Tag Archives: decluttering

The $ound of $ilence

New front door in proce$$

New front door in proce$$ - not yet painted or reshingled

It’s one thing to blog about downsizing; it’s something else to slog through it.

The current plan is to put the house on the market in two weeks.  So my silence is all about the mad da$h to get the place ready to show – in$talling a new front door, repairing some cracked $iding, pre$$ure wa$hing all my $idewalks and patio, cleaning carpet$, wa$hing oriental rug$, moving furniture.

The outflow is offset by a little income from Craigslist sales. A grand total of $703, so far. (For goods probably worth ten times that, in earlier times). For example someone bought this Victorian curio cabinet I’ve had for decades, stuffed with “curios”, better known as tschotchkes (how DO you spell that??). Curios now cover the dining table.  It’s like that. Sell one thing, displace 500 others that spill all over.

"Curios" without a home

"Curios" without a home

A lot of stuff has gone for free – donated or given away. The baby grand piano leaves Friday for a long vacation at the spacious home of a friend who is a fabulous classical pianist and looks forward to doing two-piano pieces with another friend.

The humongo McGuire desk went to live in Astoria with a young couple who are opening a real estate law practice and needed a formal desk for the kinds of  signing rituals real estate loves. Mazeltov! Its credenza friend awaits an eager adopter in the garage.

Meanwhile, I’ve gone from TWO huge desks to one tiny one plus a lateral file. And a shitpile of paper and office supplies on the floor, seeking a home. Here’s just part of one pile…

Heap o' crap

Heap o' crap


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Filed under Art & antiques, Baby steps, Downsizing

One way to go about downsizing

Over at DailyKos today, blogger Timroff describes what he and his wife are doing this weekend, as they prepare to move from a 4 bedroom home with full basement to a 2 bedroom apartment with little storage:

So how does one decide what stays and what goes?

What we did was take some graph paper and a copy of the apartment’s layout and dimensions, then we measured all of our furniture and cut out shapes to match. (see, those thousands of hours of D&D playing finally paid off!) We then positioned the furniture on the layout and feng shui’ed until we were happy with what we were looking at.

We then took the many little pieces of paper that were left over, matched them to their counterparts in reality and labelled them “for sale.” I then spent the last three days slowly moving it all into the garage. We’re going to be selling a Futon, a desk, a large office chair, a dining room table, and two sets of storage shelving. We’re also sending a twin bed, drawing table and a large overstuffed chair to Dania’s parents’ basement thus using up all of the storage we have available to us.

He also tackles their stockpile of books . I like his discernment process (bolded):


Dania and I own more than 500 books — with shelving for only about 350 of them. So we went through every single title, and asked ourselves whether we would buy that book today at full price from the local bookstore? If the answer was yes, it got packed away for the move. If not, we considered whether we thought we might read it again, or is it was worth keeping for our children-to-be? If no, it went on the sell pile.

The storage shelves are now covered with books for the house sale …. Anything that doesn’t sell will be taken to the local Half Price Books, so they’ll hopefully all find a good home.

We went thru the same process with our clothes, our kitchen items, our tools, and virtually everything else we owned, including three of my six guitars, a guitar monitor, and my entire beer glass collection (we have better ones that match that we’re keeping). We’re basically channelling  the Clean House crew now, and more and more stuff is piling into the garage — so much that the car spent last night outside for the first time since we bought it.

Since I don’t watch TV, I’ve never seen this show, but there were some inspiring videos at the Clean House link. The strategy seems to be to pull out the small percentage of any category of goods that you MUST keep, and let the rest go. Which makes more sense than asking yourself, “could I part with this?” – because the answer to that question is too often NO!

The Clean House clutter-clearing sessions always seem to end with a blow-out garage sale. I could get behind that!

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Filed under Attachment - Vairagya, Baby steps, Downsizing, Paper and books, Selling stuff

How much is my time worth to sell this stuff??

I have listed a bunch of things on-line, which means I had to describe the thing in enticing terms, photograph it, figure out how much to ask for it, and go through the posting hoops.  Time-consuming. Nibbles on most of the stuff not happening.

dscf3117I also made a trip over to Powells Books in Portland this morning with three and a half boxes of great books, sheet music and instructional CDs. They took about 20 books and gave me $74. More time spent. I now have to figure out to whom to give the remaining almost three boxes.

Books and sheet music are sacred things in my universe. A happy home must be found for them. So I’m bringing some to the Friends of the Library and some to our magnet school for the arts. Another trip and another hour to distribute those. Sigh.

As of today I’ve pocketed about $150 for merchandise that probably cost $1,000 new and it took many hours to “earn” it.

Already the take-away lesson is shockingly clear: the value of a purchase plunges steeply the minute you take it out of its wrapper at home — and if you need to sell it, expect little or nothing in return, and expect it to eat away at your time.

Buying something new makes NO sense any more unless you plan to use the thing to death.  It’s much much smarter to buy used if you must have it, or to rent, borrow or share if you need it only briefly.


Filed under 101 Reasons to Downsize, Baby steps, Downsizing, Envisioning a simpler life, Paper and books, Selling stuff