Home Forums Living Spaces Sentimental Clutter Sentimental's Cousin: Value

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  • #158741
    Avatar of
    Anonymous

    So I find I’m stuck and could use some insight from y’all.

    I’m decluttering, slowly but surely, in spits and spats. Good, right? But recently I’ve been stuck with the mindset of selling some pieces on craigslist instead of just hauling them to Value Village (or wherever) with everything else. And it’s because — they have monetary value.

    I think this started when I decided I was going to sell my DVD’s on Ebay, because Half Price Books purchase offers are so stingy. All of this falls under the But it’s Worth Something! Doctrine, aka It Has Value, I Can’t Just Give it Away Doctrine. I know I am not the only clutterer/unclutterer who has internalized this principle. ;)

    Now what’s weird to me about this is… I’ve had this feeling before, donated the items instead and felt so much better for having rid myself of them. So why am I here again? Shouldn’t I be able to remember or trust my previous successes with uncluttering? I’m so frustrated with myself that I feel I must re-coup some of that dang value.

    I’m nearing a point where I can let go of this. And serendipitously reading Zenhabits today (http://zenhabits.net/simple-wasteless/) helped. But I thought I’d check in with y’all. Do you ever struggle with this and any thoughts on ways to haul myself out of this indoctrination, but for good? TIA.

  • #169404

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    librarygal, I feel your pain. I have a leather jacket that I got at Nordstrom Rack (a deal!) that is really beautiful, but not beautiful on me. It doesn’t fit, and even if it were the right size, the shape isn’t really right for me. But it was relatively expensive, and I just can’t get myself to give it the boot. I guess I could just take it to the salvation army, but whenever I get close to being able to do this I look at it again and realize all over again how beautiful it is. And then I hang it back up in the closet. Actually, to be honest, there are two of them. But one of them actually fits and I wear it about once or twice a year :/

    I am realizing that my mistake with these and with other clothes/shoes/jackets that I can’t get rid of due to their value is this: impulse shopping. Usually the thing is either on sale or purchased at a discount store. Sometimes it is something I bought on vacation. But the common thread is, minimal forethought, minimal anticipation.

    I do have to say though, that I had some antiques with no sentimental value to me or any of my family members but that had been held on to by my family for at least my entire life. I decided to sell them on e-bay instead of just taking them to the salvation army, and although the money that I got for them was relatively minimal, it made me happy to know that they had a good home. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to want to be good stewards of things, as long as it doesn’t go too far. It keeps things out of landfills and puts them in the hands of people who want them. I think it’s good karma.

  • #169407
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    sometimes i will look at something and think, oooo, i could flog that and raise money for my favourite charity (kiva.org).
    and then i realise i will be a lot happier and freer, faster, if i just drive that stuff down to the local charity shop and let the experts handle it.
    as long as it is OUT of my house, that’s the main thing.
    but i totally get were you are coming from.

    camellia tree….i gave away two full length lined black leather coats earlier this year and it felt FANTASTIC.
    i knew we were never going to wear them, however beautiful they were.
    they just sat there taking up space and mocking me.
    and now…someone else is enjoying them. it’s awesome.

  • #169408
    Avatar of margaret
    margaret
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    This is ME, completely! Because in addition to all the mess and clutter, we also have a massive amount of credit card debt (hmmm, related, ya think?). So I constantly think that I should have a garage sale or haul it to an auction or something to get some money out of it (you know all those website that say – sell everything you can to pay off debt!). But here’s the thing — I live on a farm. And not a farm just off the highway where you could draw traffic in. So if I have a garage sale, I either have to find someone who will let me bring stuff in and have a co-garage sale with them, or haul it to a community garage sale. I have way more stuff than would fit on a table, so community garage sale is kind of out, plus what would I do with the kids? They’d be running around like crazy, and it would probably cost more than I would make to leave them with the babysitter. There is nobody in my little hometown whom I would feel comfortable asking to take in my crap for a garage sale (all my relatives around here also live on farms), so the next place where I could do that is about an hour away. Now, about 3 years ago, I did haul everything to my cousin’s house when she was having a garage sale. They were borrowing our horse trailor for a move, so I just loaded everything in there and my husband hauled it up with the truck. I made something over $400. Cost? I drove to her place 3 times = about $30 in gas. While we were there, I had to feed my kids, so fast food. And because she was hosting the garage sale, on the second day, I offered to buy lunch for her and somehow ended up buying lunch for everyone who was staying with her. I forget exactly now, but the cost of that lunch alone was over $50. Plus I bought supper as take out going home on Saturday, so there’s another $40 plus. Plus the gas for my husband to haul the trailor up with his truck — another $10 at least, probably more, which he wouldn’t have had to spend if I hadn’t needed him to move the stuff for me. True, I could have packed lunches and just made supper and whatever, but I found myself fairly stressed out by the whole garage sale business. So for the couple of days work beforehand pricing and boxing and loading and unloading and the two days of the sale, I made just over $50 a day. This is not to be a snob about $50 a day, but it really wasn’t worth it, although I did get some nice visiting in with a few relatives. And then after, there was still quite a bit of stuff left that I had to deal with (I still have at least one tub in the basement that I never unpacked). The other option, hauling stuff to a consignment auction, would involve less work, but still some work to move things, and realistically, the kind of stuff that I have mostly goes for $1 a box.

