North Plymouth resident Joe Pickett is something of a professional when it comes to selling goods at flea markets and yard sales. Picket, who is 64, has been doing it for decades. But now he says he wants to get out of the business so he can have more time to read books, travel, and enjoy life. This is part of an occasional series of short “as told to” profiles by Plymouth resident Carl Mastandrea, who describes himself as a “photographer, teacher, and storyteller.” It has been edited for clarity and length.

I’m standing here in my garage where I have about 50,000 items neatly packed in banana boxes behind me, maybe like 400 boxes. I’m getting a little tired because it’s getting warm out and I’m getting older, and this is way more than I can bring to the flea market. I’ve been here at this house for about 10 years now and I want to clear this stuff out, to sell everything.

I’d like someone to offer me $10,000 for all this stuff or maybe three people offer $3,000 each. It’s a good deal. You know what I mean? Because let’s say there’s 30,000 items in here. Each one of them is worth a dollar or more. I’m guessing the amount of value in the garage is around fifty to a hundred thousand. I would like to sell it all to someone that would benefit from it and be thrilled with the deal.

I still have regular yard sales at the house, but I also regularly put a big pile of free stuff out on the road. I do that once or twice a week and try to make it disappear. Every day people stop by and pick up a few things.

Think about this – I’ve sold the same thing 25 times in my life. I’ve sold at least 25 tape measures in my life. I’ve sold at least 10 vintage fans. But I’ve reached a certain point that I want to slow down. I had my hip replaced last fall and I retired from soccer about 13 years ago. I want to get back into that if I can.

I was a building superintendent in my twenties in Boston and people would leave their apartments. I’d be in charge of the building and prepping apartments for the next tenant. Often times the students, at the end of the year, would leave their stuff. Every two months or so, I’d come home to my apartment with a new couch and the old one would go out. I was constantly upgrading but also selling stuff. People saw me doing that and then people started calling me to help them clean out their houses. One year I did 43 clean-outs and the next year 27. That’s a lot of stuff.

Now I really have to trust that somehow God’s going to provide a way out because I still have to pay bills. I don’t have magical income coming in. God gave me the ability to earn money. I’ve been doing this for 50 years. I have sold thousands of different things but now I want to make all this stuff disappear. I don’t feel like doing 30 or 40 flea markets a year anymore. Moving stuff around can be exhausting. My goal is to sell all this stuff to someone else who can monetize its value. I still have boundless energy, but I want to be doing other things with my time at my age. I’d like to travel, maybe go to national parks, read books and you know, relax.

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