This past week has been an intense exercise in ‘stuff awareness’. I’m not quite sure I realized how much of a pack-rat I was or how much I owned until we needed to pack it up and move the boxes to my family’s house in New Jersey. It was then that we began a serious round two of the whittling-down process and are on our 14th or so bag of Salvation Army donations.
All of this stuff – some of it useless, others excess – was taking up precious space in our apartment. It felt like my stuff was almost owning me and should have paid rent for the amount of storage it required. Realizing how highly consumer-driven and materialistic our society is, the RV will definitely be an interesting experiment in relating to our “stuff”. And now for some words that – while not new in our circle of bloggers – have new meaning to me after this week:
- Don’t buy new items on auto-pilot. If you make the purchase of new items a few-and-far-between event, the purchase turns into a special occasion and the item will likely be more appreciated.
- Hit up FreeCycle and similar sites. The same goes for moving sales where you can get a great deal and help the hosts reduce clutter in their home. Jay and I furnished nearly all of our (old) apartment for free in this way. When you’re done with the items, pass on the good will by giving them away for free or sell them inexpensively.
- Beware plunging price tag items. Some items (like RVs!) lose a lot of their price tag or re-sale value the minute you step out of the store. One set of books that Jay had purchased new were re-sold at steep discount this past month. We’ve had experiences making money selling items and losing money selling items, but invariably the lost money comes from items bought new and the (small) profits come from items bought used.
And now for an oath to my closet: I’m offering up a promise to forego any clothing or shoe shopping for at least one year, barring a strange and unforeseen circumstance. I’m not much of a shopper anyway, but it’s still cathartic to reassure myself and my closet that there won’t be any incoming traffic for many moons to come.
posted by amybetho