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Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: wurm
Date: August 18, 2013 09:23PM
I'm starting to think that the greatest gift we could give our children is not to leave them with a bunch of our crap to have to deal with. We accumulate so much over the years and probably rarely use half of it. The problem is, it still has some value (just not to us).

This came to light in particular this weekend when I visited several local consignment shops in hopes of placing some decent pieces of furniture there to sell. These belonged to my late mother-in-law. The furniture is quality stuff, but it's just taking up space. Problem is, none of the consignment shops wants the stuff. In their defense, it's because they don't think they can sell it. And even if they could, it would probably cost me more to have it moved there that it would return after the shop's cut.

Anyway, it got me to thinking that I'm going to try to start getting rid of stuff I no longer need or want or use. One suggestion I found is to imagine that (God forbid) there were a fire in your home that destroyed everything. What would you replace? I guess that's a good start, but it's easier said than done.

How do you deal with the junk you've accumulated that you no longer use? Salvation Army? Freecycle? Craigslist?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/18/2013 09:25PM by wurm.
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: Speedy
Date: August 18, 2013 09:34PM
Garage sale.

Free stuff Monday.

Goodwill.

Salvation Army.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: davemchine
Date: August 18, 2013 09:41PM
I've spent the last year slimming down possession. You probably couldn't tell by looking around though! I've sold a few things on craigslist and to friends. I've also given away a lot of things.

My own thought process is, "what do I want to take with me when I retire?" Of course some things stay because I still have a large house and a family. But I know what I want and what I don't want.



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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: mattkime
Date: August 18, 2013 09:44PM
Could you talk to my parents?

(one of the benefits of living in nyc is that its difficult to accumulate stuff)



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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: dmann
Date: August 18, 2013 09:50PM
Oddly enough, my family has had better luck with "estate sales" (NOT garage sales) than trying to give away quality items. A friend of the family did this for a living so she coordinated everything, but we were able to sell some good pieces that were difficult to give away.That said, Salvation Army in my area will come pick up furniture. So will a few independent charity driven thrift stores.

After the tornadoes in OK and Hurricane Sandy, I remember seeing many organizations looking for good home furnishings for those trying to rebuild their homes and their lives. Same thing happening in areas affected by wildfires out west. Trucking companies were donating their services to transport goods across the country. There might be some sort of similar relief effort in your area.

In general, I am not a saver. I live in a 2 BR 2 BA condo so space is limited. No basement, no attic, no garage. I have 2 small end tables that were my grandmother's and 4 funky club style chairs that were my great-grandmothers. All were restored and refinished and all are in my living room being used as functional furnishings. My couch and other pieces were chosen to complement those few heirloom pieces. Those are the only "big" sentimental things I have and I would be very sad if anything happened to them. Other than that, "stuff" does not last long around here. smiling smiley

DM



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/18/2013 09:58PM by dmann.
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: August 18, 2013 09:52PM
I've heard it said that we spend the first half of our lives collecting stuff and the second half getting rid of it.



It is what it is.
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: August 18, 2013 09:53PM
Very close to your situation here. I think the real reason that my mom did not want to move into a smaller place was that she heard stories about how much work it was to move out of some place that a borderline hoarder lived for 52 years. I found a consignment furniture shop to take about a third of it. Gave away 12 banker boxes of books to the library, recycled 14, took 2 for myself, 7 to go to a consignment ebay book seller. I burned out a fairly new shredder, then took five banker boxes to a professional shredding company, have about 7 more to go. 20 loads of laundry (about a third of the total) to the thrift store that she use to work at, and they said 'please, no more clothes, but we will take the kitchen gadgets though.'

The kitchen cabinets were amazing. I found two boxes of 'new freeze dried process' drink mixes labeled Xmas 1969 and some cans and jars of food that were almost that old. I saved some photos if you are interested. barf smiley



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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: clay
Date: August 18, 2013 09:56PM
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
The kitchen cabinets were amazing. I found two boxes of 'new freeze dried process' drink mixes labeled Xmas 1969 and some cans and jars of food that were almost that old. I saved some photos if you are interested. barf smiley

that would be fun to see if you can easily post the pics...
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: Speedy
Date: August 18, 2013 09:58PM
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
I found two boxes of 'new freeze dried process' drink mixes labeled Xmas 1969 and some cans and jars of food that were almost that old. I saved some photos if you are interested. barf smiley

Don't you have Paul F.'s address?



