“We’ve driven down every year,” one of them said. “It’s a pretty ride, we have a great pancake breakfast, and then we scavenge all over the place!”
In our own build-up to the big sale, Anne and I have had great help with an even broader pattern of thinning down the contents of our house, garage, and barn. Donna Sheffield Greene, who lives up in Pierstown with her husband Doug, quietly advertises her services locally as “The House Whisperer.” The name is really apt. Donna will come to your home, survey the contents with you, and then help you plan a careful culling of the contents. But she is not a bustling taskmaster. As “whisperer” suggests, hers is a very gentle approach, one aimed at opening her clients’ eyes to an objective view of what surrounds them and what they really want to retain of it.
Her very best advice (especially to me) was this: As you survey your possessions with an eye to reducing them, don’t start at the top. That is, don’t snatch up this memento or clap your hand on the back of a chair as say, “I can’t do without this!”
No, says Donna quietly. Start at the bottom end of the accumulation, since probably fifty percent of it surrounds you because of inertia. You just haven’t faced up to removing it. Well, she’s right! In weeks before the yard sale, Anne and I worked at our own offices and files. And, without exaggeration, I’ve driven a literal quarter-ton of duplicate files, outdated manuals, and yellowed correspondence to MOSA. It got to the point that Dumpmeister Lee Winnie, never one to waste words, would simply smile and say,
“Yep,” I’d say. “And more to come!”