Let's have a yard sale! You said. It won't suck! You said. You were wrong.

The 5 Stages of Yard Sale Grief

Let's have a yard sale! You said. It won't suck! You said. You were wrong.

“You know what could be fun and not at all awful? Let’s have a yard sale!”

Apparently I haven’t seen enough memes and tweets about the royal pain in the rear that are yard sales to deter my enthusiasm for this endeavor. Our attic was full, our kids had outgrown many things – it seemed clear that we were leaving money on the table. Plus this was an opportunity to teach our children about entrepreneurship. OMG, we’re so smart!

Yet as preparation for the yard sale ensued, I found myself deeply identifying with the five stages of grief. So much so that I think they might have originally been created by someone having a yard sale.


This is going to be a piece of cake! All we need to do is pull stuff down from the attic, make sure it’s cleanish, and put it out on our yard. If we build it, they will come.

Other things we won’t need to worry about include: our kids caring that we are selling off their stuff, buying poster board to make signs, dust, finding lemonade mix at the grocery store so that the kids can have a lemonade stand at our yard sale, and rain.

It’s fine. Everything is going to be fine.


Why doesn’t CVS sell large poster board? How am I supposed to advertise a yard sale in these conditions?!?!?

And cool, thanks for hiding the lemonade mix behind 14 cases of ice tea and a giant scaffolding, grocery store. It’s not a big deal, I’ll just scale this bad boy. My son will probably stay nice and still and not run away to join the circus while I do this. COOL!

Oh good gravy, how does Craiglist work again? And do I need to put this yard sale on Facebook too? Is there another site the kids are using these days? Ugh, I do not have time for this.

Pictures? You want pictures of the baby bath, [email protected]??? No, it’s a bathtub. And honestly I’m only 75% sure it’s in this pile of things. Just come over on Saturday. No early birds please. Except fine, whatever, come over at 7:30.


The bargaining starts WAY before the actual yard sale.

“Sweet daughter, how about we go read a book instead of climbing to the top of Mount Giant Pile of Baby Items that is currently residing in our bedroom?”

“Darling son, how about you can play on my phone for five minutes while I try to figure out how to get the stain out of this playmat?”

“Dear husband, fine, you can keep the book about the trout streams of New England but this book about the war ships of 1812 is going in the pile.”

“I know the kids haven’t sat in those tiny rocking chairs since the month by month baby pictures I forced upon them, but maybe let’s just hold onto them a little longer…”

When the yard sale actually began, I was prepared to bargain with customers by saying “Yes, fine. I’ll give this to you for a firm handshake. Please take it away from my home.”

What I didn’t prepare for was the ongoing bargaining that would occur with my children to convince them that they no longer fit in the baby swing. And to not run into the road. And to refrain from asking strangers too many personal questions.

There were many fruit snacks involved.


Wow, my kids are really growing up… I can’t believe they used to fit in this baby carrier/onesie/bouncy chair… Am I savoring the moments as much as I should be? Why don’t I even remember this book about the chicken? Did I not read my kids this book!? Are they too old for it now? Ugh, they totally are…

Am I done having babies? No, I’m definitely done having babies. Am I sad about that? Should I be sad about that? I’m not sad about that… What does that say about me as a mother? What am I talking about, there’s nothing wrong with that… Welp, there’s 25 minutes of unnecessary thought and self-loathing I’ll never get back.

On an unrelated note, I found a prayer card from a funeral in this old purse. So there’s that…

Oh, and I seriously can’t see anymore because my eyes have been infiltrated by all the dust from our attic. So I’m not even crying right now. It literally is just dusty in here.

Oh, and it’s going to rain. Everything is terrible.


We’ve made this bed of discarded items. We had better lie in it. Welcome friends, neighbors, countrymen. Please buy our things. Or don’t buy our things and come pick them up off the side of the road at 4pm. I don’t actually care.

But please do buy a cup of lemonade from my son. He worked moderately hard on that sign. I’ll even give you the fifty cents on the sly. Plus it comes with a joke:

What’s a llama’s favorite drink?


Come on. That’s objectively funny.

With no career advice in this post except maybe something about using humor in your marketing (?),


This post was originally published on With Love, Becca.

Image credit: Bob + Renee / Flickr


About the Author

Becca Carnahan is a mom of 2 small humans, freelance writer, career coach, and a humor enthusiast. Find her sharing stories about parenting and career development at With Love, Becca and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.