    Still — I keep on thinking about having that garage sale. Today, I actually took in some things to donate, including one of the things that I think I should sell (even though realistically it might only get a couple of bucks). I thought about what I would pay, if I had the money, to have someone come in and clean up for me, or to hire an organizer or something like that. Basically, what would a clean, uncluttered house be worth. I figured it would be worth at least $500 to $1000. So I told myself that unless I knew I would make more than $1000 holding onto everything and then trying to sell it, that I would be better off just getting it out of the house and treating it as if I was spending that money to have a clean house. Thinking that way really helped me. I’m sure I will come across more than a few things where I really REALLY think I should sell, but I figure if I do, there is a free trading post type website for my area that I can post on, and when I find out that my whatever would only net me $5 but it would cost me $10 in gas to deliver it to whoever wants it (NO one wants to come here, even when I’ve listed things on freecycle — they just assume I will drive an hour or two and deliver), it will be easier to just get rid of it. Also, there are some community garage sales of organizations in town that I wouldn’t mind supporting with stuff — e.g. the hospital extended care. If I happen to catch the ads in time next summer (assuming I am still doing this), I can take stuff there. One time my church had a garage sale and I brought boxes and boxes of stuff. I priced it quite cheap, but I think it just about all sold, so I was happy to think of it as a donation to the church. I suspect that most of the stuff that I think is valuable will turn out to not really be that valuable when selling it second hand.

    I’m not going to worry about it so much right now as long as I am getting rid of anything and getting some cleaning done (I’m sure I’ve got months worth of that just to make my house look somewhat presentable instead of the dump that it is right now), but I think where I am going to get stuck is with stuff that I could get rid of but might need in the future. It’s one thing to get rid of something that might be worth some money but I will never need, and another to get rid of something that I might have to replace. That’s the packrat in me, I suppose. Example — all my clothes that are a little too small (yes, weight problem to go with the debt and the clutter — everything’s a mess with me) — if I actually do lose weight, I would really regret getting rid of the clothes, and I actually would have to buy replacements. Because I don’t live near any second hand clothing stores (the one closest does not have great stuff and prices things pretty much the same as you could get at a year end sale), I would probably end up buying new. But because of the debt (which even in the best of circumstances, not including unexpected lottery wins or inheritances, will take 5 years to pay off), I don’t want to have to spend the money. I think that will be tough for me. However, maybe what I will do is just look at everything and unless it was a favourite that I loved to wear (and at the moment, I can only think of one belt that I really liked), I will figure out what it would cost to replace everything and probably it won’t be as monumental an amount as I’m assuming. Also, I am expecting, but I am expecting this to be the last one, so in a few years, I’ll have baby stuff to get rid of. I’ve heard there is a consignment sale every spring about an hour away where I might feel I have to bring all my stuff, but maybe if I’ve done well with my decluttering, I will feel okay with just letting it go in dribs and drabs as the child outgrows things. My kids are all quite big, so I expect by the time this one is 6 months, he will already have outgrown any baby clothing sized 12 months or less.

    Anyway, I constantly battle that “should sell this and get some money cha-ching” feeling. I’m looking forward to hearing how other people deal with it.

  • #169410
    Avatar of Vivace
    Vivace
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    @camellia tree: Do you have a store in your area like a Buffalo Exchange, My Sister’s Closet, Plato’s Closet, etc? They’re somewhat above the thrift store level and only deal in name brands, but they’ll often give you cash or trade for the things you bring in. It’s the equivalent of taking your media to Half Price Books instead of Goodwill. You may not get as much as you would on Ebay, but it’s a lot less work.

  • #169411
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    margaret, i honestly think that the simple act of typing all that out helps to organise our mental processes.
    when you put it all down logically like that, you are led to certain inevitable conclusions.
    which makes for a great reduction in mental clutter, at least.

  • #169417

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    Vivace, there are consignment stores in the area, and in fact there is one that would otherwise be perfect just a couple blocks away. But they seem so demanding- you have to have an appointment, you have to have at least 6 things that they consider consignable, etc. I can understand why they have to set limits such as these, but unfortunately it just doesn’t work for me. Maybe I’ll break the rules and just bring the jacket by and see what they say :)

  • #169421

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    @Margaret, have you seen this post yet?
    http://unclutterer.com/2009/10/09/ask-unclutterer-managing-a-wardrobe-of-many-sizes/
    It addresses how to organize a wardrobe having many sizes. There’s at least one commenter in here who mentions that her varying sizes is primarily due to pregnancy. There’s some very practical suggestions, esp. in the comments, on what to toss, what to keep, and how to organize the stuff you decide to keep.

  • #169428
    Avatar of ozegal
    ozegal
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    @ library girl – I have been in this mind space plenty of times and in the end it comes down to two things.
    First, it has a value to you because you spent good hard earned money on it in the first place. Ask yourself, how much would I have bought this for if it was second hand when I first got it? If the answer is less than $5, or “I don’t think i would buy this second hand” it will help with your perspective. Just a tip, I love novels and i have an extensive collection. I think only 10% of these were bought new. I scour ex-library, thrift store and second hand book shops for my books and I dislike paying any more than $5, even for a classic I have read before and know I will read a dozen times. But I love having this collection of experiences that I can re-live over and over. When I finish a book that i didn’t enjoy, I don’t put a value on it at all and I give it away! I want my collection only to be full of my favourites (which is a mantra I recently applied to a cluttered wardrobe with great success!)

