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Selling everything you own and other drastic life changes

FrazFraz Registered User regular
edited April 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Hi H/A,

For years I have wanted to sell every damn thing I own and start over. Has anyone here done this?

What was it like? It's not about money for me. Just trimming the fat, so to speak. I'd like to get down to the basics. What do I really need?

Help?

Fraz on

Posts

  • LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Have a look at this thread, it may help.
    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?t=53019

    LewieP's Mummy on
    For all the top UK Gaming Bargains, check out SavyGamer

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  • FyreWulffFyreWulff YouRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2008
    It's really hard when you're a collector, which is what I'm guessing - you have a lot of stuff that you just keep because hey one day maybe you can use it.

    What helped me (and what helped me sell a lot of my stuff off) is to just remember that if you really need it back later, you can always buy it again.

    FyreWulff on
  • FrazFraz Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    It's really hard when you're a collector, which is what I'm guessing - you have a lot of stuff that you just keep because hey one day maybe you can use it.

    What helped me (and what helped me sell a lot of my stuff off) is to just remember that if you really need it back later, you can always buy it again.

    I'm kind of a half-assed collector. I always try to start collecting something, but I give up easily. I've been a Netflix subscriber for a few months and that has helped with the movie collecting, but I still have shelf after shelf of movies and games.

    I also hate the fact that I own most video game consoles, but I play most of my games on my PC.

    I really regret the lack of mobility. I hate the fact that I can't just pick up and go easily.

    Fraz on
  • supabeastsupabeast Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    People who live in cities do this kind of thing all the time. Got too much crap and no space? Don’t want to pay movers? Have a yard sale, or hell, just dump it on the sidewalk for kids to pick through. The really great thing is that, after you’ve done it a few times, you start to be more discriminating about what you buy to begin with.

    supabeast on
  • DaemonionDaemonion Mountain Man USARegistered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Fraz wrote: »
    I really regret the lack of mobility. I hate the fact that I can't just pick up and go easily.

    What are your plans? Do you want to move to another country, or what?

    In my opinion, it's all about finding the perfect balance between necessity and luxury. If your place becomes all about function, it is not so much a home as it is just a place to sleep and keep some menial shit. But maybe you just want a place to sleep and keep menial shit. Either way, consider the psychological impact each will have.

    I'd like to say I've found that balance, but it isn't mobile. I couldn't give two shits about my bed, couches, dresser, etc. etc, but I've got an old piano, a drum set, recording equipment, guitars, basses, and some old firearms that have quite a bit of sentimental value to me. If I had to, though, I'd grab the old acoustic guitar, my external HD, and whatever pistols/rifles I could, and off I'd go. Sucks though, because my drums alone are $6.5k :(

    You should have an idea of the things you absolutely need. Clothes, a coat, good shoes, stuff like that. In terms of sentimental things, keep the things you would regret losing possession of.

    Would you really care about your movies? Your game consoles? Your computer?

    Speaking of your computer, back up all of your photos onto a external hard drive and store it somewhere safe. Maybe with your parents or a relative. Perhaps carry another copy of the most important photos with you on a thumb drive so you can view them at internet cafes or whatever when you feel like it. You can get 1-4gb thumb drives for pretty fucking cheap.

    Like the photos, keep important documents somewhere safe.

    All of your music can go on a media player. I think there's an iPod model with over 100gb.

    Daemonion on
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    edited April 2008
    I recently helped my friend's fiance move her stuff from an apartment to her grandmother's place (long story, not gonna bother explaining why). At any rate, this girl moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from Colorado two years ago, and was planning on being here for the "long haul". So she drove down here with all her stuff.

    All. Her. Stuff.

    I'm talking about random shit like prints of paintings you can buy online, dressers, boxes of books she undoubtedly never re-reads, etc. etc. etc.

    It was one of the biggest wastes of manpower I ever directly experienced in my life. It took five people an entire day to move all of her stupid, stupid shit. What really bothered me wasn't so much that she had a lot of stuff, but that the sheer amount was just so completely unjustified. She has only been living here for two years, the first of which was spent at her grandmother's house (which means she probably didn't need to bring ANYTHING beyond clothes and personal items to begin with). She moves into an apartment for 9 months, and during that span she manages not only to move in all of the old junk she brought from Colorado, but buys several entirely new wastes of space, too. I'm talking about crap like IKEA couches. If you're going to buy crap from IKEA, don't. Go to Craigslist or something instead and find something for half the price and double the value/utility. If you're absolutely bent on getting IKEA crap, don't expect people to move that crap anywhere beyond where you first place it, because that stuff is too fragile and doesn't last beyond 5 years anyway.