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: wurm
Date: August 18, 2013 10:09PM
My three brothers and I arranged for an estate sale after my dad passed in '04. That worked out really well. I half-jokingly commented that it's too bad they can’t do estate sales while you're still alive. Turns out they can. Unfortunately, it still takes a lot of time to go though what you do and don't want to keep. Still, if it were just me in the house, I might strongly consider it. I don't think my wife would go for it.
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: pRICE cUBE
Date: August 18, 2013 10:12PM
Have a huge garage sale and set a specific amount of hours. Then discount like crazy as you run down on time and donate the rest.



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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: August 18, 2013 10:13PM
We *should* have done an estate sale right away after my inlaws passed. We waited too long. And spent 6 years and 15 (so far) LARGE dumpsters removing just junk from a house where an inveterate dumpster diver lived for 45 years. We've been working at reducing the junk in our house ever since.

We just donate or scrap (or free Monday !)
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: testcase
Date: August 18, 2013 10:16PM
Mom mom did some MAJOR cleaning / thinning out a few years before she died. Anyone in the family who wanted any of the cast offs were free to take them as long as THEY came and got them. That made things MUCH simpler after she passed away.

I started my own major purge back in May. With help from family and friends, I filled a 10 yard dumpster and then a 20 yard dumpster! Yard sales put hundreds of dollars back in my pocket. I'm on the road now but, when I get home in the fall, I WILL keep thinning out my hoard. Ideally, I'd like to be able to move off Long Island and out of NY before April, 2014. I just have to figure out WHERE I want to set up "home base" for my RV adventure treks.
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: August 18, 2013 10:16PM
same here, and, in fact, I believe that I have written the exact same sentiment in posts on this subject.

I tend to believe that the desire to accumulate is a problem that goes waaaaay back in our DNA and it's not just wanting the next greatest thing. Or three of them. It is exacerbated, of course, by being told we need not only a home PC, but a laptop, a smartphone, a tablet, etc. Pop culture has always been like this but it seems to be worse now than at any other time. And, of course, I am a serial collector of various things over the years, like comics, when I was young and now audio speakers now that I'm older (and have an attic). But, it all comes down to not letting it take over your life, and if it doesn't then your kids are just going to call 1-800-GET-JUNK and all your hard-won collecting is going away.. :-)



Mischievous and Deceitful
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: bruceko
Date: August 18, 2013 10:54PM
After My mother in law had to move out of her house due to poor health it took 8 months to clean out the house.
A basement full of stuff and 8 years of paper work to sort out.
We have been slimming down our stuff for the last 3 years but we still have to much stuff. With our inlaws there were no other children so instead of all the heirlooms being disbursed to all the younger generations it all ended up with my wife and I.
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: Speedy
Date: August 18, 2013 11:02PM
I have a bad habit of just retiring my old electronics to a large closet. Not because I'm attached to it but because when first taken out of service I keep it as backup. Unfortunately it just stays in the closet and gets buried by the next generation of retired stuff. That and the fact that it is not legal to throw the stuff in the trash. I did get rid of a lot of junk when Best Buy held a recycle event. It was a 140 mile round trip but getting rid of a station wagon full of old displays and PPC's made it worth the drive, saving me hundreds of $$ in recycle fees.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: digby
Date: August 18, 2013 11:05PM
I played a trick similar to the "If everything burned up, what would I replace?"

My version was "What would I take on a long trip/sabbatical?"

I recently went on an (urban) adventure for a few weeks with just a small backpack, and got along fine with minimal clothes, some art supplies and a stack of paperbacks. And it got me thinking...

What if I pack up the really important stuff for a trip, and then mercilessly attack what's left and cart it all to Goodwill? Hmm, I wonder if I'd have to get someone who's not emotionally attached to My Stuff to throw it out? I know I'd take forever, dithering over whether "I might just need that widget someday"...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/18/2013 11:08PM by digby.
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: August 18, 2013 11:20PM
[www.youtube.com]



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Chicanerous and Deplorable



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/18/2013 11:21PM by mrbigstuff.
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: billb
Date: August 19, 2013 03:01AM
My father died in 2004 and I'm still throwing his accumulations away.



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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: Octave Doctor
Date: August 19, 2013 03:34AM
The retired professor I used to help out died a few months back, leaving a three story house full of stuff. I feel sorry for his son who's going to have to go through it all, especially the memorabilia.

I've been paring things down slowly, hopefully by the time I'm 87, things will be manageable.
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: eustacetilley
Date: August 19, 2013 05:08AM
I think that the questions to ask are: "If a 787 crashed into my house, and it all burned, what would I miss most?" and "Oh, about that insurance..."

