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Downsizing 101: A word about cost

Here's the thing: all this stuff that I'm getting rid of? It cost money. Sometimes it was my money, and sometimes it was other people's money, but pretty much all of it cost something. Except for the kids' art projects from school, but hey, I pay property taxes to cover public schools, so I suppose they cost something, too. At least indirectly.


Some things cost a lot of money. Things like fine china, for instance. Or pieces of furniture. Or some artwork that I purchased at arts festivals.

And some of the things are probably worth some money. Again, like the fine china and furniture, some of which came to me free, but definitely have a dollar value.

It can be hard to let those sorts of things go, because there's a little voice inside your head nattering away about how expensive they were in the first place, or how you could probably sell them and make some money (which would be a good thing, no?) And sometimes, there are actual voices from outside your head, saying things like "You're going to get rid of X? But that cost a lot of money!"

Yes. Yes it did. But it no longer works for me. Or maybe I don't really like it anymore. Or maybe (as is the case with the china), it has a negative association with a past relationship, and I really need to feng shui it out of here. The thing is, just because it was expensive once upon a time shouldn't mean that I'm saddled with it for all eternity. If it's no longer a blessing, it becomes something like a curse, and curses are made to be broken.

And so it is that I have decided that it's best to make modest inquiries amongst relatives (for family pieces) and local friends (for some other stuff), and then to send all the stuff off to whichever charity is getting my "stuff" for the week, cost or value be damned. Because hey - those pieces will fetch the charities a nice price, and I won't have to deal with "shopping" them around, and somewhere, someone will get a bargain.

I consider it good karma, and good feng shui, and it feels like weight loss or a benediction when the stuff finally gets out of the house, which is how I know this is the right decision for me. I figured I'd share this particular part of the downsizing process because I know for a fact from discussions with others that this can be a hot-button issue for some people, and that many others default to "I should keep it because it cost a lot" without actually thinking about whether they like it or want it anymore.

It may not be the right solution for others, but I figured I'd let you know what I'm doing about this particular issue. (And yeah - there are days when I have to remind myself to take a deep breath and pack those boxes, etc., because "hey, it's a lot of money". But I've been relieved so far when each box is closed up, so it's the right decision for me. Your mileage may vary.)

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Pam Coughlan
Jul. 25th, 2013 01:43 pm (UTC)
Yet another area with which I struggle - especially in trying to find the 'perfect' place for these things to go. I found a box of older books that I thought might be worth something sold on ebay/amazon and when I looked them up, they might be worth $5 each here and there, but do I want to deal with this? No. I'm bringing them to my library for their book sale and calling it. Oh, but it's hard.

I've been enjoying your process, even if I'm traveling at a snail's pace behind you. Keep up the good work!
Jul. 30th, 2013 10:32 pm (UTC)
I once bought an entire set of Mark Twain at a library sale for similar reasons, and then found out it wasn't worth my time and the packing and mailing to sell them. So I donated them back to the library. Go figure.
Jul. 25th, 2013 02:56 pm (UTC)
As long as I got some use out of them at the time, I was able to get rid of most of those things guilt-free. And if I didn't use them, then why keep them in my smaller place?

Have you tried to sell them at a used-goods type store? We found a store that deals with antiques, near-antiques, and high-end things. We sold a lot of the good stuff (fine china, crystal, silverware, etc.) and got enough to fund a vacation.

Edited at 2013-07-25 02:58 pm (UTC)
Jul. 30th, 2013 10:34 pm (UTC)
I'm going to have a look at a few local antiques places for some of the pieces I'm getting rid of (the china, a gorgeous soup tureen, etc.), but if it's not easy, I'm not doing it. Still, it's a GREAT idea, Barb!
Jul. 25th, 2013 09:49 pm (UTC)
I didn't really have a problem like that, but finding places for discards to go is definitely a problem. I like your solutions. :)
Jul. 30th, 2013 10:35 pm (UTC)
There are lots of places willing to take used stuff. Although as I found out last week, the Big Brothers/Big Sisters didn't take framed art. Not sure why, but they left them on the porch. Along with a box of tchotchkes.

Edited at 2013-07-30 10:35 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 30th, 2013 10:36 pm (UTC)
We don't often look at the "cost of keeping things" angle. They can be actual, financial costs, if there's so much that you need a storage unit, or to keep a larger house than you'd like, but they can be psychic, emotional costs as well.
Jul. 26th, 2013 12:01 pm (UTC)
Hi Kelly- Stewart here
A good topic for the last few years of my life, and the last few days specifically.
Just yesterday in fact, I brought a van load of "stuff" down from mom& dad's storage locker - this stuff isn't even everything and yet it is apparently boiled down as far as my dad thinks it can go.

it is daunting - perceived value, importance, preciousness, memory, possession, and just hanging on to things - some of which are now almost 200 years old and from our family makes me the bad guy, or the guy who is going to burden my son? either way, the outcome ain't pretty.

hugs and love,
Jul. 30th, 2013 10:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Hi Kelly- Stewart here
Oh, Stewart. I really feel for you - especially since I have at least some idea what you're up against, since both of your parents were hoarders collectors. And your dad was the last of his line down several aunts, as I recall, so you must have a metric shit-ton of stuff to handle!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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