    Sorry, I'm venting.


    At any rate, it's not a bad idea. Craigslist is awesome for getting rid of stuff. Yard sales are cool, but the efficiency really varies depending upon where you live. Cities are good for just dumping stuff, but if you live in something resembling a suburb it's harder to get away with just leaving crap outside and hoping someone will pick it up.

    What you should do (and what my friend's fiance didn't do) is think about your short- and long-term future when making any purchasing decisions. Upgrading your computer? Fine, you're going to take that thing with you regardless of where you go or what happens. $100 paintings? Think long and hard about that one, because paintings are a #(%$*@% to move, especially if all you have access to is a car.

    The problem with trying to make calculations on something like this is that not everyone is strictly utilitarian with regards to their belongings. If we were, we wouldn't accumulate so much random crap. I'd recommend limiting your belongings of sentimental value to small and/or easily transportable items, and trying to keep everything else based on need. If you need to get something but only for the short term, get something nice but cheap that you won't really care if you lose or throw away. If you need something that you can anticipate using for a long, long time, go ahead and buy one or two very good items and plan on keeping them and taking care of them. In all honesty, unless you actually plan on using stuff like drum sets, large items of sentimental value that just end up sitting in a garage or a storage somewhere are really just a waste of space and money. Sell it or find a place to put it for free so you can get to it if you absolutely need to in the future (which you won't, but whatever brings you peace of mind, right?).

    Inquisitor77 on
  • FrazFraz Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    I guess it's important to understand why I'm considering this.

    1. I'm very fortunate to have a lot of disposable income. Unfortunately, I dispose of it very quickly. I still save money and invest, but I also buy more shit than I can use or need. I hate owning 5 different current gen. video game platform. Who has time to use all this shit? I know that selling it will be like throwing money away, but I don't care.

    2. A lot of my stuff represents failure. The musical instrument I never learned to use. The book I never read (or will ever read). The game I don't want to finish.

    3. I hate feeling like I can't pick up and leave easily. I'd like to move to the West Coast once I'm done with grad school, but I really don't want to have to take all this bullshit with me.

    Fraz on
  • SorcySorcy Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Well, if you don't want to sell the consoles, why not give them to the next childs play?

    Sorcy on
    Ozymandias+X.png
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2008
    Charity may be a very fulfilling option for you, since its not about money. Even it its not childs play, find a Boys and Girls club or something who could take a donation of consoles, books, instruments and so on. With some research you could probably improve some lives while simplifying your own.

    Iruka on
  • KalTorakKalTorak One way or another, they all end up in the Undercity.Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Those sound like good reasons. I'd recommend eBay for getting rid of a lot of things like books (half.com for textbooks), old toys/games, pretty much anything. Do a search of complete listings for something you're thinking about unloading to see if people out there want to buy it - 95% of the time there's someone who does, and even if it doesn't sell you're only out like 50 cents. I'm doing a lite version of this (selling off a bunch of old books and games before I move), and even if you don't get great money out of it, it's worth it just to be rid of the stuff.

    While Child's Play is a great idea, you can't just donate your old consoles to the kids b/c of the possibility of infection. What you can do is put them up for auction on eBay and hook it up so that some or all of the profit goes to Child's Play. You can do that with just about any legitimate charity, actually.

    KalTorak on
  • YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Sorcy wrote: »
    Well, if you don't want to sell the consoles, why not give them to the next childs play?

    Protip: Child's Play does not accept used consoles. If that's the route you wanna go, sell them on eBay and donate the money to Child's Play.

    YodaTuna on
  • FrazFraz Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Sorcy wrote: »
    Well, if you don't want to sell the consoles, why not give them to the next childs play?

    I'd love to donate some of my old games. Can I do that now or would I have to wait until Christmas?

    Fraz on
  • SorcySorcy Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    YodaTuna wrote: »
    Protip: Child's Play does not accept used consoles.
    Whoops, sorry, wasn't aware of that.

