RTW Post #4: You Can't Take It With You

7/26/13: Centennial, CO, USA

The moment Katie and I decided we were going on a RTW trip we immediately asked ourselves: “What do we do with all this stuff?” After a quick analysis, we were able to categorize all of our worldly possessions into four categories: Give, Sell, Keep, and Trash.

To keep, or not to keep, that is the question.

Give:

Most of our stuff is old or not top of the line (Ikea, anyone?). However, if it’s functional it’s difficult for me to throw away. So we offered up our aging furniture to friends and, surprisingly, they took it! This was a best-case scenario for us – no waste and we’ll be able to visit our old couch whenever we’re back in town (hell, we’ll probably be crashing on it!) As the weeks wound down we set aside all the household necessities we wouldn’t be needing anymore. I brought a box to work, we gave a bunch to friends, and we hauled the rest up to Washington to give to my mom who wasn’t about to turn away high-end dish washing soap! (You’re welcome, mom.)

Sell:

I could break this category into three of its own: eBay, Craigslist, and Yard Sale.

Sold, and ready to ship!

          -   Anything small and of value got the eBay treatment, and I have to say, making those ads is a major time-suck. I don’t recommend it unless you know something will sell. An easy way to determine that is to search what you want to sell on eBay and click the “Sold Listings” option on the left side of the page. This will show you if your item previously sold, when it sold, and for how much. A great side effect is it also makes it easy to plagiarize other ads! Yep, I admit it. I plagiarized eBay ads. What are you gonna do about it, huh?

Not wanting to hold on to things that stay in boxes indefinitely, I let go of some long-kept “collections,” one of which was a huge box of Xena action figures, in their original packaging, no less. Hot dog! It was sad to say goodbye, but it comforts me to know that Sheena, Paul’s wife, is enjoying them somewhere in Florida while anxiously awaiting her next paycheck. (Yes, I found out entirely too much about this woman during our eBay correspondence.)

           -   Then there are those larger items. You do NOT want to deal with shipping those monsters. Instead of eBay, we kicked them over to Craigslist, where our results were hit and miss. Our electric piano, which was in great condition, got little interest when I first listed it under electronics. It wasn’t until I re-listed it under musical instruments that it became a coveted item. (Yeah, the geeks weren’t so interested in tinkling the ivories). That, along with our refrigerator, got snatched up quickly without any questions or bartering. Our older Mac computer, however, was getting jerked around like a teen searching for a prom date. We got several enquiries, some of which seemed very sincere, but as it turned out they were all flakes. One guy even told us he’d be at our place to pick the computer up between 5 - 8pm. When I called him at 8:15 he was at a concert! We were stood up! Thanks for wasting our time, bub. In the end we donated the computer to a good cause. It was the equivalent of going to the prom with your cousin. At least you get to dance…

Alice for sale!

          -   That leaves the yard sale. Many people have expressed to me how much they despise yard sales; seeing their once beloved items selling for pennies turns their stomachs. Me? I like yard sales. I like them because I’m in charge and I have nothing to lose! I want to sell my stuff, sure, but bottom line I want to get rid of it. If people try to nickel and dime me I’m happy to respond with a big fat “No” and walk away. I’ll donate it if they’re going to be ridiculously cheap. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to negotiate, but I don’t think asking for a dollar is being greedy. Needless to say, I really piss some people off with my stubbornness…and I secretly love it.

As always, we had lots of fun at our yard sale because we did it with friends. We trucked our load into Hollywood where we set up shop on a vacant street corner outside our friend’s apartment. Several of us culled our belongings together and bartered right there on the sidewalk. As usual, the moment our boxes hit the pavement people were asking “How much?” One guy was even opening our boxes, ripping the tape right off of them! Initially, I was irritated, but then I figured he was doing me a favor. I had to open the boxes anyway, right? That first day we did fairly well, but the second day was rather pathetic. But you can’t put a price tag on having fun, and that’s what we did – we played chess and dress-up, and Katie was so overzealous she almost sold me! Sorry, Katie, but contrary to popular belief, there are exceptions to “Everything Must Go!”

Oh, my! These low-low prices are causing a scandal at the yard sale!

Anything left over after our two-day sale was packed up and donated. All the books went to the library, clothes were given to the poor, and everything else was dropped off at Goodwill. Katie tried to donate me in the name of “good will” but I told her that would be cruel to the recipient.

Keep:

In the end we didn’t keep any furniture except our computer desk and an old coffee table. Katie’s aunt convinced us we should keep it since it was a good, sturdy, wooden coffee table, and they don’t make ‘em like that anymore. It also happens to be the same coffee table in that old family photo I mentioned two posts ago, so it has sentimental value. I was convinced we should keep it. Plus, I didn’t want to sell it for 50 cents.

The rest of what we kept was, for the most part, photo albums, clothes, books, and kitchen supplies. It took up a surprising amount of space! Katie and I had reserved a 5’ x 10’ storage unit an hour away from Los Angeles in order to save money. $40 a month was a great deal, but not better than free, which is what our amazing friends, Lisa and Thomas, offered up! We didn’t want to burden them, and heavily weighed the pros and cons, but in the end we decided to take them up on their offer and use their garage as a storage unit. We tried to give them furniture and use of our belongings as payment, but they were having none of it. They wouldn’t even let us pay for lunch! Mark my words, Lisa and Thomas, somehow, someway, we’ll be paying you back. You’ll have our gratitude if it’s the last thing we do! Mwahahahahaaaaaa!!! (Seriously, though, what do you want?)

Lisa, Thomas, and little Logan keeping our stuff safe and sound.

Trash:

That leaves the trash. You know what I’m talking about: that old pair of jeans with holes in the butt; that warped frying pan with the enamel scratched off; that disfigured candle you’ve nearly burned to the nub. OK, maybe only college kids know what I’m talking about, but that’s basically the level Katie and I have been living at all of these years. Those used-to-death items got thrown into the big blue dumpster in the sky. The last thing we threw away was our 20-year-old king size mattress. It was dragged to the street and picked up by the garbage man within an hour. After all those nights of sleep (poof!) it was gone. I’ll be dreaming of you, monsieur mattress, as I travel the world lying on rocks and worrying that bugs are crawling in my hair. Au revoir!