    Second – consider how much value your time is worth. In Australia, a person over 18y/o is rarely paid less than $20/hour (in my experience). Everytime you spend time worrying about an item, think about how long it takes to worry over it, list it for sale, liase with the purchaser etc etc as well as the actual selling fee for ebay and postage for example (everything that is involved with this item). If you calculate that you would get less money for the item than it would COST you in ‘labour’ to sell it – that might also help put into perspective an item that you have decided has added to your clutter.

    I’m not big on charity because I’m proud and while we are comfortable we have never had much to offer anyone else while struggling to make ends meet ourselves. So I rarely accept or offer anything but advice which to me is priceless anyway. So having to put this into perspective in monetary terms has been important to me in helping me ‘let go’ items that have become clutter. It also feels like one of the small things I can do to contribute to my community.

  • #169430
    Avatar of Nina
    Nina
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    I have this problem too up to a certain amount, especially with clothes/shoes that I bought but then never/hardly wore, as they don’t fit/suit me/or I just dont like the style any more. A lot of it I have given away, some I sold on our local ebay and some I have brought to a second-hand store, where you get 50% of the selling price (if it sells).
    But my rule is, if it gets less then 10$ an item I don’t bother selling it and just give it to charity, as the time I spend trying to sell it is just not worth it. And you have to remember, that you might go to a lot of trouble and still not sell it.

    To me, if the clutter is causing me to stress about it, not having that stress anymore is worth much more then maybe getting back a few dollars. I have to say that it is much easier giving things away that I once actually used, like books or dvds I’ve read or watched but just don’t think i will read again in the near future. Then I can tell myself that they have served their purpose to me and now it’s time they entertain someone else. With things I bought and never used this is harder. But on the other hand you have to tell yourself, if it’s been sitting in a closet for months or years unused, it isnt serving anyone and only costing you money in the end to store it. Giving it away might be hard in the beginning, but it can be very rewarding (just not in a monetary sense).

  • #169437
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    i am finding that now i have gone through the major decluttering, it has certainly slowed down the new purchases.
    it is like i can now more clearly see the life cycle of the stuff….and it’s ultimate donate/trash/recycle/giveaway exit from my home.
    so i am tending a lot more to cut out the middleman and just not buy it in the first place.
    i had to spend a lot of money and get rid of a lot of stuff to learn this though!

  • #169452
    Avatar of
    Anonymous

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    Thanks for your thoughts so far.

    Specifically I’m thinking of like new items that could sell for US$10-30 ea. Things I purchased originally for >=$50, some I used for a year or two, some never used. And I should add, it’s not all expunged items, plenty of things have made there way to a donation center already. It’s just a few things I think I could sell.

    The funny thing is I evicted Justin Case a couple of years ago, but his buddy Value still visits. Have to remember to change the locks ;)

    Reading your responses has had one unexpected result: When I read about your items of “value” I think, ‘how silly, get rid of it,’ because I have the luxury of detachment, just as I’m sure you have no attachment to my bookcase or whatever that I’m holding onto. This has helped. If I was asked this same question by a friend, I think it would be easier for me to say, “donate it!”

    I guess I have to decide if I’m willing to take the time. And think about the return (payment) for that time, as Ozegal suggests. Is it worth $X to take the time to sell this or quickly remove it from my home?

  • #169485
    Avatar of margaret
    margaret
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    Reading about clothes has made me realize that none of the stuff I have is particularly valuable. I’m not stylish or fashionable. The stuff I have is just stuff to put on. It’s not like I’d be getting rid of a $200 anything. To me, a fancy shirt is one that cost more than $25. We’re talking shorts, tshirts, jeans. A few of them are things that I really loved or were particularly comfortable, but most of it is just-in-case I’m ever that size again, then I would have some clothes. So I think I will end up getting rid of most of it. However, most of the stuff I’m hanging onto is in rubbermaid tubs way behind piles of other stuff to wade through, so it’s even slightly possible that by the time I get around to it, it will actually fit me again (knock on wood)! I think I will get rid of some stuff that I have in my room that is too big or that fits poorly even though it is technically the right size. That’s one advantage of not being stylish — if I just live in my exercise pants, no one will really notice. In fact, it’s a slight improvement over some of the stuff I usually wear.

  • #169506
    Avatar of lqdlight
    lqdlight
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    Well put! We try to be responsible stewards of our things and get every last drop of usability out of them, but we often under value the maintenance costs in time and energy.

    When I’m wavering on whether to let something go (especially something I haven’t really used, but feel guilty for purchasing) I tell myself “not to pay for it twice.” I let the item go and try to learn from the mistake to make smarter purchases in the future.

  • #169507
    Avatar of pammyfay
    pammyfay
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    I wouldn’t just ignore that feeling inside that you want to try to get some money out of those things. It’s OK to try to recoup something. But don’t belabor the effort. Put them on craigslist or ebay or wherever once. If it sells, great (but then don’t go obsessing that you got only 10 or 20% of what you paid). If it doesn’t, finally break your bond with those items and donate them and don’t forget to get the tax-deduction slip.

    There is a garage sale in my future. But the stuff that doesn’t sell, well, I’m not dumping it all back in my basement–for what? I’ll haul it all to a thrift store or Salvation Army, get that tax slip, berate myself for a day or so over some stupid buying decisions (or hobbies that didn’t last) and give myself permission to move on.

