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A place for Get Rich Slowly readers to ask questions
and exchange ideas
It is currently Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:32 pm




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 Post subject: I just have too much stuff, can't seem to get rid of it!
PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 1:28 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 12:53 pm
Posts: 3
New here, been reading the blog for several months now and I am really getting some good things out of it.

A couple of my favorite entries here are:
http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2007/ ... l-not-use/
http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2008/ ... -of-stuff/

I am posting because I have simply too much stuff and I need some advice. I have been trying to rid my life of clutter and junk for many years and I am running into some road blocks.

I used to be a rather serious die-cast car collector. Hot Wheels, Matchbox, you name it. I am young at heart so it was fun. I spent a lot of money on them over the years and then one day, I simply realized how crazy it was to spend not only my money but my time on them. It was enjoyable but when it became a near obsession, it became no fun. It was time to lighten my life! I started selling them on eBay and started making some of my money back. I was doing pretty good at first and it was great when the big ticket, high value items sold but now I am down to the ones that are worth a buck or two at best. I cannot seem to find the time to list them.

I also had some other items that were easily identifiable as clutter but had a decent value to them, so on ebay they want. It was going well until the items of decent were gone and just like the die-cast cars, I have a lot of stuff that are worth something, but not much.

This also presented another problem...

Since I also discovered that eBay was a good place to make money on stuff I didn't want or need, I also found myself having a hard time throwing anything away that I know will fetch a few bucks. Miscellaneous items, small collectibles, odds and ends. Not things that are junk yet nothing that is tremendously valuable, but things that I wouldn't feel right about throwing away. I'd also pick up stuff thinking that I could sell it for a few extra dollars. Freebie promo items, things that someone was tossing that was still worth something, etc.

But again, I don't have the time to list them on eBay and go through the procedure. So it keeps accumulating. Not at a rapid pace, but in my quest to lighten my life, I have discovered that I am taking in more things, chasing that resale dollar.

I am stuck! I cannot throw things away because there is a potential dollar value attached to it. But, I cannot sell them because the important things in life (job, family) is getting in the way.

Some things have value...and some don't. Here's some things that I look at and say "Why can't I throw this away?"
    Magazines...lots of them. Popular Mechanics, Maxim, Wired, and lots of car magazines. Any reason I should keep them?
    Old computer software
    Outdated books like Consumer Reports Buying Guides
    Lots of automobile memorabilia (brochures, posters, flyers, promo items)
    Newspapers from important sporting events

Does anyone have thoughts or advice?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 4:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:46 am
Posts: 176
Do you itemize deductions? If you do, you can donate the items to a charity resale shop and claim a tax deduction for its fair market value. (I believe any single item over $250 has to be appraised.) This is far easier than trying to sell the stuff--the charity may even pick it all up--and may get you as much as or more than an eBay sale when you account for fees.

As for the other stuff, throw it out. There is no market for out-of-date electronics magazines, obsolete software, or old Consumer Reports guides.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:35 pm 
Greenewashed wrote:
Do you itemize deductions? If you do, you can donate the items to a charity resale shop and claim a tax deduction for its fair market value. (I believe any single item over $250 has to be appraised.) This is far easier than trying to sell the stuff--the charity may even pick it all up--and may get you as much as or more than an eBay sale when you account for fees.

As for the other stuff, throw it out. There is no market for out-of-date electronics magazines, obsolete software, or old Consumer Reports guides.


I also feel as the same mentioned above.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:10 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:50 am
Posts: 6
With the cars: I'd bundle them ans sell them as a lot. If they don't sell after one or two rounds, they clearly DON'T have much value, and you can donate them to charity with no worries.

Pitch the magazines, though!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 3:13 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:58 am
Posts: 8
Oh do I feel your pain...or at least I felt your pain at one time. What I discovered, and this is so simple it seems like a moot point, but what the heck...

Holding on to things one no longer needs is tantamount to hoarding, and deprives others who might really need the things.

So what I did was take a look at the things I no longer need and divide them into two, and only two, groups. Things I love, and things I don't love. And then I took a good look at the things I don't love, and if there isn't a sentimental attachment, I redistribute it. I use Freecycle, Cheapcycle, my company's intranet bulletin board, and the curb to find new ownership. I haven't tried Ebay or Craigslist yet.

Best wishes for a "lighter" future!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:56 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 12:06 pm
Posts: 36
Location: Richmond, VA
I have an entire room full or junk at my house...I really need to go through them soon. I will try the 2 piles method, it seems like it will work for me!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:18 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:14 am
Posts: 1
Before you throw anything out, I would like to suggest using Freecycle.org. If you are willing and wanting to dispose of your "junk" at no cost this is a great way to recycle your goods. I also have had luck with Craigslist but things may take a bit of time to sell. I would suggest eBay but I have not had much luck lately and they do charge a fee whether your goods sell or not.

Good luck simplifying your belongings!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 5:29 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 12:53 pm
Posts: 3
Thanks for the excellent advice everyone! Keep it coming!

After I made this thread, I started throwing things away that had no value to anyone. I also found a guy on Craigslist who sells things on eBay for a small fee, so I met up with him with some small value things to get started. I hope he is trustworthy, but if he isn't...well...I won't miss what I gave him too much as they were those questionable. If I feel I can trust him with more items in the future, I will definitely have him sell more.

