While on the subject of “de-cluttering” ~ During 2013, alongside my “Ten Year Plan”, I also made the intention to minimize some of my belongings through what I call a “Simplicity Sale”.
Most North Americas are familiar with “Garage Sales” and “Yard Sales” ~ sub-urban, Saturday morning scenes, springing up in cities across the continent. (Our friends in the UK call them “Car Boot Sales”.) Before morning dew has faded, city folks drag their unused trinkets out onto the drive-ways, front-yards and boulevards of the nation’s neighbourhoods to set up impromptu bazaars. They shiver in the cool morning air, often un-showered in pj’s and slippers, with coffee and breakfast toast in hand, awaiting nosy customers eager for bargains on unique, unused household items.
My mother used to always say, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure”. For people wanting to de-clutter, and others searching for cheap deals on collectables or much needed household items, these little bargain-markets are cultural celebrations of independent entrepreneurship. When entire streets of families get involved ~ establishing “Street Sales” ~ the resulting festivals and community buzz can be quite enjoyable. The objective of the seller is primarily to unload lightly used belongings that are too good to trash. Thus, price tag amounts tend to be token and flexible…especially as the sale day comes to a close. For the customers ~ roving from road to road on weekend mornings in the act of “Garage Sailing”, the thrill of bartering to secure a “good deal” can be quite empowering ~ especially in a part of the world where retail product mark-up averages between 12 – 15% and no formal mall, store, shop or franchise allows a customer the freedom to haggle.
Being on the road so much with my music (away almost every weekend) has made it hard for me to hold a garage sale or even utilize websites like Kijiji or Craig’s list in an effort to sell some of my things. During the last 12 months, I only had one free Saturday available to host my own home-spun bazaar. It went well, but did not even put a dent in the number of items I had hoped to clear out of my house. So this past autumn I devised a new plan for simplifying my life ~ a traveling “Simplicity Sale”.
Upon each of my travels to share my songs, I bring along one or two items I no longer need and either auction them off to my audience or set them out on my CD table for sale. Among the goods I have parted with over the past year was a virtually brand-new guitar case, sold to a budding musician who attend one of my shows. On my last trip to the UK, I even auctioned off one of my two primary performance guitars of the last decade, to a dear supporter who now intends to learn a few chords herself! It feels so good to know that belongings which have meant so much to me over the years have found homes in the hands of new friends, who I hope will keep in touch.
In 2014 I plan on stepping up the “product line”of my Simplicity Sale to include some of my forlorn collections which, as I get older, I have felt less inclined to maintain. That will include some of my 16mm films, antique cameras/film projectors, books, records, random rhythm instruments and even some nick-nacks collected on my various travels around the world.
Proceeds from all of my Simplicity Sale items go toward the Al-Imtiaz Academy, a school in Pakistan my wife’s grandmother started over 25 years ago (and the primary benefactor of royalties from several of my recorded works.)
Anybody wanna buy a classy looking and unused hooka pipe from Damascus? …Or the retro 1970’s super 8mm movie camera I used to film my “Out Seeing The Fields” video? How about a collection of Star Wars figures from my childhood….well, all except Yoda…guide me in The Force and smile in my studio a little longer, will he.