*First let me start by saying if you do either of these things you are NOT a bad person. These are our personal convictions and they are what God has placed on our heart. It doesn't make you a bad person if you do either one of these. God has spoken to our heart on these and therefore we must obey what he has asked of us. I am in no way trying to put my convictions on you either, only share what God had done in us.
Okay now that I have said that ....
Aaron and I have had one garage sale in our marriage. (It was for our adoption and we raised almost $2,000) I never remember my parents ever having a garage sale. I never even went to a garage sale until I lived here. I have just never been an up-at-the-crack-of-dawn kinda person ... especially to drive around and look for my treasure amidst someone else's junk! I do remember my mom always giving our stuff away. Those people would call and ask you to leave it on your front porch labeled for them and they would pick it up and take it and give it to those in need.
I also had never been to a consignment store until I moved here. That could also be because now we have kids and I get lots of summer play clothes from consignment stores and before now never had a reason to shop at them. :) Recently I attended a huge consignment sale that happens once or twice a year and came home with a few toys for the boys and some summer clothes for big boy. A friend of mine told me that recently she consigned some stuff at one of these big sales and made $500! Oh my gosh I thought. Why am I not doing this? I could do a whole lot with $500, and I'm sure I could come up with tons of stuff to sell and get rid of from the boys.
We have recently started hearing about a ministry called Angel Food Ministries. This is a phenomenal ministry that allows people to buy a box full of groceries for $25, which is saving the person about $40 or so on groceries. You can buy as many as you want and they offer it once a month. (I believe this information is correct - please visit their website for accurate details). I first heard about this last year from a friend at work and thought it was an amazing deal. We didn't do it because it has lots of food that we just wouldn't eat. Macaroni and Cheese, meats, pasta, cereal and other things that aren't part of our monthly grocery list. It wouldn't be beneficial for us. My mom recently started volunteering at her local distribution center in TX and was filling us in on how good of a ministry this is. A couple in our small group told us that they participate because it is great for their family with FIVE kids! The ministry does not discriminate on income, sex, age, gender, denomination or anything else. It is available to anyone for $25. Great ministry!
Here is where I am having to follow God with what he has laid on our hearts and not be detoured by the thrill of more money. God has shown us how we can help people who don't have as much by giving away what is not needed for us anymore. We have found a local mission that accepts donations and then gives them away to people in need. That is where our clothes go that we don't wear anymore. We have found an orphanage in Haiti that is always in need of baby clothes. That is where our baby clothes go when we are done with them (summer ones at least!) We don't feel right about participating in the food ministry because we can afford groceries; we feel as though we should allow this ministry to minister to those that are in more need than us. I'm not saying I've never taken anything to a consignment store, because yes I have taken a few shirts there of the boys when I'm about to buy them new stuff. As for most of our stuff, we choose to give them away and help those that need it more than us.
My friend just told me that she is having a garage sale on Friday and right now our car is FULL of stuff to take to the mission. I had to stop and talk with God about this and I was reminded of what he has asked our family to do. I could make lots of money on the stuff in the car, but I will obey and take it to the mission.
Does the money from consignment and garage sales intrigue me - YES. Do I sometimes want to participate - YES. Would a cheaper grocery bill be better - YES. But God has asked our family to do something different. So, therefore I obey and am blessed by doing that.