Here’s the timeline on how I got rid of my stuff. It served as a cathartic exercise and virtual memory box for me to see how I progressed, but who knows, maybe you’ll get inspired too.
•Sometime in 2008• I had several trophies and plaques. I remember the pride and and excitement I felt when I received my first one for winning an essay contest in 3rd or 4th grade…I slept with that thing. And then I had a bunch of trophies from little league baseball…perhaps 8 or so. Also had stuff from high school choir, band and show choir, so much junk. I took photos of all my trophies and plaques and then trashed them. Did you know it’s very difficult to find anyone that takes trophies for recycling or reuse? I tried. Crazy. I don’t miss them.
•June 2008• Garage sale: Amongst all the regular garage sale junk we had, I sold 8-10 antique cameras that I had been ‘collecting.’
•November 2008• I took Matchbox, Hot Wheels and other assorted car toys to Toys for Tots. All the items I gave to the charity were brand new because I left them in the blister packs. Estimated items gone: 20.
•December 2008• I gave 4-5 polo shirts, a windbreaker and a winter coat to a co-worker. All were embroidered with my workplace logo and I rarely wore them so they were better suited for someone who would use them.
•December 2008• I donated an overcoat, 2 windbreakers and several other outerwear items I can’t recall to Burlington Coat Factory’s coat drive that benefited a local men’s mission.
•June 2009• This time at the annual garage sale I sold some old Gulf Oil Company road maps that I had ‘collected.’ I’m sure I lost money on that deal…but I never should had bought them in the first place.
•July 2009• I donated 4 books about geocaching, a leather bag to hold geocaching gear, a geocaching card game and 3 other items to a silent auction at a geocaching event.
•Sometime in 2009• sold large collection of comic books for $200, decided against collecting state quarters and cashed in coin collection and state quarters. Sold a few books and donated a bunch of others to charity.
•December 2009• Goodwill dropoff: 10 handkerchiefs (I never use white handkerchiefs, owning them was a habit I got from my dad), 4 pr dress socks, 3 pr shorts, 1 pr basketball shoes (never used), 22 Tshirts, 18 shirts, 1 sweatshirt, 4 prs pants, 5 prs jeans with holes (they recycle the fibers), 3 Jackets, 2 pairs sleep pants, 2 pr gaiters, 1pr mittens, 3 boxes of Halloween decor
•December 2009• archived geocaches so that I didn’t use valuable time and gasoline running all over the place maintaining them, fixing them, refilling them.
•January 2010• Took first load of stuff to an eBay retailer. Donated 2 old pup tents and a hand cranked clothes washer to ISOH Impact for shipment to Haiti (right after the earthquake.) Also tossed a few various football memorabilia items (cans, chip bag)
•January 2010• organized attic, established what would be sold, tossed some things (another old chip bag) recycled some game programs that wouldn’t be important to anyone, decided all those Beckett Baseball (and Football) Card Monthly price guides from the late 80′s and early 90′s really weren’t going to valuable and recycled the lot (felt liberating) and moved a few important things into memento box that will be whittled down later.
•January 2010• mailed 8 vintage postcards to a collector in Toledo that co-wrote a book on the history of Toledo using postcards. He has arrangements for the collection to be permanently housed somewhere so they are in the right hands.
•January 2010• Made kids clean out stuff from their rooms. Most of it was no longer age appropriate, lots of books that were waaay below their reading level plus some toys that were broken and some toys they no longer wanted to play with. I got rid of some coffee mugs (I use the same 1 or 2 each day), various junk and I got rid of my first piece of sentimental clutter: a mug and stuffed Tigger that had “Tiggerific Dad” on it. (I took a picture first tho)
3 books given to a friend that would really appreciate them.
Rcvd $125 from eBay sales, Dropped off more stuff for eBay
•June 2010• Received an additional $69 from eBay and dropped off some more junk. Someday I’ll list what I sold on eBay, I have the paperwork from the reseller.
•June 2010• I started my foray into the wonderful world of Craigslist. I listed a beat up canoe, a compost tumbler and a picnic table. I got a hit on the canoe within a couple hours. I had put $75 on it and had been truthful in the listing and the pictures but when he showed up he wanted to offer $50. When I looked at it, I too would have offered $50 so I took it. The compost tumbler sold to a guy whose wife wanted one, he made out like a bandit for $50. Don’t get me wrong the tumbler was worth $50, it’s just that I saved him from having to buy a new one. Compost tumblers are like treadmills, they seem like great ideas when you buy one and then it sits there. The picnic table I listed as free. We had a nice one and this was a wooden one with a couple boards that needed replacing. It was gone within 2 days.
•September 2010• I had a large collection of sports cards. LARGE as in at least 15,000+ cards. There were baseball, football, basketball, golf, auto racing and who knows what else in there. This was stuff I had started collecting back in the mid 1970′s when I was a kid. There were complete sets, some larger amounts from a year, smaller amounts from another year and everything in between. What I wanted to do at one point was separate everything out, list it online, sell it to dealers, and ultimately try to recoup some of the hundreds of dollars I had spent over the course of my lifetime on these pieces of cardboard. It was a daunting task but I felt sure I could do it. I hauled every last box out of the attic and started to look at them. I consulted online resources to try to get a grasp on what kind of prices I might expect to sell these valuable cards for. Was I in for a disappointment. The 70′s stuff from when I was a kid wasn’t in perfect condition, heck I was a kid. The early 80′s stuff was pretty okay, but not mint. The 90′s stuff was where I was real careful and preserved them perfectly. Trouble was, that was the same damn time period that EVERYONE started to preserve their cards AND the same damn time that the companies, eager for the almighty dollar, made tons and tons of these cards. So, they aren’t worth crap. They are not rare at all. All these collectors all over the country have all these cards that are in perfect condition, just like the other 100′s of thousands of cards that are in perfect condition. Ultimately what I did was print off a price guide, snag the 30 or so cards from the boxes that are worth between $5-75 and then plopped the rest of the boxes in my car and dropped them off at Goodwill on my way to work one day. Boy did that feel great! I still have cards I need to sell, but at least I know I can get some real money for them and they take up a fraction of the space the entire mess did. Again, I don’t miss those cards one bit, just like I don’t miss any of the other stuff either.
For 2011 I wrote about my decluttering on a (mostly) weekly basis. To read those posts look in the category Simplify 2011.