Everything must go, eventually. In the meantime, let’s see how much can go this weekend. I’ve never had a garage sale, so I’ll try something similar: a carport sale. My finances are not fading as quickly as before, but that’s not good enough. Selling things I rarely use, or that are backed up by something else, can at least raise some cash to help hurdle another month’s bills. The challenge is that I am a minimalist. What do I have to sell?
Saturday, October 27th, 2012 I will have a carport sale. I spent a few hours this afternoon opening drawers, chasing away spiders, and reviewing everything I own to decide what to sell at this first event. Selling everything this first time was a goal, but I found that I’m not emotionally ready to go that far. But still, the couch can go, because I have a futon bed/sofa too. The fancy kitchenware can go because the cheap cast iron can cook almost all of the same meals. Spare electronics, duplicate garden tools, extra laundry racks, replacement bicycle parts, and some floor lamps are a good start. Totaled they cost thousands. If they all sell on Saturday I might get hundreds. That’s the nature of such sales. That’s also about the same as my health insurance premium.
I have an advantage sorting through my stuff. Decades ago I followed the nine-step personal finance program described in Your Money Or Your Life. One of the steps, (step 1?) includes inventorying everything I owned. Pick up every item, don’t just glance at it. Write it down. Remember what it cost. Guess how much I can sell it for. It took days. And then days again, because I’ve done it more than once. There are few surprises as I walk around the house.
One of the consequences of the inventory exercise was to be conscious of purchases. It made me much less likely to buy another one of – whatever. The minimalist in me liked that. I live in a small house (868 square feet) and have empty shelves. Storage has not been a problem. The spaciousness is appreciated. Temporary projects don’t have to clutter the middle of the room. They can be put away if necessary and are less likely to be forgotten.
It isn’t perfectly pristine. I just came across a bunch of candle making supplies (and subsequently made a candle), and found a bunch of packing material that would’ve been handy during the Open Studio Tour, but at least everything was within reach during today’s perusal. Now there’s a temporary cluster of clutter in the living room and in the carport as I collect the candidates. But that is temporary.
Many garage sales are getting rid of excess stuff. The American consumer economy fuels garage sales. I didn’t think I had any excess stuff, but now that I look around, I see things that haven’t been used and boxes that haven’t been opened in years. If you read yesterday’s post you know that I helped a friend who is moving into house that is less than one fourth the size of mine. Definitely an inspirational experience. The tiny house movement is gaining momentum. If they can get by with so little, what else can I get rid of?
The decision to sell has been emotional. As if this blog wasn’t public enough, a carport sale is an open admission that I haven’t been able to raise enough cash from my investments, my business, a job, or by selling my house. The act of reviewing my possessions has also been emotional in a good way. I’m glad to see that my life isn’t filled with clutter. I’m glad to see that I am able to take a positive step. I’m also tickled to realize that this may be one more way to get people to look at buying my house. (Home For Sale Alas). The Open Studio Tour brought in one visit. Maybe this will too. And it only takes one visit.
I feel that this sale represents the end of an era. Each item sold frees me a bit more to move onto a new life. Each item sold may also help someone else in some aspect of their life.
Another realization is that, except for the gifts and handmade artwork, almost everything can be replaced. Sur La Table continues to sell kitchenware. Radio Shack sells electronics. Home improvement stores sell almost everything else that I might sell. If my financial situation dramatically improves, I’ll be able to buy new and improved replacements.
Or not. I might find that I don’t need what I sold. If my house sells I might find myself living in something much smaller, maybe even a sailboat. Furniture won’t be useful then.
I’m taking this one step at a time. That’s one reason the New Road Map Nine Step program works. Take one step at a time. I’ll let a few things go, for an appropriate amount of course. Then I’ll see where I stand. Then I’ll take the next step. A lot can happen between each step. My portfolio can recover. My business may maintain and even gain momentum. (The consulting and speaking aspects are gratifying.) I might get a good job, one that I enjoy that pays me well too. My house might sell, or not.
Almost everything must go, and in life, eventually everything does go (until we get that immortality treatment perfected.) Things may go. And then we’ll see where I must go.
In the meantime, for those in the neighborhood, here’s a partial list of what’s for sale.
- Couch (I can always use my futon/sofa.)
- Brazier (Cast iron works good too.)
- Turkey Deep Fry Stock Pot (I never used it. It came with the propane burner I’m hanging on to.)
- Mini-Cuisinart (I’ve got bigger and smaller so the middle one goes.)
- Games (Scrabble, Robo Rally) (There are plenty of other games that are smaller.)
- Laundry Racks (Got a dryer.)
- Metal Bed Frame (Left in the attic by the previous owner.)
- Table Lamp (I don’t use it.)
- Floor Lamps (I use them but I’d prefer other ones.)
- Clock (I don’t use it.)
- Phone (It’s a spare.)
- Computer Speakers including woofer (That desktop PC went away.)
- Picture Frames (Old and dusty and don’t fit with the ones I use for my photos.)
- Bicycle Shop Stand (Very handy, but I’ve worked on my bicycle on the side of the road too.)
- Camping Hammock with rainfly (I exceed its weight limit.)
- Extendable Pruner (The covenants declare that I can’t have a tree over 14 feet tall.)
- Leaf Rake (Duplicate.)
- An assortment of cables, wires, light bulbs, (because they are inevitable)
and of course
- Stuff. (Because I am human.)