August 18, 2008

Liquidation of Stuff

Within the past year, our family relocated. We didn't move too far away, only 90 miles, but it was far enough that we had movers load our "stuff" and unload it. We filled a truck with "stuff". The movers told us that on average, people accumulate 1000 lbs. worth of stuff for every year they are together. Doing the math, that means we had approximately 18,000 lbs./ 9 tons of stuff.

Anyone who has ever moved, knows that the mountain of boxes never really diminishes, and I've learned to step around boxes of stuff. Every so often, over the past 6 months, I have gone crazy looking for something, "that I know I have somewhere", and gotten frustrated and gone and bought it, only to find it the following week. Specifically, my staple gun is one example.

In November, it will be a year since we boxed our stuff and moved it from one locale to the next. I still probably have over 20 boxes of stuff that I've managed to live without for nearly 10 months now. I have decided to have a garage sale. An "I have no idea why we moved this stuff" sale. I've got a mound of books, outgrown clothes, shoes that are uncomfortable, no longer stylish throw pillows, and a myriad of dishes and glassware. We also have soccer shoes that no longer fit, cookbooks that I bought for one recipe that wasn't so good after all, and piles of draperies that just weren't my taste when we moved into this new house. I'm not sure if I should thank them for leaving them behind. I don't think that will be necessary.

I thought I had done well. A few years back, we had a possible transfer that didn't take place and so I began to live like we were moving back then. I don't have very much baby stuff or toddler stuff. I cannot even imagine if I had that to liquidate as well. It's a well known fact that Little Tykes makes nothing little. I've tried to motivate the Mini Freshes to liquidate as well. I'm certain that their days of giant blocks and play dough have passed. They disagree. Though when I told them they could get MONEY instead of stuff, they suddenly found stuff to sell. They also discovered long forgotten toys, like a Spirograph that had been mine. That is NOT going, by the way.

I displayed a collection of vintage copper pots, pans, and the sort in my former kitchen. There is no place for it here. I spent hours scouring flea markets and estate sales to gather my collection, now it sits in a box in the basement, gathering spiderwebs and dust. The only way to display it would be to buy "more stuff" for the purpose of displaying "stuff". But will I lose the pleasure I spent seeking my finds, just because I no longer have the finds?

I'm debating whether to get rid of old VHS tapes and cassettes. I'll never part with my vinyl (I don't know why! Sentimental?) though I am considering selling my CDs. The hardest part is letting go of the amount that I have invested and just realize I no longer need to invest my hard earned space and freedom. Most any media is now available digitally, so it would inspire me to come into the millennium with technology. But would it even sell? Probably not. Maybe one CD here, one there. I wonder if it would be better to just sell the entire lot on Ebay. Take it all, and promise not to laugh when you discover every CD by Barry Manilow or the American Idol Season 4 CD.

I'm trying to liberate my self from stuff, but somehow, I just cannot completely let go. What are some things you absolutely "must have" and what would be easy for you to live without?


  1. I live by the rule "You are what you collect." I have no regrets about moving poems I wrote in high school to the West Coast and back. Some of my stuff has been cross-continent for two roundtrips.

    I won't sell books, even ones I've never read. CDs, especially huge lots, are nearly worthless on ebay because of shipping costs. Better to just sell them locally for a dollar, after you've ripped them to mp3. Why rip first? Because two weeks after you sell it, you'll want to hear it and if you don't have a copy, you'll consider buying it again.

    How about clothes you never wear? Posters you have no room to hang? I have a whole secret existence trapped in boxes in my basement. I could pack everything in my house and exchange places with my basement boxes and I'd be a completely different person- or exactly the same.

    Shed the junk, but don't become monastic. Personality is always better than sterile organization.

  2. The most important possessions I have are the memories I carry in my mind of people I have met, places I have been, and events I have witnessed or taken part. By choice I have a relatively small house with no basement and yet I can park both cars in my garage.

    I decided long ago that the accumulation of "stuff" would not be a priority in my life. Whenever I purchase something new, then something old has to go.

    Come to think of it, Fresh, that second pair of skis and new backpack I never used are just taking up space that I could use. Guess I'd better get with it.

  3. I have gotten better at liquidating things like clothes that I know I will never wear again. Except of course things with memories attached, old varsity football jersey, letter jacket and such. I love having a large CD collection which I burn new CDs based on various themes to listen to in the car.
    To change the subject slightly. While we seem to hold on to stuff, most of it useless, we continue to liquidate friends. This is usually done without thinking about it. We just don't seem to have time for many old friends as we move thru our everyday lifes. Sometimes distance adds to the problem but many times our old friends live close by.
    Sometimes we are the ones who seem to be getting liquadated by others. Then I guess all we can do is to move forward in our own life. Collecting new stuff and friends.


Thank you for joining the conversation! Your input is always valued.


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