One of these days, if I die before Jesus comes back, all of my dearly beloved thrift store finds will find their way back to the thrift store or sold cheap at a yard sale. I kinda hate I’ll miss it ’cause I do love a good yard sale. Not really. Well, I do love a good yard sale, but Jesus is my real treasure!

He really is.

And there’s nothing quite like sorting through the contents of someone’s home and life to make you take stock of how you want to live and die. Since our marriage in 1987, we’ve said goodbye to all of our grandparents and our parents. I really didn’t expect to be the matriarch of the family at 50 but here I am in skinny jeans and flip flops trying to sort it out.

Speaking of yard sales, my sister and I had a big one this past weekend at my mom and dad’s house. We’ve spent weeks sorting through what we’d keep and what needed to find a new home. It’s not a easy task. Many of you reading this have been through it and a few of you are dreading it. I’d like to share what I’ve learned.

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What I’ve Learned About Sorting and Selling Mamma and Daddy’s Stuff

  1. There will be tears. Lots and lots of tears. They’ll come when you least expect it and often at the most inconvenient times about the smallest things. Let them come. Don’t apologize. Don’t try to explain. Those who’ve been there will understand and be okay and those who’ve yet to be there will not understand and you can’t make them. Bear with them.
  2. There will be laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. You’ll laugh when you least expect it and often at the most inappropriate time. Laugh anyway. Laugh till you cry. Don’t apologize. Don’t feel ashamed. Laughter is good medicine. Again, those who’ve been there will understand and be okay and those who’ve yet to be there won’t and you can’t make them.
  3. There will be guilt. Lots of it at times. Mamma and daddy loved their home and worked hard over many years to make it a beautiful, inviting place to raise a family and serve others. And while it served it’s purpose during every moment of their life, their home and all of their things are not meant to serve the same purpose in our lives. We honor them by remembering their life, acknowledging their legacy, and letting go of the guilt that would hinder living the life God has purposed for us.
  4. Thee will be judgment and criticism. Lots of it at times. It’ll be passed out with a smile and hug when you least expect, by those you least expect, which makes it hurt even more. Let it fall. Let the judgmental words and shaming opinions and two-cents-worth suggestions fall right in front of you where and when they’re spoken. Don’t receive them. Don’t go back and pick them up later and dissect them. And for goodness sake, don’t pass them along. Silence is golden at times like this. Awkward? Maybe. But I’ve found it’s the best way to deal with those people who want to point out that the grass needs cutting, and the grave needs flowers, and the house and everything in it should be enshrined forever. Which brings me to my final thought:
  5. There will be one thing you can’t sort and sell. Memories. No matter how hard you try you can’t sort a memory. Like tears and laughter, memories come when you least expect them. They can be triggered by the words of a song or a scent from the kitchen. Embrace the good ones. Let the painful ones fade. And remember that you certainly can’t sell them.
  • I can sell daddy’s old boots but not the miles we walked together in the woods.
  • I can sell daddy’s beloved hound dogs but not the howls that echo through the hollow.

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  • I can sell mamma’s dishes but not the thousands of meals prepared with love.
  • I can sell mamma’s sewing machine but not the hours I watched her measure, cut and stitch.

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  • I can sell their camper but not the joy and laughter around a crackling camp fire.

As old friends and acquaintances came by their house for the yard sale, we were reminded that the stuff we sorted on racks and tables wasn’t mamma and daddy’s treasures. Their real treasure and our inheritance is Jesus. For hours we laughed and cried and reminisced. It was a good day.

Even in their death they’re impacting how we live. In their absence, we march on in faith, hard work, and sweet fellowship because our hope is in the Lord.

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. I Corinthians 15:54-58

One day I’ll leave this world and all my kids will be fightin’ over who gets the good junk. Not really. I’ve made them promise they’ll just buy some pizza and bag it all up and haul it to the thrift store. ‘Cause you can’t sort and sell the memories if you wanted to you and a yard sale  would hardly be worth the trouble. But mostly because I pray that Jesus will always be their greatest treasure.

