Thursday, May 12, 2011


As I’m going through my collection of “Stuff” I am finding lots of things I do not need or want anymore. Some things I might wish to keep but I know I will never use and there is a limit to how many dust collectors one should have.

That got me thinking – how hard is it to set up an online store and really use it? Is it worth the effort? The answer is both yes and no. The old adage that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure is true. And there are many tales of people making their fortunes online by selling things they find at tag sales. This is great and I’m very happy for them.

But running any sort of business – online or offline – is a lot of work. If you aren’t selling a service then you have to have physical inventory. Physical inventory means space to store it in until it gets sold and then, in the case of an online store, packaging it up and shipping it out.

In my case, where I am trying to de-clutter and get rid of things, this is just not a viable option at present because one never knows how long the items will sit in the closet, basement or garage.

Now I am very fortunate in that I have several friends who already sell on eBay and one of them has offered to sell anything I wish to get rid of for me thereby making my life much easier. As far as the money split is concerned I am very pragmatic. I figure all I have to do is get the stuff together. My friend has to schlepp it home, package it up and ship it out. So I proposed a 50-50 split plus he gets to keep the shipping/handling fees.

You may ask me why I went so high on the split. It’s simple. In theory I could do this all myself and keep 100 percent of the money. But I have too much to do on a day to day basis. That means the “Stuff” would stay in the house taking up space – possibly until I move on to other realms. “Stuff” is also an anchor and can prevent one from doing other things. It is worth 50 percent to get it out of my house. Besides – 50 percent of what something sells for now is 50 percent more than I would have if I did not sell it.

So – what am I selling? Well – I have posters that will go for a little bit of money. And, if you’ve ever thrown pennies in a jar you know how quickly they can add up. I also have a couple of Apple Lisa computers which actually are bringing in quite a few bucks on eBay. Then there is my HO railroad set. I’ve had the set for years. I even purchased additional railroad cars thinking I’d have the time to use my Dremel ® tool on them to distress and age the boxcars. The dream was to build a large diorama in the basement that I could run the trains on. Well – it is a nice dream. But I’ve realized that at my age and with everything I would like to do during the rest of my life that the chance of this happening is miniscule. So that will be getting sold.

I used to do leatherwork as a hobby. Hiding somewhere in the basement are the old stamping tools. Again – realistically I am not going to get back into that hobby. So – it’s time to get rid of those items as well.

Having a background in photography I probably will hang on to my antique camera collection a bit longer. That’s just overly sentimental. But I have to think on that as well.

Books are another story. I had a teacher back in elementary school that used to say that “books are your best friends. They won’t betray you, they can challenge you and they will make you think.” So getting rid of books has always been difficult for me. Luckily our local libraries have annual book sales which they use as fundraisers. So, again I am being harsh and if a book is literally a dust catcher that I will never look at again, or if it is a truly outdated reference or teaching book, I am putting it together for the libraries.

There probably is a lot of other “Stuff” as well and, as I clear out the closets and basement, I will find it and move it on out.

I have come across some children’s games and toys that I had purchased over the years as potential gifts for nieces, nephews and children of friends of mine. Guess what? Some kids are getting Chanukah/Christmas/Kwanza in May/June! I’m finding the stuff and getting rid of it.

Recently where I live a few people have been burned out of their homes. They are looking for some of life’s essentials to replace what they’ve lost and as I find items that will be of use I’m passing them on to the organizations that are collecting for them. That means extra pots and pans and other necessities of life.

Shoes that I can no longer wear due to my diabetes are going to charity. Hopefully someone will be able to use them. The same holds true with clothing.

The travel soaps that one accumulates on trips (and there are some that Mom has kept squirreled away that go back to when my Dad was still alive!) are being collected in a big bag and going up to the Women’s and Children’s Shelter in Pittsfield. I’ve done that ever since I traveled on business. Bring it up and drop it off. Unlike a lot of other people I’m not looking for a tax donation write off – I just want it to go to a good use.

The thing is that this is very cathartic. It gives me a good feeling to see the “Stuff” go to a new home where it will be appreciated. Additionally, as I see space open up I am feeling a sense of freedom that I have not had in years!

Of course the hard part takes place afterwards. What is that you ask? Well simple – as nature abhors a vacuum, packrats have a subconscious need to fill open space and create a “womb-like” environment. Once all this “Stuff” is gone, the internal battle to not fill the open spaces up again will begin. However this time I believe I will win. I hope I will!

What about you? Do you have an overabundance of “Stuff?” If so, are you content to just keep it or will you be doing something about it? Share your thoughts and progress below.


  1. I've given a lot of books to local library book sales. When I had children's books I sold some of them on a homeschooling board on a site called Vegsource (this was a number of years ago.) But, I always end up going to more library book sales. I have an overabundance of stuff. You may have given me some ideas (and inspiration).
    Hope you are enjoying the Blogathon.

  2. Ah yes, the eternal dilemma of stuff and what to do with it- how to redistribute it. It is good that there are places which need the stuff and to which they can be donated- or sold- but as you ended by saying...does this really solve the dilemma...because afterwards the hard part does happen.

  3. Library sales are wonderful places to give books as they help raise much needed funds. Other places to consider are local public schools for children's books, hospitals and local food co-ops. One thing I forgot to mention was that our local dump has a "Center For Good Stuff" where people can bring things they don't want and leave them there. They can also get stuff they might need. It is a goods exchange run by volunteers. In the beginning there was an issue with people coming and cherry picking stuff to sell on (what else?) eBay. Now those people have been banned and it is truly a communal effort. There is also FreeCycle and Craigslist. Thanks to both of you for your feedback.