Paying it forward or paying it back – the joy of decluttering

With the number of times I’ve mentioned it as a key part of my minimizing plan, the fall comic sale in Calgary has become almost mythical on this blog. It was starting to feel like it would never happen.

But happen it did. With my friends needing to bow out, Wifey came along for the day and helped me sell-sell-sell. We loaded up the car and had a fun day blowing out comics and toys for $5 a piece. To keep it simple, I priced the entire table at that price, with deals for buying in bulk (and buy they did).

There were a lot of laughs and smiles. Many times we were asked if the price was real. One gentleman even insisted on paying more. I want to share one story that really impacted me on the day and since.

A college-age guy was carefully selecting books and he repeatedly flipped through a Batman Black & White collection. It was pretty beat up & he decided against it.

He came back to our table twice more. Each time carefully considering. Each time picking up the Batman book, showing his friend the creators who worked on it, lamenting it was in such rough shape.

The last time he came by, he picked out $20 worth of comics.

“Um…” he said tentatively “I’m a student and I only have $15 left. Any chance I can get a deal?”

I smiled and said “of course. But on one condition – You are taking the Batman Black & White too.”

He paused, not quite catching it. Then he looked at me with such an amazing look of gratitude. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say I thought he might tear up.

When he got his footing, we talked for a few minutes. It turned out he is a student facing $1,000 in required textbooks. And to add to that weight, he had just become a father in May. He was at the show trying to stretch a few spare dollars into enough comics to keep him reading through the semester.

A Thing that meant nothing to me, that would have been recycled if not sold, was to him multiplying his few spare dollars and bringing him art and joy.

As I minimize, I treasure those moments when I can see how my letting go can add so much value to someone else’s life.

I think a lot about how minimizing can be paying-it-forward, but sometimes it is closing the loop on generosity I have received.

I was a struggling student for a long time, as well. And so many people gave me deals and threw in extras. Keeping me going through the lean years.

By letting go, I was able to help someone else in an immediate way. And make a human connection that reminds me of why I love this community so much.

As I committed from the beginning of this journey, I donated 10% of all sales to charity. In this case, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.