For When You sell mamma and daddy's stuff






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  1. Terri Ferguson August 15, 2016 at 7:05 pm #

    I handle estate sales for a living and I see so many grown up children that are dealing with selling their parents home and the things in it. Most of the grown up children have homes of their own that are full, full time jobs, children and a full schedule. Many of them have all ready took many days off of work to take care of ailing parents, then to bury parents and they are all ready physically and emotionally drained. The last thing they need on their plate is GUILT, which is often placed on them by other family members, nosey neighbors, etc.
    I now tell my kids, “Do not ever fell guilty about selling anything of mine and Dad’s..just do what you have to do to live your life, When I am gone, I am going to my real home and I will not need things anymore of know or care. I want them to know I loved them, keep what they need to , and remember all the good times, not things just memories!

    • Stacy Averette August 16, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

      “I am going to my real home”—what a joy to know this and be able to share it with your children. Terry, thanks for sharing your unique perspective on this issue!

  2. Brigett August 12, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

    Loved this! And so helpful right now. Thank you for allowing God to use you to bless me and others through your words.

    • Stacy Averette August 15, 2016 at 9:17 am #

      Thank you, Brigett. Blessed to be a blessing.

  3. Jana August 12, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

    So sweet and so well said, Stacy! We had professionals come in and do the estate sale for my parents’ home: sometimes I wish we’d taken more time for it, to allow us to process more. I’d been dreading it for so many years, at the time, I just wanted it over with.

    A relative gave me a freeing piece of advice, years earlier, about something of my grandma’s I didn’t really want but felt guilty getting rid of. She said, “If you don’t love it, don’t keep it. You have other ways to remember your grandma.” Which is exactly what you’re saying.


    • Stacy Averette August 15, 2016 at 9:19 am #

      Oh the guilt! What a blessing to have someone to speak that freedom into your life. Memories are a gift.

  4. Katie Axelson August 12, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

    When I was in Puerto Rico my team and I spent a day removing a maggot infestation from a widow’s fridge, sanitizing her mouse-poop littered dishes, and removing her now-dead husband’s bodily fluids from her bathroom. But it was the grease stains I scrubbed off the kitchen cabinets that struck me the most. Her life was really hard in those first few months without her husband, but I couldn’t help but thank God for the grease stains–remnants of good memories mixed in among the hard. I thanked Him for the laughter, the joy, the excitement that I imagine once happened around the kitchen table. I thanked Him for the meals enjoyed that left their stain on her cabinets. It was hard. But it was also so good.

    • Stacy Averette August 15, 2016 at 9:20 am #

      Katie, what a powerful reminder that sweet memories are all around is if we’ll look for them. They may be packaged differently than we expect, but they’re always there!

  5. Judy O'Mary August 12, 2016 at 5:25 am #

    Beautiful Stacy, thank you this actually helped me see some things different. I’m still dealing with what to do with mom’s old home place. Mr. JC and Mrs. Faye would be proud.

    • Stacy Averette August 15, 2016 at 9:22 am #

      Thank you, Judy. Glad my words could help. Loved your family so much.

  6. Donald L Sills August 11, 2016 at 8:38 pm #

    Don’t know how anyone could get through this without the truth of 1 Cor. 15.

    • Stacy Averette August 15, 2016 at 9:23 am #

      Amen, Donnie. It’s the only Truth we can live and die by.

  7. Renay Leach August 11, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

    Very well said. Having been there myself I truely understand and agree 100 %.

    • Stacy Averette August 15, 2016 at 9:23 am #

      Thanks, Renay.

  8. Carol Brackin August 11, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

    Stacy this was just beautiful! I had a hard time reading through the tears but I made it. I loved your parents. We were in the same Sunday School class for years and i just enjoyed them so much. Thanks so much for all your words of wisdom and living.

    • Stacy Averette August 15, 2016 at 9:25 am #

      Thanks, Mrs. Carol. They loved you, too. You have always been a blessing to my family.

  9. Shirley August 11, 2016 at 9:36 am #

    You are a blessing to all who are fortunate to know you. Thank you for your wonderful blogs. I love you, my sister in Christ. I have a poem I found in my Dad’s billfold! Sweet memories of my parents who loved me unconditionally!

    • Stacy Averette August 15, 2016 at 9:26 am #

      Thanks, Mrs. Shirley. I’m blessed to be a blessing. What a sweet memory of your Dad!