    Yes, those craigslist/garage sale options will require effort and time. But you might benefit from those “expenditures”: They might cement in your mind that your shopping habits and needs require changing, as lqdlight said.

  • #169508
    Avatar of pammyfay
    pammyfay
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

  • #169510

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    Oh I love this forum, this is sooo timely for me as I am paralised with what to do. Is there anyone from Canada here? I have researched and called the Salvation Army for a tax receipt but they will only do it with large bulk items eg a whole office set of furniture not individual things.
    My friend who lives in Virginia said they pick everything up and leave a paper at your door to fill out yourself. So If any one from Canada has some suggestions for tax receipts that would be great.
    I have books I never look at and clothes and smaller things. So I think I am going to do what pammyfay suggested list them on Craigslist once and then if there is no interest donate them.
    I have just moved into my place but have not done much because of all the stuff. There is not allot as I have culled over the years but for me I am seeing it still is to much to handle. Just this morning I opened my closet and saw all these boxes of stored things…I have no clue whats in them even when they are labeled! Because I do not use them.
    So clearly more to do, but as I see on this forum it will happen if you keep at it.
    I should have an incentive as I am having my floors refinished aand so I have to put what I have out on the balcony for three days, yet as I said it is daunting.
    I want to get to the point where I do not spend my time organising things I do not use anymore and enjoy the things I do.
    I went to a popular used book store and he was not buying any and I thought is this going to be obsolete in the future as it seems we are letting go of our books in exchange for something digital. I have to call another library because the person I spoke to did not seem to knowledgable and I think it is so great to support that, so when you want to read a book you can instead of on your kindle.

  • #169516
    Avatar of margaret
    margaret
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    unclutteredlife — I’m from Canada, and no, you don’t get a tax receipt for donations to thrift stores. There are some cases where you can get a receipt for donations, but that’s for more valuable things. E.g. if you donated a book collection or art to a university, it would be professionally evaluated and you would get a charitable donation tax receipt. I believe the rule is that it has to be professionally evaluated, and so it would not be worth it for a thrift store to try doing that. The US has lots of different tax things going on — e.g. mortgage interest is tax deductible; they are allowed to just claim a big standard deduction on their income tax without providing receipts OR they can choose to provide receipts and deduct item by item whereas in Canada, anything above the personal amount has to be supported by receipts; and for donations, I gather that they get to just list out what they donated and there is a standard deduction amount for each thing.

    ——————–

    I was just thinking about this thread and thinking about something an aunt of mine often says. She has gone through some tough times in her life — abusive marriage, starting from scratch in a new province with two kids, both of whom were kind of wild, death of a child. She says that sometimes you just have to draw a line and move forward. By that she means you just let go of the things in the past that are hurting you. And I think that is how I have to approach this value issue. I have spent a LOT of money foolishly (not just on clutter — I’ve made MANY bad financial decisions as well), but I have to draw a line NOW. No more regret about it or wondering how I can get back my 5 cents on the dollar. Maybe even pretend that I just got this house as is, because really, if it had just been dumped on me, I wouldn’t have nearly as hard a time getting rid of stuff. No more worrying about a garage sale, which kind of paralyses me with the question of where to store the stuff, and should I price it before I store it and then how and where would I get it to a garage sale. NO MORE. I have limited time and energy, and in about 3 months, we’ll have a new baby. Super great and all that, but here’s what I keep thinking — the public health nurse will do a home visit (she does for everyone who has a child in our area) — and I don’t want her to see my house like this! Isn’t it sad that that is one of my biggest concerns right now? Oh well, at least it is strong motivation to tackle some areas that I have been ignoring pretty much since my last child was born!

  • #169518
    Avatar of Jacquie
    Jacquie
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    Here in the UK we don’t get any tax breaks for donating stuff to charity shops. If you donate money, the charity can collect tax back on it, so long as the donator is a UK tax payer, but it’s all altruistic giving; no financial incentive at all.

    I am too lazy to bother listing stuff on eBay, but if I think something might have been good enough to list, I’d rather give it to someone who might be able to use it than to throw it into landfill.

    Basically though, once I have decided to part with something, I want it gone asap so I can enjoy the space it was filling.

  • #169519
    Avatar of Jacquie
    Jacquie
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    Margaret said “Maybe even pretend that I just got this house as is, because really, if it had just been dumped on me, I wouldn’t have nearly as hard a time getting rid of stuff.”

    That is brilliant. Distance myself and pretend it’s not *my* stuff at all. I’m just the person invited in to clear the house. Thank you.

  • #169660
    Avatar of
    Anonymous

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    lqdlight said: I tell myself “not to pay for it twice.”

    Margaret said: pretend that I just got this house as is…I wouldn’t have nearly as hard a time getting rid of stuff.

    I like both of these ideas, thanks!

    I ended up asking two friends with tight budgets who occassionally sell things how they determine it’s worth their time. During that discussion, one friend became interested in my bookcase, which was the item of greatest resale “value” and I gave it to her (free). That leaves me with only a few items I would sell for $10 or so… which lessens my attachment tremendously and they’ll go into the donation pile now instead (yay!).

