I’ve got stuff. Lots of it. Too much to be quite honest. An embarrassment of riches. A 3,500 square foot home that is filled with things: books, DVDs, furniture, clothing, china, electronics, cookware, artwork, knickknacks and dare I admit, a whole lot more. Our attic is host to fifteen boxes of Christmas decorations, three fall/Thanksgiving boxes, two Easter boxes, bicycles (yes plural), a baby cradle and…I’ve forgotten what else…but I’m sure there’s more.
We have a two car garage that can barely fit one car amid the tools, bicycles (yup, there are bicycles in the garage and the attic), garden supplies, boating paraphernalia, a commercial freezer and an old, still working refrigerator stocked with wine, water and sodas. Oh, and we have a 5’ x 10’ outdoor shed.
No, this is not a blog about hoarding. There are no mountains of papers, discarded packaging, or piles of clothing to crawl over. No tiny path between stacked boxes and trash bags. Things in my house are all neatly in their place. We cook in our kitchen, eat at our tables and sleep in out beds. We entertain.
Nor is this a blog on organization, how to declutter, save money, or live frugally. Those are all good things that will come into play, but they are not my focus.
Rethink. Reuse. Recycle. Resell.
This is a blog about living off a house of plenty. Saying, “enough is enough,” and putting an end to continuously collecting more. It’s a blog about rethinking my purchasing habits. Finding uses for things I haven’t touched in years. Recycling things that provide neither interest or joy. Reselling the stuff that no longer has meaning and using the money to fund activities that do–visits with children and grandchildren, vacations, yoga retreats.
I’m thinking of it much like a reverse mortgage. I’m going to back my way out of the stuff and into savings, cash and freedom.
I’m going to read the hundred or so unread books in my collection or pass them on to someone who will. I’m going to watch those never viewed DVDs…wear all the clothes in my closet or admit to the world that I can’t fit in them…put pictures in the pictureless picture frames I have coming out the wazoo. I’m going to admit myself into rehab if I even think about buying another piece of milk glass. I’m going to use the food in my pantry and freezers (yes, that’s freezers plural) because there really are starving people in the world.
I need to blow the dust off my Waterford and either smell some flowers or sell some vases. I need to accept the fact that just because my mother loved something doesn’t mean I have to love it or even keep it. Nobody needs four sets of china. Nobody needs more than two woks.
I know I’m not alone. A friend recently moved to a smaller home and was shocked and appalled by all she had accumulated. “Mountains and mountains of stuff most of which hadn’t seen the light of day in years.” So much stuff she had to hire someone to help her sort through it and determine what to keep, sell and move.
According to the LA Times, the average household in America has over 300,000 items. Think of it this way; if you could sell even a third of your stuff at $1 a piece, you’d have $100,000. Plus you’d have savings from not buying more things. You wouldn’t need offsite storage. Could save on energy by parking in the garage. Might be able to happily downsize your living quarters. And on it goes.
I’m all in and I invite you to join me on the journey. Together we’ll learn how to clean out and clean up. How to let things go. How to make the most of what we keep and how to make the most from what we sell.
I’ll keep you posted on money made and savings tallied. I’ll tell you what worked and what went bust. I’ll share lessons learned and mistakes made along the way, and I hope you’ll do the same.