    Sorcy on
    Ozymandias+X.png
  • YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Fraz wrote: »
    Sorcy wrote: »
    Well, if you don't want to sell the consoles, why not give them to the next childs play?

    I'd love to donate some of my old games. Can I do that now or would I have to wait until Christmas?

    My statement also stands for games. Sorry guys.

    YodaTuna on
  • FrazFraz Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    KalTorak wrote: »
    Those sound like good reasons. I'd recommend eBay for getting rid of a lot of things like books (half.com for textbooks), old toys/games, pretty much anything. Do a search of complete listings for something you're thinking about unloading to see if people out there want to buy it - 95% of the time there's someone who does, and even if it doesn't sell you're only out like 50 cents. I'm doing a lite version of this (selling off a bunch of old books and games before I move), and even if you don't get great money out of it, it's worth it just to be rid of the stuff.

    While Child's Play is a great idea, you can't just donate your old consoles to the kids b/c of the possibility of infection. What you can do is put them up for auction on eBay and hook it up so that some or all of the profit goes to Child's Play. You can do that with just about any legitimate charity, actually.

    Yes! This is a fantastic idea.

    Fraz on
  • EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited April 2008
    It sounds like the cause of the problem is that you make up for your lack of time or effort with buying something new instead. Which is very, very common -- you buy something, expecting to get a lot of use out of it, and when you don't, you buy something else instead. The reasons can be varied -- either it's actually crappy, or you don't have enough time, or it's more work than you expect.

    Buying tons of video games and never playing them falls into the "not enough time," and rather than playing something through completion, you "taste" it to get the feel for playing it, and then move on to a new game. The instrument falls into "more work than you thought" and you let it sit there, either looking at a new instrument or ignoring music altogether.

    You can ditch all your stuff, sure, or you can make a vow to only buy things you know you need, or will definitely use. If you buy things and discover that you're not using it, you stop -- so if you're buying video games, and you like them, but you're not playing them, you don't buy new ones.

    Another part of the problem may be that you've simply got too much cash sitting around. If you have a big ol' balance in your checking account, and it's not doing anything, you're more apt to spend it. If you have $200/month go into a retirement, or even a savings account, with the idea of planning for something (even something nebulous like "new car in 5 years, paid in cash"), it's also easier to save.

    I used to do what you're doing a lot, only without the surplus cash thing. I'd buy a musical instrument, play with it for a bit, get frustrated, and then sell it and use the money to buy something different. Along the way I did discover things I liked and didn't like about equipment, which made it somewhat worthwhile, but I still haven't really used it for anything. And yes, it's all too easy to just buy a new *anything* just because you want it, even if you never use it. I mean, the joke for yuppies is that they all buy a Kitchen Aid mixer, even though they never bake.

    I don't think your problem is that you can't up & move, but just that you're stuck with a lot of things that you don't feel you'll ever have time or motivation to use. And so rather than spending time with it, you simply buy something else instead. And it gets worse.

    EggyToast on
    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Set up your paycheck so that part of it goes into a retirement fund or a similar long-term investment where you can't get to the money easily. If you're worried about losing liquidity, then put part of it in the long-term investment and another part in something like a CD, where you can get the money if you absolutely have to but have good reason to just leave it alone.

    You can't miss money you don't see.

    Inquisitor77 on
  • FrazFraz Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    EggyToast wrote: »
    It sounds like the cause of the problem is that you make up for your lack of time or effort with buying something new instead. Which is very, very common -- you buy something, expecting to get a lot of use out of it, and when you don't, you buy something else instead. The reasons can be varied -- either it's actually crappy, or you don't have enough time, or it's more work than you expect.

    Buying tons of video games and never playing them falls into the "not enough time," and rather than playing something through completion, you "taste" it to get the feel for playing it, and then move on to a new game. The instrument falls into "more work than you thought" and you let it sit there, either looking at a new instrument or ignoring music altogether.

    You can ditch all your stuff, sure, or you can make a vow to only buy things you know you need, or will definitely use. If you buy things and discover that you're not using it, you stop -- so if you're buying video games, and you like them, but you're not playing them, you don't buy new ones.

