A Garage Sale for Nerds

30 April 2019


I have been a dedicated fangirl in one way or another for pretty much all of my life. I also grew up in a household where we never got rid of anything because “we might need it someday” or “we might want to use/see/experience it again someday” or, my favourite, “for the memories”. As such, I have accumulated a myriad of items, ranging from a variety of fandoms (though, let’s be honest, it is mostly manga) throughout my life. Many, if not most, of these pieces have spent the past eight to ten years living in boxes and bins, being toted from new place to new place, without being enough of a priority to make their way out of storage wherever I am living at that time.

When I embraced minimalism and intentional living two-and-a-half years ago, I gradually worked my way through many of my belongings, disposing of items as I was ready to, and in a way that felt most appropriate for the item be it donating, recycling, or dumping. Items that might have seemed impossible to get rid of at the beginning of the process became easy to get rid of one or two years in. Many of my fandom items, however, continued to be a point of contention. Maybe I’ve been afraid of losing my nerd cred. Perhaps so much of my identity is founded in the labels nerd, geek, and otaku that I worry, on a subconscious level, that disposing of these items makes me a bad fan – a fraud.

Obviously this is all insecure projection, and nowhere near the truth of the matter. Being a true fan of something, and maintaining nerd cred, is not found in the stuff we accumulate. Sure, having a room full of comic books, figurines, and art prints can externally show what we are passionate about, but it is not what justifies our passion in the first place. I know this. Nonetheless, all of these things that have spent years living in boxes have just been “too important” to simply throw away, or donate. After all, we cannot guarantee what we are donating will be purchased, and I genuinely can’t stomach the idea of my precious collections adding to the landfill problems we already face. Even if these items no longer serve a purpose in my life, it does not mean that the lives of these items are over.

It may have been during one of my serious manga purges when the idea came to me. Or maybe it was during one of my last big donation runs when I saw a number of nerdy items spilling out of a box. No matter when the idea occurred, it was an idea that stuck with me. These items were specific, and special, and catered to a certain genre of individual. They held too much personal value to just throw away, and they were a bit too niche to donate. I didn’t want to make a bunch of money off of them, but I wanted to know that they were finding homes with people who could appreciate them. I NEEDED to know that they were going to homes with people who could appreciate them. The solution - - -

A garage sale.

A garage sale for nerds.

A garage sale with nerd/geek/otaku items for nerd/geek/otaku people.

My lease was up at the end of May. The plan was to find these specialty items new homes before I had to move to a new location. We set the date, the second weekend of April, and for the next several months, as I continued my slow and ever steady process of purging and minimizing my belongings, when I came across an item that fit the bill, it went into “the nerd pile”.

It was quite successful. I still had a number of items left over, and I may have hoped more of my fabric and sewing supplies would have gone, but at the end of our two day garage sale I was feeling a sense of relief. Even with the items that were left over, I felt a new sense of peace about their fates. I had gained a victory in my minimalism journey I didn’t know I needed. Like a burden, I didn’t know was there, had been lifted off my shoulders.

So if you find yourself in a rut with niche items which are just a bit too obscure to donate, have a garage sale.

These sales can reveal a lot about who we are, and who we have been. If you were going to throw a specialty, niche garage or yard sale, what kind of theme would it have? Who would your “target market” be? Let’s chat in the comments below.