    Also, I found out there’s a new music store (or at least a new location) that buys CD’s and DVD’s and I’m going to give them a try before revisiting the idea of selling my DVD’s on Ebay. I’d be surprised if they offered less money than Half Price Books, so it’s worth a shot so I can get these things out of the house faster.

    I don’t know that I’m cured from the pull of Value, but for the time being I think I’ve passed this patch. I think where Value ‘gets you’ is the things we haven’t used, the things we thought we needed or had great ideas or hopes invested in that lay fallow. I’ve stopped purchasing so many things; I don’t know that I have the same attachment to new stuff because much of it was bought with planning and purpose. The value is the use I’m getting out of it now, and when it’s not useful anymore, then hopefully it’ll be easy to release.

  • #170071
    Avatar of margaret
    margaret
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    Money is really tight right now (e.g. July was supposed to be really busy, but my husband only worked 4 days — he’s a tradesman, so he works when there is work). August hasn’t been much better. So now that I’ve finally started to get rid of things instead of hanging on and trying to dream up ways to earn a quarter or a buck off of them, we are at a point in our lives where our finances are the tightest they have ever been and we are teetering on financial disaster. How frustrating.

    HOWEVER, I give myself PERMISSION to continue to get rid of things. First of all, if worst came to worst and we had to declare bankruptcy, we would actually have much better cash flow, because our current minimum payments on unsecured debt are more than twice what we would be required to pay under bankruptcy. That is, if we were bankrupt, our non-mortgage debt payments would be cut in half. But even besides that, I am going to save a bunch of money if I ever get my house organized. I just threw away a whole bunch of sample sized and expired medicines. If I had been better organized, we would have used those up and overall purchased less of them. Likewise things like toothbrushes and lotions — I know I have lots and lots of things stashed from when I bought them on sale, but because I can’t find them when I need them, I end up having to buy more. Some things will eventually be used, but some things expire or get destroyed because the package gets open or lost or spilled or something because I have no place to store those things right now.

    I’m also hoping that my health/weight, finances and home will all improve together. Certainly, they’ve all gone to the pits in lockstep with one another.

  • #170073
    Avatar of alikat
    alikat
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    I’m struggling with that. Especially when I find stashes of stuff I bought when I was in the mood to try something new. Or trying to convince myself that if I just find the right thing I’ll be crafty and have more of a hobby than reading and WoW.

    But honestly, I just need to accept I’m not that type of person.

    I’m having a garage sale but it won’t really recoup the cost. And I finally decided the piece of mind I’ll have for getting rid of all this stuff is more valuable than recouping any money.

  • #170076
    Avatar of
    Anonymous

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    Cousin? Evil twin, more like. Something I really struggle with. I have a $500 PDA that is so outdated it’s practically a brick but when I try to get rid of it those dollar signs rear their ugly heads.

    I keep reminding myself that freedom from clutter and room to move is worth more than that object!

  • #170078
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    alikat….i am not a crafty/hobby person either.
    i gave up feeling bad about it a long time ago.
    i like making different things from scratch and that is about the craftiest thing i do.
    the one time i picked up a hobby….soapmaking….i turned it into a company that employs my husband and me fulltime.
    so i’m a bit scared of hobbies now.

  • #170090
    Avatar of SunshineR
    SunshineR
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    margaret: take care. You sound worried.

  • #170093
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    margaret….things will improve as long as you keep chipping away at them.
    you are moving forward, and doing things differently now, and thinking about things differently now, and eventually it will all accumulate into a better picture overall.
    hang in there.

  • #170099
    Avatar of margaret
    margaret
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    I am worried, but I think the best thing I can do about it is to clean up the hosue, because I know at least some of my buying (or even just going to town to the store) is an escape from my messy home, and some of it is my packrat/don’t want to run out of anything because we are far from any stores instincts. If the house was nicer, it would be nicer to be here. Also, I would know what we have and not buy so many duplicates. This month I am going to really try to use up a lot of food items and NOT buy things just because they are on sale. If we don’t need it NOW, I can wait until they are on sale again. Also, I actually love to bake, but I don’t that often. Why not? Because it’s a mess in the kitchen and there’s no rooom to work. I don’t like to cook, but at least it would be less awful if the kitchen was cleaned up and taking a pot out didn’t mean 5 lids and two frying pans falling on the floor.

    I do get a little thrill every time I put something else into the donation bag. If I recall correctly from the one and only time I participated in a garage sale, every time I sold something, I felt a little twinge of remorse because of the waste of money. So this is good. AND because the summer was so slow, if my husband gets a job, he isn’t going to take time off for hunting. I feel kind of bad for him, because that is his favourite thing BUT he usually gets at least one thing that he wants mounted which is EXPENSIVE and we already have 5 dead things on the walls with 3 more downstairs and an ELK (do you have any idea how big an elk mount is???) at the taxidermist right now. Honestly, there are museums of natural history that do not have as many deer mounts as are sitting in my house right now.

  • #170100
    Avatar of
    Anonymous

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    Hang in there, Margaret. Elk mounts… omg! Still, a large dramatic piece looks better than a load of fiddly things, no?

    Maybe if you focus on the kitchen for a while and make room so you can enjoy baking, that will help? Homebaked treats instead of expensive bought ones?

    It sounds like you’re really working to stay positive and keep going.

  • #170102
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    Margaret, it sounds like you’re doing really well, and I really think the uncluttering and less shopping are two parts of the same thing – not only does knowing where stuff is let you buy less, realizing what a pain things are to have/get rid of leads to a kind of proactive decluttering – because you buy less.