  10. Wanna Hobson Philpot August 11, 2016 at 9:21 am #

    I looked at this picture for a long time — and then, I remembered…. Your mom and I were classmates and friends at BCHS. I remember her so well – she was a beautiful girl (Lady) both inside and out. I saw her years later at some of the class reunions and it was always just as if it were yesterday before our lives took different turns and miles separated us. I remember both Faye and J. C. with such fond memories – your writing was a wonderful tribute to both of them.

    • Stacy Averette August 15, 2016 at 9:26 am #

      Wanna, thanks for sharing your sweet memories of my mom and dad and for your kind words of encouragement.

  11. Donna August 11, 2016 at 8:53 am #

    This touched my heart in more ways than one. I’ve been having a hard time since Daddy and Mother passed away. Thanking God that he used your words to help ease some of my burden today. Love you Stacy, you’ve been a great friend over the yrs. Miss your’s and Ms Faye smiles and laughter…

    • Stacy Averette August 15, 2016 at 9:27 am #

      Thank you, Donna. I’m thankful my words made a difference. I love you, friend!

  12. Flo Franklin August 11, 2016 at 8:17 am #

    Beautifully written! I read the other day that your treasures will never hold a place in your children’s hearts quite like they do in yours. I have 2 boys and am afraid one day they will see all my “treasures” as junk. I am trying to explain to my granddaughters where some things came from and why they are important to me. Hopefully, a few pieces will be passed down. But more important I hope they will hold wonderful memories of me forever.

    • Stacy Averette August 15, 2016 at 9:29 am #

      Thank you! I know your children will remember your stories and treasure their memory of you!

  13. Mike August 11, 2016 at 7:48 am #

    Love, love, love this. Love led the Smitherman family and still do. It was emotional being there.

    • Stacy Averette August 15, 2016 at 9:30 am #

      Thanks, Mike. So glad you were able to be there!

  14. Jay August 11, 2016 at 7:10 am #

    Love love love the gift you have! This just spoke to my heart in a special way. I know the days are coming, but will have this shared insight to bring me clarity and peace. Thanks friend.

    • Stacy Averette August 15, 2016 at 9:31 am #

      Thank you, Jay! I feel blessed to call you “friend”!

  15. Karen Peak August 11, 2016 at 6:59 am #

    Oh Stacy, this is so beautifully written. A year after Mammy died we went through her things and had a huge “estate” sale. (Fancy word for yard sale). Everything that we kept or didn’t sell has been in my basement for sixteen years! Each year it is my project to go through it but I just can’t get started. Perhaps your words will get me going soon. Each day I have memories, wonderful ones. Thank you for helping me to see things a little differently this day.

    • Stacy Averette August 15, 2016 at 9:33 am #

      Thank you, Karen. So glad you have so many wonderful memories. Thankful I could help.

  16. Amy Rawlings August 11, 2016 at 5:32 am #

    My Granny did the most wonderful thing when she moved in with my Aunt. She had us all over for pizza(her favorite discovery after my Paw Paw died); and she told us what she wanted us to have of hers. After that we went through everything and each piece went to whoever wanted it. We told the story of why it meant so much to us and what we would do with it. I got several things; but the coolest one was a black crushed velvet hat with a small net veil. She hadn’t worn it in decades but I promised to wear it at her funeral. Now I’m not a hat girl, but one cold October day I wore that hat with a new black dress to send my beloved Granny off to Jesus. Talk about lasting memories!!

    • Jana August 12, 2016 at 6:32 pm #

      That’s an amazing story! I hope to remember to do that some day, if life and the Lord allows!

    • Stacy Averette August 15, 2016 at 9:33 am #

      What a fun Granny you had!! What sweet memories! Thanks for sharing!!

  17. Charlie August 11, 2016 at 4:57 am #

    DeeDee found my mom’s purse the other day as we were going through some stuff. In it were her prescription sunglasses, a tube of lipstick and her address book. I got choked up when we found it and am a little choked up now just writing about it. I sure miss her.

    • Stacy Averette August 15, 2016 at 9:36 am #

      Memories are such a blessing. Even the ones that catch us by surprise and get us choked up. Thanks for sharing!!