The Junk in the Garage

Ian - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on May 12, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in garage sales, the great exchange. My mother is really the queen of garage sales, and the person who I dedicate teaching me about what they have to offer. Anyone who knows me or my mother will know about our garage, and the one monstrous pile of items that will eat any of the floor space.

My initial reaction to garage sales: a waste of time, a waste of money, a waste of space (that my bicycle could really use), and who would ever want to buy something that another person would otherwise throw out? Every Saturday my mom dragging me out of bed at 5:30 am to beat everyone to “get the good stuff” certainly did not help my perception. If my mom and I were not going to a garage sale, we would be having our own. I hated the hobby, any energy I put into breaking my mom’s habit just made the pile a little bigger.

It took a while to come to the conclusion, why resist? Maybe the junk does have something to offer, my mother certainly loves it. Strolling through one day, walking amongst fresh a fresh purchasing of goods, I decided to actually look what was in the box. A magnifying glass with a jade green handle from China peered back at me. “This is really cool” I thought and continued to browse through other piles. In between the china sets, or the meaningless holiday decoration where some of the most unique things I had ever seen.

I decided to take the magnifying glass, only under the condition of replacing something of mine in its place. That magnifying glass showed me how important that pile of junk in the garage was going to be, and how unique it would make my life. Throughout the years, many more transactions like this took place. Things would appear, and by taking them into my life I was able to learn about myself.

A rat was the most bizarre garage sale item that dropped into my life. For a purchase of 5 dollars I obtained the cage, and the rat came free. For the first time in my life I had a responsibility. I was cleaning the cage more than my mom was going to garage sales! If I wanted something in life, or just a nice smelling room, I had to work for it. After the responsibility of getting 4 stitches from being bit, the rat was successfully sold at the next garage sale for 3 dollars.

A box of text books was my favorite. The comprehensive set on genital skin disorders and STDs, including pictures, was my immediate abstinence program. In an old calculus text book between the pages, I found the notes of a previous owner. That really hit me. Some one had once used this book, and left a piece of them with it. In a way I was peering into their life. Their hard work let them understand calculus, and they were willing to have others experience that joy by giving them this book.

That’s what garage sales really do. They find a way of giving you something you need, a lesson, an outlook, or a laugh. That way when you learn your lesson, you can teach someone something you know, through passing on something you can give. It enables the great exchange that no store can provide. I guess the old saying is true, “one man’s trash truly is another man’s treasure.”