I never thought I was a hoarder. Then I had a yard sale.

Oh. My. Gosh. The amount of useless junk we’ve accumulated over the years, which we then drug out of our basement and garage and spread across our front yard for other people to pick through, defies the imagination.

There were items I literally hadn’t laid eyes on in 15 years. Toys our now-adult children haven’t played with since the birthday or Christmas they first opened them. A black-and-white television set I had in my dorm room in college (it still works!).

There were boxes and boxes of Happy Meal toys. Youth football helmets and shoulder pads and enough semi-deflated old basketballs to start our own YMCA. Not to mention all the “cute” little knickknacks my daughter received as a high school cheerleader — at least one a week for four years, as team moms competed viciously to out-cute each other.

Besides that, there were all the assorted rugs, mirrors, lamps and shelves that reflected our various redecorating phases over the years. They were almost like geological strata: Dig down far enough, and you get to the Blue Country Duck Period.

And the clothes. Here’s how the conversation went as my wife and I were going through my closet:

Wife: (Picks up a shirt)

Me: But I love that shirt.

Wife: When was the last time you wore it?

Me: Um…

Wife: (Tosses it in box)

The amazing thing was, people bought that stuff. Not enough of it to satisfy me, perhaps; we still had to carry way too much back into the garage. But it was actually surprising how much they bought. I guess it really is true that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

Then again, sometimes one person’s trash is just — trash.

As for the sale itself, it was actually an enjoyable experience. You meet a lot of interesting folks at a yard sale, including the people who basically just want you to give them stuff for free. Heck, if they’d waited another week, and caught me trying to clear the residue out of my garage, I might have done it.

As it was, I constantly had to ask myself, “Would I rather have this thing that I haven’t even touched for over a decade, or would I rather have a dollar?” Usually, the dollar won.

Then there were the ones who wandered through my garage — even though we’d pulled all the sale items out into the yard — offering to buy my shelves, my tools, my freezer. The basketball goad in the driveway. (I kept the freezer but sold the goal. All that frozen chicken and ground beef is a higher priority for me at this point than shooting baskets.)

One guy even tried to buy a brand-new fire pit. Not mine, my neighbor’s. Two houses down from me.

Hey, don’t laugh. I got $25 for it.

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Rob Jenkins is a college professor. The views expressed here are his own. You can email Rob at rob.jenkins@outlook.com.

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