I will donate some items, toss the old buyer's guides and magazines...

HEY! Speaking of magazines! I have a lot of Maxim, Stuff, etc. Does anyone know if there is an organization out there who will pick up the shipping tab to send them to our soldiers serving overseas? I think I head of something like that.

Thanks again!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:00 am 

Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 1:05 pm
Posts: 50
Location: KY
On shipping the magizines, there is actually restrictions on types of mags that can go overseas (also dependent on what country you send them to). You would most likely be better off finding organizations that put together care boxes and just donated the magizines to them. The number of organizations vary widely and many come and go, but you can easily google and find one.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:54 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:19 am
Posts: 49
Location: New Jersey
My suggestion would be craigslist. You could bundle the cars up, and sell them in bulk. Or perhaps, also using craigslist, you can have a garage sale over a weekend, and put together a general list of the items that will be sold. It's pretty cost effective and you may be able to sell a lot of your times in one shot. Good Luck!

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:03 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 2:35 pm
Posts: 140
Don't forget to take pictures of everything. I've found that a big part of my separation anxiety with objects is worrying about forgetting them. By taking photos, you won't forget about all those random little objects you no longer have use for. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 5:04 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 12:53 pm
Posts: 3
anomar wrote:
Don't forget to take pictures of everything. I've found that a big part of my separation anxiety with objects is worrying about forgetting them. By taking photos, you won't forget about all those random little objects you no longer have use for. :)


This is true! When I sold all of my valuable die-cast cars, I had to take pictures of them for eBay, and I learned that having a pictures of them and more money in my pocket was just as good (if not better) than having them packed away and having no money in my pocket.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 7:03 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:00 am
Posts: 17
Ah, I feel your pain, JDebler. I have a low threshold for most clutter, but I do have a weakness for books or magazines. I’ve managed to minimize the problem by checking them out of the library when possible. If the library doesn’t have an item, then I will buy it, but I now force myself to cull at least one item from my current shelf to compensate. I never re-read books, so this isn’t as hard for me as it might be for some. Professional journals can be a little trickier because I feel an obligation to read those for my job, but I’ve realized that almost any article I need can be looked up on the Internet. That simple fact has made it way easier for me to toss the ones I don't plan to read immediately.

Personally, I try not to get hung up on selling stuff because I know myself too well and I know that it would probably take me ages to get rid of it. I may be tossing away money, but honestly, when I look at a pile of clutter, I ask myself, “How much would I be willing to pay someone to make this go away?” Generally, my lazy, instant-self-gratifying self will respond with an amount between $10 - $20 depending on the size of the pile. If the pile is worth less than that (and it always is) then it has to go that day. Of course, this kind of brutal decision-making has to be balanced out by really making sure I need something before I bring it in the house.

I’m glad that someone mentioned Freecycle. It is amazing what you can get rid of on there – I’ve seen offers of left-over yarn and broken appliances get snapped up in minutes. I, myself, was able to get rid of a huge wall unit on Freecycle when I couldn’t get any of the charities to pick it up. I must’ve gotten fifty e-mails within 30 minutes of posting the offer.

You may already know this tip, but one thing that’s helped some people stay on top of clutter is to use a timer. Set it for fifteen minutes (they say you can do almost anything for fifteen minutes) and give yourself permission to stop guilt-free once the buzzer goes off. Most of the time, you’ll find that you’ve hit your stride by then and that you want to continue. I actually use this to get myself started on writing reports and other work-related stuff I don’t love.

Another tip I've learned is to periodically set a goal of throwing out a certain number of items. Pick up a shopping bag, set your timer, and start wandering around looking for stuff to toss. Concentrate on those spots where clutter tends to build. My hot spots are my desk and one corner of the kitchen counter. I can almost always find stuff to get rid of -- extra pens, rubber bands, old to-do lists. All very satisfying to trash!

And this may seem crazy, but I'll also occasionally watch shows on cleaning to get myself inspired. The following youtube posters have a great selection of shows on cleaning and hoarding.

http://www.youtube.com/user/RIPLeuchtenberg
http://www.youtube.com/user/OtherLives
http://www.youtube.com/user/easykeytolife

RIP has a lot of How Clean is Your House episodes which are fun to watch. If you're interested in a more serious look at hoarding and OCD, I would recommend OtherLives’ channel. Especially the documentaries Possessed (what a great description – it’s so true that clutter owns you and not the other way around) and Hoarders. Oh, and http://www.squalorsurvivors.com/ is also worth a look. Kimmy's picture show is especially shocking.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 2:01 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:08 am
Posts: 80
Location: Canada
i found that garage sales are good ways to get rid of the things that are not worth very much money. if you don't have enough stuff to make a good garage sale you can ask family/friends if they would like to pitch in too. [sometimes there are community yard sales where you can set up a table]. just make sure its well advertised, I advertised mine on kijiji and similar websites. you won't get rid of everything but you can make a fairly good dent in it.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 10:31 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:46 pm
Posts: 61
Location: Chicago, IL
Prisons are pretty hungry for any reading material, depending on where you are. There's even some not-for-profits that will transport them.


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