    Another part of the problem may be that you've simply got too much cash sitting around. If you have a big ol' balance in your checking account, and it's not doing anything, you're more apt to spend it. If you have $200/month go into a retirement, or even a savings account, with the idea of planning for something (even something nebulous like "new car in 5 years, paid in cash"), it's also easier to save.

    I used to do what you're doing a lot, only without the surplus cash thing. I'd buy a musical instrument, play with it for a bit, get frustrated, and then sell it and use the money to buy something different. Along the way I did discover things I liked and didn't like about equipment, which made it somewhat worthwhile, but I still haven't really used it for anything. And yes, it's all too easy to just buy a new *anything* just because you want it, even if you never use it. I mean, the joke for yuppies is that they all buy a Kitchen Aid mixer, even though they never bake.

    I don't think your problem is that you can't up & move, but just that you're stuck with a lot of things that you don't feel you'll ever have time or motivation to use. And so rather than spending time with it, you simply buy something else instead. And it gets worse.

    I agree with everything you just said. I really don't want to sell this stuff to buy new stuff.

    Fraz on
  • falsedeffalsedef Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Most people don't know this, but game donations have been around for awhile and there's an org that will take used games:

    http://www.get-well-gamers.org/

    They accept anything above a super nintendo, as long as it's well maintained. If they can't give it to a hostpital, they'll sell it and then donate that money.

    I'm in the same boat. I have a bunch of shit I need to get rid of. I'll probably be moving soon, and this stuff is dragging me down. That's not to say it's a ton of stuff. I don't need a moving truck; but it would be cool if I could shove everything into my compact car and jet.

    The most horrible part is the papers. I hate throwing them away, because everyonce in awhile I throw away papers I wanted/needed later, and they can't be replaced.

    falsedef on
  • FrazFraz Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    falsedef wrote: »
    Most people don't know this, but game donations have been around for awhile and there's an org that will take used games:

    http://www.get-well-gamers.org/

    They accept anything above a super nintendo, as long as it's well maintained. If they can't give it to a hostpital, they'll sell it and then donate that money.

    I'm in the same boat. I have a bunch of shit I need to get rid of. I'll probably be moving soon, and this stuff is dragging me down. That's not to say it's a ton of stuff. I don't need a moving truck; but it would be cool if I could shove everything into my compact car and jet.

    The most horrible part is the papers. I hate throwing them away, because everyonce in awhile I throw away papers I wanted/needed later, and they can't be replaced.

    Could you scan them and store them on discs or your hard drive?

    Fraz on
  • EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Fraz wrote: »
    EggyToast wrote: »
    I don't think your problem is that you can't up & move, but just that you're stuck with a lot of things that you don't feel you'll ever have time or motivation to use. And so rather than spending time with it, you simply buy something else instead. And it gets worse.

    I agree with everything you just said. I really don't want to sell this stuff to buy new stuff.

    I don't think you should. I think you should devote some time to using the stuff you already own. Play the games you like, spend more time with the guitar, and so on. Push yourself to use what you've spent money on, and, if after using it for a good chunk of time, you realize that yes, you really don't like a game (or you've finished it enough to your satisfaction) or you really don't like guitar (or you need to buy a different one), then get rid of it.

    Catalog the stuff you have and make a checklist. Whenever you're feeling depressed about the stuff you own, go through the checklist and make a note of what's on it and devote some time to using that thing. Think of it as an overdue "to do" list. When you no longer feel that you've neglected that thing, cross it off the list.

    It sounds cheezy to keep a list of something like that, but it's usually easier to have a physical reminder than to simply rely on your memory. Not to mention that such a list helps when you're itching to get something new -- often, you'll realize that you already own something that's practically new, and it helps remind you that the new thing may end up with the same fate (on a future list).

    EggyToast on
    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    "Discriminatory living" Ito steal a term coined above) is really easy. I've done it three times now, for two one year stretches, and one two year stretch.

    First off, you have to wipe the slate clean. You do need furniture, bedding, things to cook with, and a fridge. And a roof over your head. But that's about it. Take the rest of your possessions, and try and fit them into two suitcases. I have never not managed to fit the entirety of my life in two suitcases. If you can't, you're carrying too much, and need to get rid of some stuff. Don't worry about the TV/consoles/PC, they're exempt too. Sell the consoles you don't use. I only use a laptop now, as that counts as hand luggage :)

    I highly recommend the eBay/Craigslist route as already mentioned; I am selling all my stuff in the same way, because I'm about to end the two year stretch to move over to CA.

