02 September 2010

Why Having a Garage Sale is a Green Thing To Do

Whew, it took me days to finish that last post! And at the rate I'm going, it's going to take me weeks more just to finish writing about our last couple of trips to Boracay and Bali! I've been wanting to write more (I swear!) but for the past few days, we've just been so busy hauling boxes of junk, going through bins and bins of all sorts of toys, clothes, books, appliances, knick-knacks and whathaveyous and now selling them to neighbours, family & friends at a week-long garage sale.

Living in a compound with 6 other adults (including now grown-up girls) plus a preschooler can result in a LOT of junk! The last time we went up to our attic, the floor wasn't even visible anymore with all the clutter we've managed to collect over the years. And I guess that was the time when my dad finally put his foot down and decided it was time to get rid of everything.

(Perfect timing, too. We had soooo much stuff we wanted to get rid of and we were trying to raise some funds for our mom's 50th birthday gift, so it was the perfect time to have the garage sale really!)

You see, we're all big packrats plus we're such a sentimental bunch, too! And that made the sorting such a difficult task. My sisters and I were all holding on to cute little dresses, tutus and flower fairy costumes that we wore when we were tiny little girls just because it brought back so many childhood memories. I couldn't let myself part with my old pair of super worn out leather cowboy boots just because it was a Christmas present from my sister, even if I knew I was never going to wear it anymore. Up in the attic, it looked like a mini toy store with dolls, board games, toys galore! My sisters and I even had our very own fully furnished Barbie doll house with matching pink convertible! And even a mini pretend supermarket counter! And as much as it pained us to go through everything, trying to decide which ones to keep and which ones to dispose of, it was just something we finally had to do. All the sorting through all our old stuff actually made for a very fun (but looooong day) of reminiscing, too! :p

When our house was up, just one look at the Little Boy's room was enough to tell us that he had way more toys than he knows what to do with. And as a mommy, I was even worse than he was in trying to keep toys he no longer played with or needed. I would reason out that this toy was one of his first toys or that this toy was his favorite for a few months when he was 2... I lost the debates to the Mister, of course, but he still let me keep a few of the Little Boy's first and most treasured toys. Fair enough.

And when it came to our own closets... man, I'm even embrassed to say just how long it took me to go through mine. In the end, I ended up with 2 bins full of clothes and accessories and even a few pairs of shoes! And I can't tell you how great it feels to know that now, choosing what to wear won't be such a difficult task anymore.

So now, we're out in the garage, taking turns in attending to the garage sale. We've been doing this since Monday and while we've sold sooooo much stuff already, we're still left with more than half of the junk and the old stuff we've brought out.

We have all sorts of knick-knacks from lamps to fairy lights; from old china sets to pans & pots for the kitchen; from facial steamers to curling irons; from tennis rackets to golf clubs; from toolboxes to stereos; from intercoms to old cellphones... things we've forgotten we had! These were all stuff we had too much of that we probably knew we were never going to use but kept anyway with the usual "I'll open/wear/use it someday..." until of course, it gets buried among all the other junk until it's all but forgotten.

Having this garage sale is easily one of the most exhausting, most stressful things our family has ever done. But it also became one of the most meaningful (and greenest) things we've ever done as a family.

Green Benefit #1: Now, we get our attic back! We can finally go up there without going on a coughing / sneezing spree from all the dust. And for a family of asthmatics, that's a BIG thing!

Green Benefit #2: By opening the garage sale to our friends, family and neighbours (especially our good ol' neighbourhood tricycle drivers who are the most thrilled with all the clothes, shoes, appliances they can buy for just a day's work), we give other people a chance to buy secondhand which means a few less people buying more things at the malls/supermarkets. Remember, even the smallest things we purchase "brand new" contribute to the large-scale cycle of consumption & waste. So be a wise consumer. ;)

Green Benefit #3: Just seeing how much stuff and junk we've collected through the years and seeing all these things that we are now trying to get rid off, it made us all realize just how much of the things we buy are simply things we don't really need.

Interestingly, yesterday, I came across this article online:
And I think it presents some good guidelines to follow from now on when buying stuff.

The last thing isn't really green or anything that concerns the environment... But having this garage sale taught us a lot about the value of some things we took forgranted before.

It's a good happy feeling! Seeing someone excited over a hardly-ever-worn pair of Nike Prestos for just P200; or a dress from Mango (that I've only worn twice) that I only sold for P50; Levi's jeans being sold at 3 for P100; unopened sets of Victoria's Secret perfumes & toiletries at only P300! Things that we never really thought had much value anymore (since we never use them) and when you see a little girl's face light up when she finds that she can buy a Barbie doll for just P10, it certainly is a reality check.

Yesterday, we had a tricycle driver come in to ask about the 2 laptops we were selling. The Mister and I decided to get rid of his laptop (an old Asus model) and my old one (a small white Twinhead). We weren't really using either laptop anymore and the Mister has been planning to get a new one, too, so we decided to let both laptops go for P10,000. When the driver came in to ask how much it was, he was surprised when we said P10k and that's for both already. He walked away though so we didn't think he'd come back for it. After a few hours, he came back with a plastic bag of coins. He said it was P10,000 worth of P10 coins that he took out from his alkansya (coin/piggy bank). It was such a special moment because he looked so happy and so proud that he would be able to buy his daughter who was on her 4th year in college a laptop that she needed for school with just his piggy bank savings! He kept saying how happy he was to be able to find laptops he could afford for his children and that his kids will be so happy! Made us feel all warm & fuzzy, too! :)

More shoppers to attend to now! See you later!


  1. I completely agree that garage sales are a green thing to do! Last year, my family and I moved from a big house to a condo. We spent weeks going through all of our stuff, deciding what to keep and what to trash. My mom finally decided that we would have a garage sale before we would just throw away all of our old "junk." We ended up selling/ giving away most of our stuff to neighbors and friends. They were able to buy our stuff second-hand stuff at a cheap price, while saving the environment. I think we all could assess the "stuff" we truly need in our lives, and cut back on the things we do not.

  2. Hi Jen! Thanks for stopping by! :)

    Yup, it helps to pause and take a look at all the junk you've managed to collect every once in a while. Now, whenever we're out and I see something I want to buy, I always ask myself first if it's something that might just end up in next year's garage sale.. Helps me make smart shopping decisions! ;p