Sued51's Blog











{February 28, 2011}   Learning the Worthlessness of “Stuff” the Hard Way

My desire to simplify and clean out has coincided with my desire (and need) for extra money.  I would have thought this was serendipitous, but…NO.

Posting things on Craig’s List has only led to Spam or responses reading, “If you want someone to take it off your hands, I’ll take it for FREE.”  Selling on Ebay?  I don’t like paying a fee and a lot of the stuff I need or want to get rid of is too big to mail or ship, or just plain not worth it.  I’ve got shelves of stuff in the garage put aside for a yard sale that hasn’t happened; my husband wants me to prepare for it by pricing and organizing things, not just throwing them out in the driveway.  Yes, I’ll get around to that…

My father was a saver (the PC word for hoarder).  It paid off for him at one point in this life when he was unemployed and was able to sell his childhood comic books to support our family for a year, but that was a long time ago.  We’re discovering he also held onto a lot of things only because he thought they were useful: jars, boxes, etc.  I’m not surprised no one wants those things; they go off to recycling without a second thought. (We loved him too much to just toss them.)

Many of the memorabilia items he saved are worth a little (i.e., between $30-$50), but that isn’t much considering the time needed for researching, posting, monitoring, and shipping that would be required to hold an auction on Ebay, or the time that would be spent trying to find the right “niche audience” elsewhere.

Like my father, I have saved a lot of oddball things. What…no one wants my RC cola cans with baseball players on them? REM trading cards, anyone? Ok…I get that, but what about my beautiful wool cape that I splurged on 15 years ago?  I would still wear it, out of style or not, if it fit me, but unfortunately I will never be that small again.  That reminds me — I tried the consignment route before and ended up not bothering to pick up the clothes after they didn’t sell.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t an average size in my younger years (size 4 is small for most people), which is also a reason there were less buyers.  So, I’m learning about the law of supply and demand the hard way.

The psychological part is really hard; it’s difficult to get comfortable with money that I now see as “thrown away” on what I thought were quality items.  It’s also difficult to get past the same mentality my father had: it is still a useful item; we don’t need more in the landfills.  I don’t mind giving to someone I personally know who needs help, especially when I think they will actually use what I gave them, but I can’t give something away to a stranger on Craig’s list; I can’t get past the feeling that I’m being taken because they will figure out a way to sell it and make the money that I can’t.  Swaps are great, but again, there has to be a demand.

This is an eye-opening time in my life. In the end, I will continue to hold onto some things and donate others — at least I can get a tax credit — but these days I sure could use a small fraction of the money back and it is hard to recognize that was a pipe dream.

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