    There, all clean!

    Now, to start again, and save yourself a shit ton of money, try and maintain the thought that you will be doing this again in a year or two, even if you've not got specific plans. Because you are planning to go the West Coast, keep that in your head.

    Not purchasing stuff is the name of the game here. You're quite luck that in the US, you can get lots of things as rentals. Gamefly, Netflix are your entertainment friends. Toys are an inevitable fact of geekdom, so don't feel too bad buying them. I have a Nerf Maverick I can't take with me, and I just looked at it and thought "why the fuck did I buy that?", but at the time I really wanted it, so it's OK.

    Clothes should considered to be cycled; you've now got your two suitcases worth. For every t-shirt you buy, you're replacing something else. You only need to get rid of those clothes when you leave, but again it's something to keep in mind when you're out shopping "do I need this t-shirt? what does it replace? If I can't think of something it replaces, do I need it?"

    Kitchen stuff like pots/pans etc: always buy the cheapest. You can always replace if it goes to hell. IKEA/Costco is the way to go for things like that.

    One huge caveat to all of this is that you are going to begin finding more money in your bank account, and that affected my spending in other ways. I'd eat out more. I'd go to the cinema more. I'm more generous with my money when I'm on a date with my fiance. You might need to keep a check on that impulse, or you'll just end up in the same financial position, but with less stuff to show for it! :) It is a shame that banks don't offer accounts that you can put money in, and then not find out the balance of without specifically asking the bank: that way you'd only think about the money you have in your checking account, and just put all the extra money you do't need that month into the black hole account.

    I'm not going to advocate this sort of lifestyle. I do really like thinking of things as being transitional when I purchase, going to the library instead of buying a book, and things like that. I like the freedom and financial boost it gives me. But at the same time, it stops me from ever feeling grounded with where I am, like I am myself in a transitional state, that I am just waiting for something else to happen, before I can finally settle and start building a home rather than a living area. I'm only 24, so that urge isn't strong yet, but I can certainly see that it's going to get worse in the next couple of years.

    Lewisham on
  • ChanceChance Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Just on the topic of keeping ridiculous stuff you don't need:

    My mother, in our basement has a cardboard box full of dirt.
    She also has a wooden box full of stones.

    Dirt. And stones.

    Chance on
    'Chance, you are the best kind of whore.' -Henroid
  • KalTorakKalTorak One way or another, they all end up in the Undercity.Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Chance wrote: »
    Just on the topic of keeping ridiculous stuff you don't need:

    My mother, in our basement has a cardboard box full of dirt.
    She also has a wooden box full of stones.

    Dirt. And stones.

    You have to keep that though. That's the good dirt.

    KalTorak on
  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    KalTorak wrote: »
    Chance wrote: »
    Just on the topic of keeping ridiculous stuff you don't need:

    My mother, in our basement has a cardboard box full of dirt.
    She also has a wooden box full of stones.

    Dirt. And stones.

    You have to keep that though. That's the good dirt.

    Get it out when guests come around. The good china. And the good dirt.

    Lewisham on
  • FrazFraz Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    I've been working on an inventory: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pgNN_syre9ll_b90evWc-Gg

    I'm also going to start blogging about all this soon at http://www.lazarofraga.com.

    Through a combination of gifting, selling, trading, donating, renting instead of owning and checking out instead of buying from Amazon, I hope to cut back all of the shit I have.

    I already had GameTap, Netflix and Cable TV, but I'm going to get rid of one. I hardly watch TV so I'll probably ditch the cable.

    Fraz on
  • SorcySorcy Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Chance wrote: »
    My mother, in our basement has a cardboard box full of dirt.
    She also has a wooden box full of stones.

    Dirt. And stones.

    Consider yourself lucky. A mother of a friend has old wooden boards in her basement. She also had a complete collection of german Superman comics, starting with the first edition (worth quite a buck).

    The comics she threw away sometime (without talking with my friend), but the stupid boards still are there, because she might use them someday to build a shelf or something like that...

    Sorcy on
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