The more I ditch, the more I realize this is not just about a book here, an old scarf there. I would honestly like to be rid of more than half the things I own!
It's not only that it feels like clutter; it doesn't even feel like me -- not the present-day me anyway. I would not choose to purchase (or save) any of these possessions now but they're also very hard to part with. I don't (like to) think these items are keeping me anchored in the past, but who knows: two decades-worth of old journals, a box of old letters, another of old photos. Am I going to drag these things with me for the rest of my life?
If, say, they were lost in a fire, how devastated would I be? Or would I feel relieved?
Then there are those items that I could sell. The donate vs. sell conflict is a big one for me. On the one hand, it would feel like a wonderful gift to myself not to have to invest the time and effort to photograph, list on eBay, box, and ship all the things I'd like to be rid of (even Craigslist can be a hassle and it's not a great place to sell small items like, say, sunglasses) -- but do I deserve it?
On the other hand, who wouldn't like a little extra cash for items there's clearly a market for?
|I'm looking at you, Patti Playpal!|
I found some interesting websites discussing these very issues (the comments tend to be more interesting than the articles themselves, so check them out too), here and here. I'm not the only one dealing with the clutter conundrum.
We live in a culture that is obsessed with the cash value of things: think Antiques Roadshow and Storage Wars. Auction sites like eBay allow us to check what people are willing to pay for almost anything we own and then to sell it ourselves; we no longer have to resort to garage sales or consignment shops. Even old books can be sold on Amazon (Michael did this just this week, ka-ching).
Decluttering raises a lot of interesting questions about one's relationship to both stuff and money, as well as to time. It can force you to examine beliefs you may have inherited from parents -- if your parents were raised during the Great Depression, they may have experienced privation firsthand and passed down a fear of not enough-ness that doesn't reflect your life today. On the other hand, fear of a sudden loss in the value of your national currency might cause you to hoard things -- and who's to say that might not be a good idea?
Today, I had to make a decision about that blue plush peacoat (modeled up top and below) I found last year at the Salvation Army for, like $5.99, and which Cathy wore last winter in her pink hair photoshoot.
I thought about listing it on eBay -- it's vintage, it clean, it's cute. But instead I brought it back to the Salvation Army. It just seems like too much trouble to sell clothes online, unless it's like, an original Courrèges.
Meanwhile, I dumped a few more things today: a big bag of fabric, more books, clean cotton underwear with too much Spandex to be comfortable. (Since I've started sewing boxers, I feel like I'm suffocating in stretch cotton briefs.)
In closing, readers, when you declutter/downsize/simplify, how do you decide what gets donated and what gets sold?
Do you ever feel pressure -- or give pressure -- to sell something for money rather than just give it away?
Could you -- and this is a big issue for me -- forgive yourself if you later regretted the choice you'd made to give away something if, at some future time, you might need the money?
So much to think about. Maybe over a glass of wine.
Have a great day, everybody!