Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Getting the Hell out of Here: Part Three

 "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something"

Purge the Toxins

Like many (I'd even say most) families, ours has an abundance of stuff. We have clothes that don't work for us anymore but for some reason still get to occupy valuable closet space. We have things that we know we don't want anymore, but are sure we can get a decent chunk of money out of but are too lazy/overwhelmed to list on Ebay or Craigslist. We have boxes of "memories" full of stuff we have to strain to remember.

We have a lot of crap. It's not an uncommon problem.

What we also have is a very small house with little storage, and that's where the problem becomes a bigger problem. There really is no "out of sight, out of mind" in our house. And one of the first lessons of staging a home for sale is to unclutter to the maximum.

So, in the interest of furthering our dream to move on and start out in our new home on a clean slate, here's what we've (read: I've) been up to:

1.) Nothing new comes in.

The butter dish. *What* a splurge.
Okay, so that's not totally accurate. Our kids have to have new clothes on occasion, and I did buy a butter dish on Amazon the other day (with a gift card!) because the stick of butter I use for my toast was just sitting out on the counter and it looked kind of foul. And the butter dish is the one that goes with the dishes I want, anyway, so I don't feel too bad about it.

But yeah, the basic idea is that we are purging, not restocking. Husband and I don't need many new clothes, and we'll buy what we need and only what we need when we do. We have everything we need to comfortably survive another year in our home.

The exception to this rule, aside from genuine needs, is upgrading things that will be necessary for staging. For example, Husband and I have never owned a proper bedding set. We have our nice sheets, and we have a few random comforters that we rotate out when Babydactyl pees on one, but our bedroom decor is very disjointed and unfocused. So I am saving up to purchase a nice, matching bedroom set and curtains for us, but it will go with us to the new house, and at least one of the random comforters will be donated or yardsaled when we get it.

And how am I funding that purchase, you (didn't) ask?

I'm glad you asked.

2.) Sell the stuff that has decent value.

Spazz's old play kitchen
A little at a time, I've been purging toys and clothing on Ebay and Craigslist. I'm not trying to do it all at once because that would be too overwhelming, and I have a year to do it all, so I'm taking my time and not letting it kick my ass. I've sold all of my designer jeans because I'm about three pants sizes smaller than I was when I got them, and because they were kept in excellent condition and I was able to sell them for a nice sum. Same with my maternity clothes. That money has gone into the "new bedroom set" fund.

We've also sold a few of Spazzy's old toys. I sold the play kitchen she'd had for over seven years on Craigslist for $35 and gave her the money. She saved up and bought herself a Kindle, so now we're purging her books. It's all about streamlining and simplifying.

3.) Sell the stuff that has any value.

Not everything is worth enough money to make the hassle of Craigslist or (even worse) Ebay worth it, but it still has enough value that I hate to give it to Goodwill. Yeah, I'm selfish like that. So the maternity clothes that didn't sell, as well as some of the baby stuff that 'dactyl has outgrown, is going to Once Upon a Child as soon as I have time to get out there. Right now, it's taking up space in my bedroom. But I know that its days are numbered, so I don't let that stress me out.

We're also going to have a yardsale sometime in the next few months. Basically, anything that OUaC or Half Price Books didn't want will go in the yardsale, along with a ton of other stuff we no longer have a use for. That money will likely go toward further home improvements/preparing the house for sale.

4.) Donate the rest.

Whatever doesn't sell at the yardsale goes to Goodwill. Once it leaves my house, it's no longer welcome back in. End of story.

So that's my plan. It's tedious, but when you break it down into manageable parts and give yourself a decent amount of time, it's far less overwhelming. I feel like I'm taking steps to make our dreams come true every time I sell a sweater or drop off a load of books somewhere. I think that's what custom building a life is—tiny steps toward a beautiful end product.


  1. Very smart strategy. We're on a purge binge, too. It seems to happen every Spring (yet here we are again and there's even more crap so apparently we don't learn). :D

  2. I blame Christmas. I'm also thinking very carefully about what to tell people when they ask me what my kids want/need for their birthdays and Christmas. I don't want too much new stuff coming in unless a proportional amount of old stuff goes out. I really want smaller holidays for the kids.