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Slices of Life

New life for old stuff

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I recently sold the house I’d lived in for more than 20 years. During that time my family and I had accumulated infinite memories and related “stuff.”

I wanted to keep the memories, but longed to rid myself of much of the stuff. When you plan a move across the country, less is more. Possessions are heavy; they weigh you down. I didn’t need them anymore. And, as hard as it was to say goodbye to some of the past, it was time.

So I put many items up for sale - the stuff, not the memories. I am moving forward. I guess it was time for my furniture to move forward, too. 

Much of what I sold went on to make new memories with new people. Each sale made my heart happy and a little sad, all at the same time. I was making a fresh start. Others were finding new starts in my old things. It was bittersweet, but more sweet than bitter. 

I bought a pine bedroom set when my daughter was first born, I lovingly painted it between her naps. It served her well and survived through her baby years as well as those of her three brothers. It went to a young couple who is expecting their first child. They plan to use the dresser as a changing table - just like I did. 

My own bed, dresser and nightstands went to a woman starting a new life on her own. We had that in common. She was happy and excited about getting the furniture. It warmed my heart to know she plans to make a new start with the set that served me well for so many years.

A stain glass floor lamp went to a woman who I’d met one time before. We got to chatting and found we had a lot in common. She’d lost her husband years ago and we bonded over widowhood, among other things. A few days later she sent me a photo of the lamp in her sun porch and I knew it had found the right home with the right person.

A mom of five kids came with a trailer to pick up a couch and love seat. She had a few of her kids with her and they also relieved me of a couple of my NERF guns. I’m glad both the couch and the toy guns will have new life with a new family.

Another couch, that served as my boys’ gaming spot, went to a college student who promised to continue the gaming tradition with it. Hopefully the couch logs in some study hours as well.

I sold an oak sleigh bed to a grandma who was buying it for her 4-year-old granddaughter who had outgrown her toddler bed. My kids grew up using that bed and I’m so glad another generation will benefit from sleeping under its covers.

A large, wooden armoire went to a young man who shared his plans to repurpose it as a very large bird cage. He sent me a photo today of his finished project and it looks lovely. Any bird would be happy to call the old armoire home.

A young mom with a toddler in tow came for a coffee and end table. She flips furniture and was going to bring the tables back to life again. We had to take the legs off the coffee table in order to fit it into her small car. I was happy for her ingenuity and resourcefulness. We need more young people like that today.

I sold more things, but you get the gist. With each transaction, I met someone new and worthwhile. They each had a story, much like the furniture I was selling. 

Getting rid of some of my things was liberating. It felt good, but equally as good was meeting the people who now value my old (and their new) belongings and who are helping to bring them new life. I’m moving forward, and I’m glad my furniture is able to do the same.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. 


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