Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Epic Pare-Down, Update 1 (Because You Know You Care)

It feels somewhat dishonest to post possessions I've come to think of as stupid and annoying and cluttering to Craigslist or eBay or foist them off on friends. Here, I say, this is sucking peace out of my life, but I'm sure you'll love it!

But not dishonest enough that I won't do it. Things I've sold:
  • 62 tiny super-strong neodymium magnets
  • some plates that weren't even mine to begin with (continuing the streak of selling off things prior residents left in the apartment, which began with a bed, a rolling hanging rack, a computer chair...after I sold all that stuff I had a net profit on my move!)
  • some ridiculously kitschy wooden German Christmas ornaments (which, as it turned out, I should have asked for at least twice what I did as they sold on eBay in a mere eight hours and then someone else messaged me to ask if I had anymore lurking anywhere because that was such a great deal)
  • a pair of 5-pound dumbbells (way too light)
  • a pair of 15-pound dumbbells (slightly too heavy; also I always had the fear lurking in my mind that I would run into them in the dark or when not paying attention and break my toes)
  • a set of 10 Delft-looking dresser knobs from like eight years ago when I had a blue-and-white room
  • six books
  • 10-ish DVDs
  • one CD
  • one Wii game (No, I don't own a Wii. You can see why I would want to get rid of this. To be fair, I did live in the same house as a Wii until August.)
  • a black pencil skirt (too big, tags still attached *sigh*)
  • a dress that I got (tags still attached) several years ago from a friend who was moving, never ended up wearing, and sold today with the tags still attached
I've also donated 110 items of clothing and 69 other items to Big Brother, Big Sister, who kindly will come pick up donations from your porch. I have several boxes of other stuff waiting for their next pass through my neighborhood or for some other as yet undetermined fate. I've thrown away 209 items (that I remembered to count; I'm sure there are others I forgot). I've passed along five items to friends.

What I've learned thus far: eBay and Craigslist are entirely unpredictable. Nobody will buy my toaster, but those dresser knobs got snapped up immediately. I can't seem to get rid of two nice pairs of slacks with the tags still on them, but a half-used stash of ridiculously strong magnets? Gone in the blink of an eye. I still can't get over those stupid ornaments selling that quickly. Obviously I shouldn't have doubted that people would value those as much as I did when I bought them, but how can you tell that in advance? People should value these pants for as much as I paid for them! (And yes, I seem to have a problem with buying things and then losing weight or deciding I don't like them after the return deadline. I'll work on that.)

So far I've made $92 selling stuff ($150 minus shipping costs and eBay posting fees). Not a lot, but better than the nothing I would have got if I'd just chucked them in with the boxes and boxes of donations. But it is a pain. Take pictures of everything, upload pictures to computer, make listing, upload pictures to site, meet people to hand off things, go to the post office every two or three days to mail something...repeat, repeat, repeat.

I've also acquired 15 new items in the past few weeks. Ugh, I know. But how am I supposed to keep running if I don't have anything weather-appropriate or even really properly running-appropriate? And how am I supposed to make pie or lasagna without a rolling pin or a Pyrex? (At least those were basically free thanks to a gift certificate I got in the mail when I moved in!)

I think the thing I am perhaps most proud of thus far was going through my big box o' computer stuff. Cables to peripherals I probably don't still own, installation CDs for stupid crappy programs that came with the laptop I got in college and which died two or three years ago (and which I'm pretty sure I never even installed the first time), an entire spindle of blank CDs that I'm never going to use and had forgotten I even had, another spindle full of stuff from backing up my computer in an emergency while I was studying abroad, a bunch of music CDs I never use since I don't drive anymore... It took two full evenings, but I went through everything, making sure I had all the files on my computer that I did on those backup CDs, making sure all the CDs were ripped to my computer, and then backing all that up on my external hard drive (which has until now been backed up haphazardly and/or through the Windows wizard; I was not at all convinced that everything I might actually need had actually made it over in an easily accessible format). Now I just need to find a VHS player and get it and my brother in the same room so he can digitize my band videos, and I'll be set.

The thing that sucks the most? Scanning all my documents. Am I really ever going to need pay stubs from my high school job? No, of course not. But someday am I going to want to know how many hours I worked or what my wages were or how much I made? Yes, because I am that kind of person. I want to know how much money I tithed or donated to church when I was a minor (the encouragement of which, by the way, I think is pretty reprehensible) so I can attempt to counteract it now (or at least counterbalance); since I kept my old checkbook registers I can actually extrapolate from those two or three years. I want to know when I read 1984 for the first time, so having my reading lists from middle and high school (the times I actually kept up with them) is useful. But obviously I don't need to drown in the physical forms of these things; having them on my computer is actually more useful as I'll then actually know I have them and find them rather than not even knowing what papers I have stuck in random file folders or boxes or whatever. But it's quite the pain to scan page after page after page of stuff. I'm pretty sure that even I won't actually want to refer to the vast majority of this stuff ever again, but at least by digitizing it I can override my "But I might need it someday!" tendencies with what passes for rational arguments ("Look, it's here; you can still access it."). A slightly clogged hard drive is much less problematic in the grand scheme of things than piles and piles and piles of useless papers.

But hey, that's 429 items I've gotten rid of! Progress is indeed being made, even if it's slow and tortuous and likely not to actually end at my goal. (I think I'm going to have to recalibrate the way I counted things, too, for proper fairness. I realized I hadn't counted the couple dozen books and movies I had already posted to in my possessions because they were already slated to be gotten rid of, but I think that's being unnecessarily harsh on myself, especially as whatever I haven't sold by the end of the year I'm planning just to donate or otherwise get rid of, so it's included in the process. Also, it's obviously unfair to myself to have counted the entire contents of my file box as one item when it's obviously there's a much finer gradient than that. If I get rid of three quarters of my papers, I'd like for that to actually count in some way!)

1 comment:

  1. Great reading your experience. My wife and I have been on a similar venture since August. We are down over 800 things, have about $900 in our pocket, and are enjoying freedom from things.