Wednesday, May 16, 2012

On Liquidating

If you know me (and some of you do only because I insist on posting stuff all out here in cyberspace)'ll know that I have this odd hierarchy of disposing "stuff" that I (or those people who also appear annually on my tax return) no longer use.  I like to think of this as "being a good steward"...but if truth be is primarily that I love selling something for a good price even more than I love getting a great deal. 

Not a haggling-I-want-to-rip-you-off kind of price...but a fair one.  Where I have something of value to sell and there are people out there who think that they need what I have.  (Having just written that...please note that I am talking about "physical items that I have previously purchased and they wish to purchase from me" as opposed to "stuff in my house that some thug thinks s/he needs to get all up in here and reek havoc to steal."  The former is a yay!  The latter involves someone that I'd like to run over with my car...repeatedly.  Just so we're clear.)

I am not the most tech-savvy creature on earth...but I am probably among the most persistent.  If I don't know how to do something, I am not above going to Books-a-Million and purchasing a "Dummies" book and self-educating.  (Or in a pinch...calling Brian in here to help me.)  Once I catch on, though, I do okay...even if it requires modifications.  For instance, my photos on my personal laptop are all loaded in the music folder on my computer folder desktop thingy instead of the folder for photos.  Yes, I totally realize that this makes no sense whatsoever.  (The description or the fact that I have to go to user/music/2012-05-15 to find the photo of Johnny Law pulling over my neighbor who was apparently going over 25MPH yesterday.  Equally tragic is that I have Picasa loaded on my computer and my computer is geriatric enough to have to actually stop and rest while it considers whether or not it will upload another picture...but that's another story for another day.)

Where was I?

Oh yeah.  Selling stuff.

Over the past six years I have learned how to use eBay quite effectively.  I have sold a number of items...and for a short time helped out a friend liquidate some "stuff" that she had amassed (for a nominal fee, of course.)  I have a 100% positive rating out of 273 I suppose that's good.  I only recently received my first "neutral" rating because a guy who paid $9.99 for three pair of used North Face boys' shorts wanted $1.50 back because there was a small ink mark that I failed to disclose on one of the pair.  I knew I was in trouble with this one when he paid and then sent a message that was to the effect of "This better be perfect or I'm going to be a horse's behind."  Further complicating it was that I failed to check my messages over Mothers' Day Weekend (so sue me...I was at a wedding all day Saturday and it was MOTHERS' DAY on Sunday...sheesh.)

Just so you know...I gave him back $3.33 because I honestly made back a good portion of that in the shipping charge because the package weighed less than 13 oz.  (Mess with me.)

Trust me, however, when I tell you that if you can figure out how to set up a seller account with eBay, set up a PayPal account, photograph and describe your item and upload the're ready to go.  You know...these days...this can probably be done with a smart phone.  I totally wouldn't know.

I mean, in the world of smartphones?  I'm not so smart.  My kids are, however.  (Not that Sprint isn't reminding me frequently that it is time for me to upgrade!  When I must...I will.  But not until.  Hey, that rhymed.)

Anyway, my first go-to spot for selling clothing is generally eBay.  And while you can sell books and other things on there...and I have...I found that textbooks were dramatically simplified on Amazon.  To say that sending those little books that I paid a ridiculous amount of money for give me back at least a portion of just makes me feel better.  (Over the past two days?  How about $112?  Booyah.)

But today...I went down a notch in the "stuff liquidation" process...

Plato's Closet.


Jill had a whole lot of items that were still in good shape.  We found someone in the family who could use some of the items...but she is smaller than Jill is...and so some it had to go elsewhere.  I pulled some out to attempt to sell on eBay...and had some that were "in-between" so to speak.  So I lugged a big bag in there and left several hours later with $12.55...and a big bag.


Turns out they aren't really into buying dresses...and some labels are cool one day and kryptonite to retailers the next.  Seeing as a lot of these items were close to four years old.

FINE.  (I still have $12.55 that I didn't have before.  So there's that.)

I don't know if you are as insane about reselling items as I am...or if you just find it to be overwhelming and too much trouble and you prefer to just bag it up and haul it to Goodwill. 

Or maybe you just leave it in your closet.  A lot of people do.

Personally, I've always felt that your closet needs to be cleaned out every year and every three years needs to go to bare bones.  I'm not saying that you shouldn't keep special items...because you should.  But I do think that it is a little ridiculous to be holding onto something that you aren't ever going to wear again just because you paid a lot for it or because you are going to lose 75 pounds and magically rock those jeans like you did in high school before a couple of pregnancies and the stress of adulthood.

I happens...but me?  If I lose a bunch of weight...I'm going shopping.

And not in my closet, either.

To help you with this...I'm going to give you a play-by-play of how I think about it.  Take it or leave it.

First of all...take your right hand and imagine yourself holding the item by the collar.  Look at your hand.  It is in a fist, isn't it?  Now, I want you to take that fist and roll it over to where your clenched fingers are facing upward.  Imagine pouring something into that fist.  How much would you actually catch?  Very little, I'd imagine.

That's how I feel about "stuff" in my life.  If I am holding onto something...I most assuredly cannot be waiting with my hands open for whatever blessing God sees fit to bestow on me.  And He has been so amazing to bring me the most fun items just because He knows I'll either enjoy them for a season and pass them on or will get them to where they need to be. 

The "stuff" in your life should be constantly changing and anything that has a permanent place should be because of a personal connection you have to it.  In this category is art, photographs, jewelry, special items acquired in traveling, special books, yearbooks, or something given to you by someone you treasure.  Move things around...cull the "stuff" that doesn't matter...and if someone admires something that you have that you aren't in love with...give it to them!

You'll be blessed.  They'll be blessed.  Win-win, yes?

In this economy our habits have changed somewhat.  We are fixing things instead of throwing them away.  We are employing "less is more" and doing away with all of the extraneous "stuff" that all takes too much of our life to maintain.

Right now, my room looks like "Hoarders, the Early Years" and that is because we have too much in this house.  It is only for a season, Jill will be moving out soon enough.  When she does, I'll find a place for everything again...and all will be well. 

In the meantime...I'll be back on eBay hawking outgrown items that still have some life in them or textbooks from courses gone by.  And when all else fails...there's Goodwill.

After all, I pretty much stink at yard sales.  I have too much of a tendency to want them to take it all and enjoy it as I once did.  In fact, at one point in time, my folks had a "free" yard sale.  If you could use could have it.  Rock on.

So, get out there and declutter and move those things along...and lift those hands in praise...and find them loaded down with blessings once you let some of your "stuff" go.  Just don't get your hopes up about Plato's Closet.  (*sigh*)

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