Need Gone

The age of innocence ended for me when we sold our first house, a modest little place that we owned for 12 years. The prospect of  losing a potential sale because of a dirty countertop had the effect of awakening my dormant cleaning genie, the very one who bedevils most females and turns them into Fem-bots condemned to see the dirt and disorder that is invisible to others.

The nettlesome genie directed me to the kitchen sink and I saw that it was murky. For the first time, I noticed that the door of our fridge, in its 80s almond splendor, was pocked with zits. Stone cold sober, I assumed the position in front of the toilet for the purpose of cleaning around the outside of it and finally put two and two together: The mystery of why baseboard radiators situated near toilets always rust could be laid to rest. Noticing the wretched spore of our humanity for the first time changed me into a neat freak.

It wasn’t as though we were beyond-the-pale disgusting or cluttered in those halcyon, pre-genie days–let’s just say that we were on the spectrum.

We are in the process of selling our home once again, but this time around, we have a bigger house and we have lived in it longer. We have a horse, a cat and a dog, canoes, kayaks and two juicers; a horse clipper, building supplies and an antique gas stove. Some of the stuff will go to Tucson, some will go to our smaller house in Wakefield, and some stuff won’t make the cut. Before we even started showing the house, I hid a third of our belongings and performed a deep cleaning worthy of an operating theatre.

I was particularly anxious about the photographer and any potential buyers encountering the excellent but somewhat down-home chicken coop that My Royal Consort had created for his egglayers several years ago. Getting rid of a chicken coop made from a pop up trailer and two banks of single pane windows that is grounded in place by flat tires is not easy if you don’t have any explosives.
Facebook seemed like the place to find a person who would haul the chicken coop away so I posted a very straight forward query. Can anybody recommend a local person to haul away a chicken coop?

I needed answers.

Feeling stressed out over the enormity of our mission this summer, I had zero patience with the well intentioned, yet unhelpful suggestions and jokes that I got in response to my question, and promptly penned a snarky response about reading comprehension directed at tout le monde, which made me feel trollish and required immediate editing.

In the end, I was able to get rid of the chicken coop using the one solid recommendation I got on Facebook, so I let a few days go by and dipped my toe back in again, vowing to not be a bitch this time. I started peddling my wares and successfully dispatched with the juicer in five minutes. Fearful that I would wear out my welcome on Facebook with my deluge of items, I took a friend’s suggestion and joined an online community yard sale.

I was so excited about the prospect of an online yard sale, that I jumped right in without checking out the competition. It wasn’t only excitement that propelled me, it was panic, because at that moment, it appeared that our house was going to sell very quickly and that we wouldn’t have enough time to sort ourselves out before the closing.

My opening salvo to the Facebook yard sale community consisted of the Unrestored Antique Gas Stove Circa 1930 that weighs hundreds of pounds. Because I thought I might efficiently sell some items, I downloaded the Facebook app, which I had deleted off all my devices the day Trump got elected and had vowed never to use again. I even went so far as to allow push notifications, but I soon realized that I was dropping everything to read a friendly and encouraging comment that was not germane to my goal of simply selling the item, and was feeling that familiar desire to deliver an uppercut to the crotch of the non-germane commenter. Whereas once I had enjoyed Facebook, the year leading up to the End Times has turned me into a hater. Despite that, I am not so principled that I won’t use Facebook to achieve a specific goal that is beneficial to me.

Within a day, my stove and my animal clippers had been buried like early spring flowers beneath a blanket of snow. There were many worthy items in the yard sale, and had I not been more interested on deaccessioning, I might have given them a second look. There were also many items that were suffering from bad presentation and were ripe for ridicule.

I’m thinking of the chef jacket. For cooks, chef jackets function like armor. They protect you from fluids, keep you cool, and imbue you with a certain gravitas that allows you to face the most demanding gluten/soy intolerant vegan with style and grace. Most importantly, they provide a hygienic barrier between the cook and the food, and like most uniforms, they work best when they are not covered in animal hair. I don’t know why the seller thought that a furry chef’s jacket was something that would mix well with food intended for other people. I was tempted to pile on with the guy who commented “you might want to wash the jacket before posting it, just sayin’” until I remembered to be nice.

Speaking of scrubs, I couldn’t help but wonder why someone would pay the $12,345 that one seller was seeking for her used scrubs. Although the scrubs are purported to be in not just good condition but in “awesome condition”, the seller acknowledged that they did have a “few small and easy stains as shown”, which begs the question—-if the stains are small and easy, why not clean them? And why show them?

The Facebook yard sale was too good to keep to myself, so I shared it with My Royal Consort. Snuggled up in bed, we passed a companionable hour looking at the items for sale. Just like a real yard sale, there was buried treasure waiting to be found, but because it was online, we found an unexpected bounty in the presentation of some of the tendered items and the ability to view the sellers’ profile pages.

My Royal Consort was intrigued by the Like New Victoria Secret Bra Size 34C/$10, and expressed surprise that someone would sell her used bra. My bra collection consists of two expensive bras that I reluctantly wear when I need that extra lift and can make do with limited oxygen. The rest of the time, I let the girls rest easy in a motley assortment of sports bras that I wear until they evaporate. My Royal Consort had no idea that a new Victoria’s Secret bra could cost anywhere from $35 to $100, and that $10 for a Like New Victoria Secret Bra was a steal.

My Royal Consort, a fan of Orange Is The New Black, suspected the bra seller was a trafficker of used women’s undergarments, whereas I was inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. To demonstrate her innocence, I clicked on her profile and was validated when we saw that she was a body builder. There would be no further need of that 34C cup because where there had once been breasts, there were now pecs. Where shoulders had once been, there was now neck.

I thought I had hit the jackpot with the furry chef jacket and said as much to my brother-in-law, but he had me beat when he told me that he had stumbled upon a woman selling her breast milk on Facebook because her baby was allergic to it. This raised all kinds of red flags for me.

It’s been 2 decades since I’ve nursed a baby and much has changed in the world, but as far as I know, breast milk is still the gold standard when it comes to allergy prevention. Having a baby for the purpose of selling ones own breast milk on Facebook seems unnecessarily complicated when you can easily sell your used underwear to men. What will she sell off next? Umbilical cords?

After spending some time on the yard sale, I noticed a funny linguistic tic that puzzled me. The phrase “Need Gone” kept popping up and at first I thought that the seller was trying to convey the idea that his or her existential need for some intangible something was gone. Or that he or she was soliciting a hit man. When I finally found the idea expressed as “Need It Gone” and “Need It Gone ASAP” I understood completely because there is a lot of stuff that I need gone ASAP, too.

I’ve abandoned the idea of monetizing my unnecessary belongings and will return to the Holy Trinity of Donation, Fire and Dumpster. If I have something really choice to sell like a gently used toilet plunger, or a comb with only a few teeth missing, I’ll post it on my own Facebook page so that strangers can’t judge me.

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  1. Ken Orabone says:

    We gave up on yard sales and other methods of monetizing our excess belongings a few years ago. Prior to moving back to RI from Tucson, AZ, we had four weekends of yard sales to shed possessions before we moved. After a few years in RI, we had more things we didn’t truly need. So, we had a yard sale. And spent all weekend in the hot sun haggling with people for a few dollars.

    Now, every time we want to ensure there are even fewer things cluttering up our lives, we just put everything at the end of our driveway. A large fluorescent posterboard tacked to a tree with the word “FREE” takes care of the rest. There is usually very little left at the end of the day. Other people get some wonderful treasures and we regain some space in our lives – everyone wins.

    1. admin says:

      Yes! If only we weren’t tucked away in the woods, we would do the same

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