    Some things that I’ve seen work for the shopping side are to schedule other activities instead – one thing a friend and I used to do was have a 2 or four hour decluttering date. We’d take turns being moral support for each other cleaning/decluttering, usually an hour at her house and then an hour at my house. These days, we have a biweekly stuff dropoff-thrift store shop-pizza date with both our kids along.

    Or if you think you’re not just filling time, but covering a feeling, maybe make a list of things you’ll do to cope when you get that feeling, so you have something to reference. A friend of mine who was working on getting out of debt had a little list she taped to the credit card itself – it was like, 1) take a walk 2) ask for a hug 3) read comics on the internet. After she did that for a few months, that was the habit instead of the shopping.

  • #170414
    Avatar of LJ
    LJ
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    If you want to sell stuff that has “value”, I say go for it. Rules are the same as any other “uncluttering” activity: 1) Separate the items from your keeps. 2) Put a date on the boxes by which you donate the items if they don’t sell. 3) Follow through.

    My rather embarrassing story is that I did step one and wound up with 2 plastic bins full of stuff to sell — including ridiculously stupid items like a remote controlled dog training collar that I never used and a pair of cycling shoes. Nothing really big. But then I lugged that stuff around through 3 moves. When now-Hubby moved in, it had to go, so I did step 2. The shocking part is that I made enough money off the ridiculously stupid stuff to pay for our wedding and put a down payment on a new car. And I still had to do step 3, and take what was left over to charity. Made me wish I’d followed through A LOT sooner.

    Once you try selling, you’ll find out quickly how much “value” certain items have, which will then make it easier to get rid of items. For example, I won’t try to sell anything worth less than $20 just because it’s not worth my time or the hassle. Those things go straight to charity.

    New rule in our house – never pay (much) more than what I can get if I sell something.

    And media is just worthless. Don’t hang onto books and DVDs because you think you might get a few bucks for them. You won’t. Donate what you don’t want to Hospice, nursing home, library, etc., and stop buying anything like that. The library is your friend!

  • #170430
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    margaret, best wishes. I don’t know if you have proposed, to one of your friends or family, a “pitch in and pitch it out” day? Surely someone close to you, who knows what you’re going through and cares about you, will come and keep you company, and keep you on track, and help make things fun while you devote a day (or weekend) to getting your home ready for your new baby.

    Re: value. My theory is that if I have used an item regularly and now don’t use it anymore, it has paid its way and I shouldn’t expect to get residual value out of it. If I bought something on a whim because I was bored or anxious or otherwise emotionally out of sorts, its value was purely as therapy – and it doesn’t owe me anything else. If I have an item that I have used only once or twice because it’s just not right for me, it has no value at all. No matter WHAT I paid for it!

    We all feel a little shamed, I think, when we’ve spent money on things we don’t want any more. We feel that spent = wasted if we’re not keeping something.

    But ultimately peace of mind, and peace in the home, are so much more valuable than trying to wring a small financial return out of an object.

  • #170435
    Avatar of margaret
    margaret
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    chacha1 — I can’t really see anyone I know wanting to come and clean the house with me. And it is not just cluttered, it is an actual mess, so I would be VERY embarrassed. Plus it is more than just a weekend job. Plus my family used to come and clean up for my dad maybe once every year or two (I totally have his housekeeping skills), and they just threw things out and put stuff wherever they wanted without consulting him at all. I think I am too much of a control freak to let them do it for me. I suspect if they found a size 4 left shoe, they would just toss it, and then later when the other size 4 right shoe showed up under a bed, they would toss that. I’m going to have 3 more kids going through size 4 shoes, so I would not be happy about that. Also, my mom offered several months ago to start coming one day a week to work on the house with me (although I said that if she would just take the kids one afternoon a week, I could probably get loads done myself), but nothing came of that. I think ultimately, if someone else did it, I would be highly anxious and freaked out about anything that got tossed, whereas I find that when I get rid of things myself, I LOVE the feeling, and I am just getting more and more excited about what is going out the door.

    I think that for me, the thrill of actually getting rid of things is totally going to trump or overwhelm the feelings I have (starting to be “used to have”) of wanting to sell/recoup the costs of my stuff. It is enough if I just learn my lesson not to buy more things that seem like a good idea at the time but then never get used.

  • #170438
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    hi again margaret, I am sorry you don’t have anyone you feel comfortable bringing in to help. But if you are starting to get a kick out of it, you’ll be fine. It will just take longer.

    just a suggestion – I also read Get Rich Slowly and I think you would find some of the articles there very useful in getting your head around your financial situation. As you’ve realized, the psychologies of cluttering/overspending are very similar. Taking this opportunity to attack both issues could be a real breakthrough for you.

    librarygal: “I think where Value ‘gets you’ is the things we haven’t used, the things we thought we needed or had great ideas or hopes invested in that lay fallow.” Beautifully put.

  • #170442
    Avatar of juliarose
    juliarose
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    I was just going through this same thing! I had books, DVD’s, CD’s, and games that I was sure I could sell. Here’s what I did:
    1) List them on Amazon
    2) Held a yard sale
    3) Take what didn’t sell at the yard sale to a pawn shop.
    4) Take whatever was left to Goodwill.

