on the dresser needs to be painted purple.  The legos and foam swords need to BE GONE!  I have two weeks until company comes, and then school starts the next week.  Then our referral comes… then we travel to Colombia.  So today is the day!  Wish me luck!

Electronic Garage Sale

April 29, 2010

Yes, the Crosbys are at it again.  Craigslist and eBay, baby! I’m not sure where all the junk comes from that accumulates in our garage, but I had had it “up to here!” and the electronic garage sale commenced last night. 

I told my dear husband (the one who’s been HAD ~ Hockey Attachment Disorder) “SURELY, we should be able to sell some hockey equipment or sticks!”  Seriously, there are four full bags of equipment and at least 15 ice sticks and a bazillion street sticks.  He agreed and sauntered off to his lair.  He returned shortly with two sticks in hand.  They looked new… well, slightly used.. and I inquired (because inquiring minds want to know!) “How much can we sell them for?”  It was a normal conversation right up until that point.  No eyes bulging.  No rapid breathing.  Then he answered… “I think we could get about $150 for this red one…. it’s not available in stores yet…. and $120 for this silver one.”  Now the eye bulging and rapid breathing began.  When I regained conciousness, many questions were running amuck in my mind. “WHAT?!?”  Did he steal them?  Did we PAY that much???? How much stuff does he have in the garage that is worth over $100 a piece? I started envisioning nice, new patio furniture in brown and lime green stripes…. a day at the spa with the heated stones on my spine….

A story came forth….. Austin had been eyeing this silver Bauer Vapor X60 stick with Stick’um-dimple-grip (whatever!) for months and when he broke one of his previously used sticks he had enough money to buy it used.  So, after a practice Rick and Aus went into the suck zone store and were perusing the sticks.  They found these two aforementioned sticks that were practice-used by Phoenix Coyotes players and were engraved for them…. Lepisto and Lombardi.  (Whoever they are!) Then God stepped into the hockey stick store… and shut off the electricity.  Standing in the dark, Austin asked the salesman, “Can we still buy these?”  Come to find out the register was electronic…. and obviously wouldn’t work.  I’m not sure if the guy needed a sale to stay employed or what, but he offered, “If you have cash, you can have both sticks for $40.”  Total…. $20 each!

At that moment I’m shocked that my husband didn’t go into coronary stress for the pure joy of the moment.  The sticks were purchased and stashed in the hockey cave (where my van should be) until such a time as this.  I do hope some other member of the male species who has HAD will come across the ebay auctions and salivate on his keyboard while typing in his bid so the joy keeps being spread around.