The Value Of Our Stuff

Pick up any item in your home and ask yourself why you have it. That’s what we did. Before we had a garage sale, before we sold items online, we chose what we wanted to keep space for. We thought about the value of everything we were going to put in storage for our new life.

We decided without a house, there was no need for furnishings. We didn’t even need a bed. Our RV trailer had a comfortable mattress now that it was topped with a memory foam upgrade from Costco. A reading chair would go into storage because it’s perfectly broken in and you can’t buy that kind of luxury. The dining room table we’ve had for 30 years was not being sold, even when the buyers wanted us to include it with the sale of the house. A small shelf I used in my office reminded me of the old Red Cross building where I hung out after school until my mom finished work, so that was kept too. These things would go into storage.

Unless you’re a natural at sales and know the real value of your merchandise, not the emotional value attached to your things, but the true value of that tv stand or that desk (and don’t even get me started on the juicer), unless you have a mountain of patience, the process of downsizing is challenging. No, maybe a better description is that downsizing is stressful. We had to go way out of our comfort zone. We had to find places to donate our things. We had to take truckloads to the dump and pay someone to take our stuff.

Deciding that we no longer needed many of our small kitchen appliances was a turning point. To replace these items later would cost far more than what I could sell them for. I would learn that most of my “much needed” tools in the kitchen would be placed in a donation box because we all have too many kitchen appliances and newer, better models appeal more to our consumer lifestyles. That’s right, I couldn’t even sell my kitchen tools at a garage sale for a fraction of their cost.

Once we decided to live a life less burdened by our stuff, once we planned to put the most meaningful items into 100 square feet of storage, we started to discover what we had been missing out on. We weren’t going to settle for what everyone else had. We didn’t need permission to create space and time for ourselves. We no longer had to measure our life by how much money we owed on the mortgage, or days left until we could retire, or when the next holiday was going to happen.

We still had to empty a house though, and by the end of May we definitely worried about how we were going to do that.

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Janet KittoComment