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How to get rid of "stuff" - Yankee 2.0
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Yankee 2.0

How to get rid of "stuff"

Over the last few months, I've been getting rid of stuff that I don't need or use. At first, I was worried that I would miss the stuff, or that I would need or use it later. However, I've found that once the stuff is gone, it's out of sight and out of mind. I started out by looking around my (big) house room by room and identified things that I hadn't used in the past 12 months or more. I asked myself "Do I use this? Do I need this? Could someone else use this?" 

First, I started with actual money -- old coins and bills that had been sitting in a box. Every few years, I would take them out and look at them, but really, they were just sitting there. So I researched the sales prices of these coins and listed them on ebay. The face value of the coins was $10.41 and I made $200 on them (after ebay and paypal fees). Some didn't sell, so they went back in the box, which I'm going to give to a friends' young boys who like to travel (they're foreign coins). I brought the bills to a dealer, and he paid me a bit over face value for them.

Then I looked around for precious metals. I had some dinged up old silver candlesticks and other odds and ends. Sold them all on Craigslist and eBay. I was starting to get the fever for selling. I looked at my jewelry box. I don't wear that much jewelry, but I had a heaving box of stuff I didn't wear, and the things I really did wear got lost underneath the other stuff. I also had my grandmother's engagement and wedding rings, as well as two other old rings of hers. They were beautiful and so small they wouldn't even fit on my pinky. They'd been sitting for ten years unworn and unappreciated. So I took them to a jewelry store (with a lot of other stuff) and they told me they'd melt everything down. I didn't want that -- the rings were beautiful and would be appreciated by someone, I was sure, so I found an antique dealer through Craigslist who bought them and assured me that they would be sold intact. My jewelry box is considerably more spacious now, and I've been wearing my jewelry much more, because I can find it!

The closet was next. "Have I worn this in the past twelve months?" If the answer was no, I put it in a bag for either Savers (if it was casual) or Dress for Success (if it was professional). Now, I can see all my clothes, and it's much easier to get dressed for work each day.

Decorative things followed -- were they just collecting dust? Could I whittle down a set of four jars to just one? Did I have things stashed in a closet for "when I get a summer house?" (ha!). Yes, yes, and yes. Sold, sold, and sold. 

How about the stack of paintings sitting in an empty room? I'm awaiting word from an art dealer about those as I write.

All told, I've made close to $2,000 on stuff that I was not using or appreciating. I have fewer things around me now, but each is something special. I feel much less burdened by things, and all the sale money is going towards paying down my one remaining credit card. 

I'm piling up the things that haven't sold in anticipation of a summer tag sale, which I hope will be my last. I've had tag sales nearly every year, but have kept acquiring more "stuff." During this current phase of decluttering/destuffing/streamlining, I've greatly reduced the flow of stuff coming in, and am being much more thoughtful about each purchase. I don't miss the specific items I've sold or given away, and I don't miss the volume of stuff in the house. I'm really enjoying the vast areas of space and swaths of bare walls. 

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