Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

A moving sale or “My house is full of garbage”

We are preparing to make the biggest move of our lives.  We are moving from the jerkwater of Mississippi to a storybook town in Germany.  Much of what we own will be useless there, as the German standard method of selling electricity is 220V and 50 Hertz, versus the 120V/60Hz of the US of A.  Needing to sell quite a few things anyway, we made a hard decision.

We decided to sell it all.

Other than some clothes to wear, some treasured photographs, few of my daughters favorite toys, and some necessary odds and ends, every…single…thing…must…go.

High dollar items were Craiglisted.  All remaining items were left in their place in the house, changed for the sale only by the addition of a small, masking-tape sticker proclaiming the price.  A moving sale was announced, and we waited for customers.

The picture frames hung empty on their nails, the pictures packed away.  My books sat on their cherry shelves. The books for sale along with shelves they sat on, and even the Pledge that had polished them.

My apartment looked almost as it always does, there was very little visual change, but there was an enormous change in my heart: None of it was truly mine anymore. Anything and everything in my apartment was merely merchandise and used at that.

People came and passed through the apartment. Wandering through the halls and spaces, reading over the titles on the bookshelf, and running there fingers over the price tags as they went. And buying… almost nothing.

We made $300 dollars over 2 days.  Please, refrain from telling me that that is very good money to make from a garage sale, I am aware.  Regardless, it broke my heart. This was literally everything I own.  This is every enduring purchase I have made sense I was 14 years old. My tools, my clothes, my books.  Things that were worried about, saved, packed up carefully, moved from home to dorm room, from dorm room to apartment, to apartment with wife, to bigger apartment with wife and daughter, and across the nation twice.

The sum of all my worries and worldly concerns was, by and large, so totally valueless that people wandering through did not even pick it up, let alone pay the quarters and dollars we were asking.  Many of things that we had stacked up to be sold were not even looked at.  Prized possessions were walked buy indifferently.

I believed that I had really accomplished something by trying to live the way I did. I had no shiny baubles, no possessions that owned me, and maybe I did accomplish something.  However, I found my spirits sinking lower and lower as more people did not even find my things worth looking at, let alone buying.  I don’t believe I failed because others thought my things had no value, mind you.  I believe I failed myself because they were right.  It had no value.

Other than the few things packed up already, there is not a thing in this apartment that means a damn to me. I spent my life inspecting, collecting, and protecting… shit.

I’m not sure how this very painful epiphany will change my life, I am not even yet sure what lesson I am learning is, but I am sure that it hurts too much to not get it the first time.


September 15, 2008 - Posted by | Self discovery, Uncategorized | , , ,


  1. you should see the crap in my house. I quit going to garage sales all the time because I have way to much crap. the sad part is I would probably have to curb most of my stuff if I was doing what you are doing.

    Comment by Anna | September 15, 2008 | Reply

  2. Poor Israel. I understand how you feel. Having my things mixed in with your things and having others regard it as valueless is awkward and depressing. *le sigh*

    Comment by amarisgrey | September 15, 2008 | Reply

  3. Same thing happened to me when I sold all my shit to move to England. I think I got like $400 for everything.

    I thought, “Damn…” 😦

    But you know what? It just shows that our priorities are different.

    Comment by Lottie | September 15, 2008 | Reply

  4. The thing I remember most about you is that you always had a unique perspective. I find it hard to believe that the things you put that much care into were valueless; especially when those values are bred from a rare perspective. It doesn’t surprise me that others would be blind to the value that you saw. I am a little surprised, though, that they got you to stop seeing it yourself. Please forgive the bluntness from a long-absent friend. I care too much to be less than honest, though.

    Comment by Dave Smith | September 16, 2008 | Reply

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