I have a lot to think about; my house, a kind of hermitage, is full of bits of furniture that relatives and friends just couldn't let go of, and I'm an easy touch on storage. On occasion, they come back to retrieve something. (I'll talk about what is in the garage elsewhere.) My gallivanting parents left behind a most curious assortment, much has no value whatsoever, except now in my memories.
I've had the occasional garage sale. It always seems that I end up with _more_ stuff by the end.

My answers to the posed questions are easy: the Upright Grand that I can't play, but still looks just magnificent, my ship's chart table that does multiple duty for dining, as an optical bench, and as a platform for rebuilding old engines and also for occasional napping, and my Eames chair. It's taken three decades to make that chair fit me just right.

My electronics collection can be replaced, although replacing the Rabco ST4 will be difficult. Computers? Let them burn; I still have the memories. (Stored elsewhere.) All the books and LP's? Ebay will make quite a profit on the insurance proceeds.

In fact, I could make quite a cozy little pad from the ruins, with only that chart table large enough to sleep on, the now comfy scorched Eames chair, and that piano, that I _still_ couldn't play. I would still need to put out a little something for a Mac and Internet access. I'm not the total hermit.
As for the insurance proceeds of all that unintentional relief from possessions... A Swan, something in the 65 foot range. With an all girl, astonishingly compliant, crew. A Swan big enough for a chair, a piano, and just the right ship's table.

Oh, where is that errant 787 when you need one...


Eustace
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: yeoman
Date: August 19, 2013 06:37AM
Hurricane Ivan did it for me. House and everything in it gone, leaving just a concrete slab and some rebar. Started afresh with minimalist decor. Funny to hear visitors ask "where's your stuff" and we say "this is it". Sad at times but very liberating too.
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: August 19, 2013 07:09AM
I'm beginning to dread Labor Day weekend, as all the kids will be here, and adding a nagging chorus to my wife's solo wheedling about cleaning out my office, and the basement, and the attic, and the misnamed Guest Room (the guests are piles of cartons of my and family memorabilia). I know, I know, I protest. First I've got to go through the files, to make room. . .

I'm an inveterate pack rat, the sort who would take apart a non-functioning electric heater and save the components in tins. You never know when something might come in handy. It's quite gratifying when something does—much to the dismay of the wife, who rolls her eyes to the ceiling and trills, "Reinforcement!"

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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: wurm
Date: August 19, 2013 08:45AM
When I started this thread, Carlin's "more stuff" bit immediately came to mind.

I'm seriously considering a yard sale, but it's a lot of damn work when you think about it. We did it once about15 years ago and made a couple of hundred dollars as I recall. Did it again about 8 years ago and barely made a hundred. Proved not to be worth the time and effort. Still had to make a couple of trips to the dump.

Maybe I can hire someone to run a yard sale for me! I'd happily take a smaller percentage of the take and let them keep the bulk. I'd help by pointing out the items to keep or sell. They could mark everything with price tags, and set it all up. I'd even be willing to stay and help on the day of the sale or get lost if they'd prefer.

Come to think of it, that's pretty much what an estate sale is. Any takers? I'm in MA. wink smiley

P.S. I guess I could start in the attic and toss all those boxes I keep when I buy something "in case I have to return it" or because "things are worth more with the original box". Then there are all those floppy discs......
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: MikeF
Date: August 19, 2013 10:26AM
This weekend we put out on our lawn (we're on a corner) various shelf units (6 different ones), old Admiral brand console record player/radio, two chairs, old clothes hamper, cast metal headboard, picture frame with glass, old wooden tv type stand, a 2-drawer file cabinet, and an old fashioned standing lamp (with cracked glass shade). Taped "Free" signs on everything. Posted on Craigslist. Everything gone within 2 hours.

Stuff we should have gotten rid of 10 years ago (various parent's and kid's leftover remnants we had been "keeping")...
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: iaJim
Date: August 19, 2013 11:17AM
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Too Much Stuff- Delbert McClinton
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Re: Too much (useless to me) stuff.
Posted by: wurm
Date: August 19, 2013 08:46PM
Okay, forget what I said about having a yard sale. [www.yardsalequeen.com]

Reminds me of the first yard sale we had. A lady picked up a ceramic coffee mug that we had priced at .05. The lady comes up to my wife and says "will you take .02?" To which my wife replies "What? It's a nickel, for God's sake!" Needless to say, she doesn’t like the idea of having another one.
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