    These exact steps may not work for you. The important point is to define exactly how much effort you want to put in to selling your stuff, and make a deadline.

    I posted things on Amazon for about a month and a half. The yard sale was hosted by my apartment manager. Once I saw the flier I decided that was my deadline for selling what I could on Amazon. Anything that didn’t sell went to the yardsale.

    I was at the yard sale (on a Saturday) when one of my sisters made a comment about having to haul stuff back up the stairs to my apartment. I decided then that nothing would go back into my apartment. What didn’t sell sat in my truck overnight. The next day I visited some family (it was my mom’s birthday). They were thrilled to go through my stuff and take what they wanted.

    After that I went to a pawn shop. They took most of my CD’s and DVD’s (paid about 10 cents each).

    Everything else went to Goodwill. And I feel FANTASTIC after getting rid of so much stuff. I gave myself a fair chance to make as much money as I could, so there’s no regret about giving away as much as I did.

  • #170444
    Avatar of margaret
    margaret
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    chacha1 — yep, I’m into the financial blogs too. Actually, if I spent less time on the computer, I’d be getting a lot more done in the house!

  • #171056
    Avatar of margaret
    margaret
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    I’m giving myself a pat on the back here. I’ve gotten rid of a few pots and other things, and I was hit with the “I should sell those” feelings again. I was seriously thinking about packing some of the stuff into boxes and finding a place to store them in the basement until the big consignment auction next spring. Well, my basement looks like a hoarders show because it was already a mess, plus I’ve been putting things down there while I get the upstairs cleaned up, and realistically, if I start saving boxes of stuff for an auction, I’m not going to be able to find them when I need to take them, not to mention it will hamper the eventual sorting out that I have to do down there. So I talked myself out of it! Everything stayed in the donate bag! Woo hoo!

    For anyone struggling with the same feelings — I pretty much just reminded myself that first, even if I sell those items, they will only be worth a couple of bucks. A couple of bucks is a small price to pay for getting my space back. Also, it could very well cost more in fuel to haul them to the auction place than I would make. Finally, I will save far more money if I get the kitchen cleaned up and can start baking and cooking instead of buying fast food and convenience items than I would make at an auction or garage sale even if every single thing sold.

  • #171058
    Avatar of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    Good job Margaret! Plus you forgot you’ll have a baby to deal with by then and you won’t want to be dealing with auction stuff. :) I think you’re doing great with this decluttering – esp with little kids and pg besides.

  • #171162

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    Margaret, just wondering- it seems like your kitchen is causing you stress. I don’t know how big your kitchen is, but would it be possible to get a big box and put things in there so that you have your kitchen counters cleared off? The mess would still exist, but you would have a clean surface in the kitchen to work on, and maybe it would be easier to go through the stuff in the box if it was all in one place. I have been dealing with my kitchen for awhile now, and have mostly been taking it a little at a time, using the “thing a day” approach. It feels so great when I get a shelf cleared off.

    I recently got rid of about 10 bottles of mostly hard alcohol. They accumulated because I was going to learn to make mixed drinks. I made a martini once, took one sip, and dumped the rest out- it was terrible. Anyway, that was my little adventure in mixed drinks. Lesson learned: I don’t like hard alcohol. Anyway, I had no idea what I was going to do with that stuff. It’s not like you can take an open bottle of vodka to the Goodwill. And the whole value thing…I coudn’t just dump it out. Anyway, I ended up asking a friend who likes to have parties if she wanted it, and she was thrilled to come and haul it away. So now I have just a little more room in my kitchen cupboards.

  • #171164
    Avatar of susique
    susique
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    went to a small town celebration this weekend with vendors selling great hand made items for the home. saw a snake made out of wire and rocks that really appealed to me-natural and would have looked great in my cactus garden. cost $60. was actually able to just walk away from it without feeling deprived because started remembering all the items we have given to charity due not needing. saved $60!!

  • #171166
    Avatar of margaret
    margaret
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    My house causes me stress because I am a very messy person, so my kids have learned to be very messy people, and my husband says that he is not messy BUT as far as I can tell, he is only tidy if EVERYTHING ELSE is tidy – it never crosses his mind that maybe he should help GET THINGS TIDY. Also I have too much stuff. Anyway, I usually do the stash and dash, and I have boxes from almost three years ago that I still haven’t gone through. I am working on my kitchen right now, but it seems very slow. Usually I only get it actually cleaned up if there is a birthday party coming up. Since I don’t have that panicky 2 day away deadline, I seem to be getting just one counter or area cleaned up every day, and even at that, some things are still getting stuck in a box for later either to decide what to do with it or to find it a permanent home when things are cleared out more. I would sound the same no matter which room I was dealing with. Still, my plan is to have the entire upstairs presentable within the next two months (no more piles of boxes up here, reasonably clean, company paperwork up to date even if I don’t have everything filed), and then I will begin to tackle the disaster that is my basement. I think that once I have the habit of doing a little bit every day, it will carry over well into the basement part. Plus by then, I expect I will be much more ruthless about culling things, which will also help in dealing with all the boxes and piles.

  • #171189
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    margaret, you can totally do this.
    small things, done persistently, have an incredible cumulative effect.
    you are on the right track.
    it doesn’t matter where you started or where you are right now.
    what matters is where you are heading.

  • #172373
    Avatar of margaret
    margaret
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    I just had a kind of a-ha moment today. I get caught up with SOME things about how I should sell them etc to recoup some value. However, there is a lot of stuff that gets ruined because I have left it out, not taken care of it, etc (e.g. strawberries that didn’t get put in the fridge and went moldy, markers that go dry because no one puts the lids on and by the time I find them, it’s too late, wet anything that did not get into the laundry fast enough and ended up moldy or mildewed). Anyway, I was tossing out a couple of things that were spoiled or not worth the effort to clean, and I thought, gee, I have no problem getting rid of this stuff that HAD LOST ITS VALUE because of my messy house and habits, so why get so hung up on donating things that have RETAINED some value but which get in the way of cleaning up my messy house.

  • #172393
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    aren’t epiphanies the best? one can read others’ experiences, and look at and ponder her own situation, then BAM everything makes sense somehow. Love it, Margaret!

    and Bandicoot, how inspiring:
    “small things, done persistently, have an incredible cumulative effect”

  • #172432
    Avatar of ElFish1
    ElFish1
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    When I need to be brutal about getting rid of things I call in my secret weapon — my best friend. She talks me through the anxiety of indecision. I can hand her something that’s too tough for me to get rid of and she will make it disappear. (I’ve done the same for her.)

    Most of our uncluttering efforts are trashed or donated to Goodwill, but we’ve been known to have the occasional garage sale. Our last one was this past weekend. We started at 6 a.m. and were sold out by 11 a.m. My experience with garage sales is that you have to price items insanely cheap or they’re not going to move. A shiny new item still in the original package MIGHT get 25% of what you paid for it. Most things we priced at 1/10th to 1/20th of what we paid for them originally. It was a great deal of work, but fifteen boxes of clutter are gone from my home. I made $200, but the bulk of that was from selling big items — an adult trike, an upholstered chair, and three sets of china from the 50s.

    If you’re facing overwhelming amounts of clutter, you need to see progress, and quickly. Start by throwing away the worst and sending better things to a charity. Put the “valuable” items aside until the end, but don’t let them take over your life. Sometimes it’s just better to consider the money you spent on that stuff a stupid tax, and learn from it.

  • #172436
    Avatar of
    Anonymous

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    Ha. ElFish1, I use the term stupid tax too. And you’re lucky to have a friend like that. I feel like all my family & friends are acolytes of Justin Case, Sentimental and Value and they’d talk me into keeping things instead of helping purge.

  • #172443
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    LOVE that expression–stupid tax!

    my BFF–since we were 10–is a big purger. So it has been part of our shared history to hang out at each other’s houses and go through closets brutally etc. Even as adults, usually we would do a declutter on our own, then for the things undecided, have the other swing by for tea and critique. And sometimes when we were just cleaning we would have the other over to follow around and chat for company. Both of us are on-going unclutterers forever, pretty much.

    Now we live very far apart but that is what cameras and photo attachments are for. So I will take photos of myself with a timer and tripod in clothes, for example, and she will yay or nay them via email. Same with stuff. If I am in a but-will-I-need-this-ever? mode she is the first to say nope! toss!, and, on the very odd occasion, “keep”.

  • #172444

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    djk – What a great idea! My bff also leaves really far away from me and we also used to declutter together. I love the picture email idea!

  • #172447
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    oooh do it! it is a moment’s work to set up a tripod and hit the timer button and pose!

  • #172451
    Avatar of ElFish1
    ElFish1
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    librarygal, my best friend and I started out being clutterers and have learned the joys of uncluttering together. Maybe you could plant the seed with a friend or family member. Watching one of those hoarding shows ought to get them on board!

  • #172455
    Avatar of
    Anonymous

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    @ElFish1
    I wish. Maybe in time. I have a couple of friends who talk very excitedly about decluttering, but when discussing their clutter (as defined by them), or if I tell them what I’m purging, they go on and on about how they can’t get rid of such and such, or how I should’t get rid of such and such because what if I need it someday? Etc. I have offered a million times to help one friend in particular (either help her make decisions or just hangout and keep her on task), but she never takes me up on it.

    So I have friends who are interested in decluttering, but for now it’s the idea more than the reality to them. I figure the best thing for me to do is keep uncluttering by myself, keep up the dialogue, and be a resource for them when they’re ready.

    It would be nice to have a declutter buddy now though. But that’s what you guys are, right?! :)

  • #172460
    Avatar of SunshineR
    SunshineR
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    @librarygal: I hear you.

  • #172482
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    yes indeed, you guys are my declutter buddies.

  • #172489
    Avatar of margaret
    margaret
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    ElFish1 — A stupid tax is EXACTLY what it is. I wish I didn’t have to keep paying it all the time, though!!!

  • #172500
    Avatar of ElFish1
    ElFish1
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    @librarygal, I feel your pain! I hope they get with the plan. I guess this is one time you’ll have to lead by example. And you can always tell US what you’re decluttering.

  • #172501
    Avatar of ElFish1
    ElFish1
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    Margaret, I know how you feel. I do find that before I buy something now I have to visualize not just bringing it into my house, but where it’s going to live once it’s inside. That’s stopped me from buying several things lately.

  • #172555
    Avatar of SunshineR
    SunshineR
    Member

    Sentimental's Cousin: Value

    Yes, thinking about where I will put something, and will I still like it in the future has stopped me from buying things at festivals, craft shows, etc.

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