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Empty Nesters Purging Homes Experience
Old 08-19-2016, 08:46 AM   #1
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Empty Nesters Purging Homes Experience

Just finished reading through the thread on "Empty Nesters Sellling Homes Experience" and didn't want to hijack that thread. My question is related, but about the purging process of downsizing. How did you get rid of all your stuff? I am starting the process of purging and I keep getting hung up on thinking that I should try to get some money for some of the better "stuff". Have tried online selling with limited success and am starting to think it is not worth the aggravation. Do NOT want to have a yard/garage sale (can't stand the idea of watching people pick through my little treasures). I have no problem donating stuff and regularly schedule pickups when charities have trucks in my neighborhood. I think it's my frugal brain, which got me to ER in the first place, that keeps thinking "but it's worth something"! I've thought about an estate sale, consignment, but it seems like a lot of trouble and in the grand scheme of things, any $'s made would be insignificant (assuming I've planned as well as I think I have).

How can I retrain my brain to think it's OK to just give it all away?
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Old 08-19-2016, 08:51 AM   #2
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Since you're ER compare your investments to what you'd get from item sales. In the same amount of time you can probably generate more $ by searching for mutual funds with lower expense ratios than by selling little items. So donate or toss the items and spend your time more frugally!
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Old 08-19-2016, 09:00 AM   #3
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My process for purging stuff is 1) is it good enough to donate? than I donate it. I'm still working, and need the tax writeoff 2) not good enough to donate, I put it on freecycle.org or my neighborhood website nextdoor.com 3) if no one wants it, it goes to recyce 4) last resort, into the landfill.

I don't think having a garage sale is worth the time, and I don't want to hassle with craigs list. although I do have some friends that put everything to sell on craigs list. I feel people that like garage sales and the craigs list sellers are a certain personality type, and that's not me.
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Old 08-19-2016, 09:52 AM   #4
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Our process for decluttering was to:
  • sell stuff of value on eBay - about 70 items netting almost $4K, that we would have otherwise just thrown away
  • donate to charities or leave on the curb with FREE sign - large items like furniture
  • just toss it - our test was if we hadn't needed it in 10 years, it got pitched, and we have not regretted anything we threw out. We found a few items that we didn't know we still had, or we'd lost track of where they were years ago...
We found the decluttering process to be liberating!

We did the neighborhood garage sale once, but between the ridiculous hagglers, people pawing through stuff that was not for sale, people asking if they could use our bathrooms, sitting/leaning on our cars and people asking if we could put stuff aside for them - we vowed never again.

Though I am sure craigslist works fine 99% of the time, it wasn't worth the risk of tangling with someone over bad merchandise and there have been plenty of stories of criminals using craigslist to steal or assault people. Why bother? eBay met our needs just fine, and we never had to deal with buyers directly.
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Old 08-19-2016, 09:59 AM   #5
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We did the neighborhood garage sale once, but between the ridiculous hagglers, people pawing through stuff that was not for sale, people asking if they could use our bathrooms, sitting/leaning on our cars and people asking if we could put stuff aside for them - we vowed never again.
Huh. Our experience with the "neighborhood yard sale" has been pretty good.

We never shop yard sales and never have run our own besides the yearly neighborhood one.

Most years we pick a few items that are worth selling and have had good luck: lawn mower that still ran (poorly) that we replaced; storage pod for minivan; some furniture; an old chain saw. We even got a decent price for some like-new ice skates.

We don't expect a lot of money for the items and after an couple of hours we'll basically take any price just to get rid of the items.

The neighborhood yard sale works well in our neighborhood - they advertise it and which brings in lots of people and it's only one day each spring.
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Old 08-19-2016, 10:00 AM   #6
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If it is still good and worth something, you can take it to a consignment store... sure, they get a good pct. of the sale, but you still get more money than giving it away, donating or throwing it away...
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Old 08-19-2016, 10:10 AM   #7
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We did the neighborhood garage sale once, but between the ridiculous hagglers, people pawing through stuff that was not for sale, people asking if they could use our bathrooms, sitting/leaning on our cars and people asking if we could put stuff aside for them - we vowed never again.
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Huh. Our experience with the "neighborhood yard sale" has been pretty good.

We never shop yard sales and never have run our own besides the yearly neighborhood one.
We don't know much about garage sales, so maybe we did it wrong. Maybe the standalone garage sales fare better, I assumed the neighborhood traffic would be way more worthwhile? It's an annual (800 lot) neighborhood event, so it may bring out the professional pickers, some who may be pretty brash/forward. I can guarantee our prices were not high at all, 5-10 cents on the dollar, most items in near perfect condition... YMMV
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Empty Nesters Purging Homes Experience
Old 08-19-2016, 10:18 AM   #8
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Empty Nesters Purging Homes Experience

We just started the process. Sold a few items on Craigslist for a total of $2,000. Simple enough, listed them, within a day or so people show up and give you cash. It is amazing actually. Will use this method for valuable stuff.

Also have donated lots of stuff to goodwill which gets us 25% (our marginal rate) of the value back at tax time. This is good for all the books, clothes, and all the random stuff which would be time consuming to deal with all the buyers.

Next up are the cats. Got two of them that need a home. Our goal is to be completely free of stuff and live like college students for awhile.
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Old 08-19-2016, 11:18 AM   #9
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We had good results and good experiences with Craigslist for higher value items. Gave a bunch of things to nephews that were moving into their first home - that was really satisfying. (kind of cute as they were fighting over some of our stuff behind our backs! - no, I want the grill, etc.)
Goodwill process that works for me is set stuff in a pile that I want to go to Goodwill. Ruminate on it for a week or so. Go through the pile again and if i see anything that I want - pull it out and take the remainder of the pile to Goodwill.
Good luck with your downsizing! It is quite freeing!
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Old 08-19-2016, 11:22 AM   #10
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Having moved a few times our process is pretty simple:
Small stuff goes on eBay.
Big stuff goes on Craigslist
What does not sell or not worth the effort goes to Goodwill.
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Old 08-19-2016, 12:43 PM   #11
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Craigslist was good for big things, Goodwill got a bunch. A fellow who's going to help move is trading work for some tools that are too big for the new garage.

It was easier to ignore the loss when you realize how stuff is keeping you from what you want.

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Old 08-19-2016, 01:00 PM   #12
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You all are a lot classier bunch than I am, I can tell.

Most of the things I need to get rid of when I declutter, are pretty much trash or nearly so. Yes, my closets fill up with worthless trash over the years. Broken things, obsolete things, unwanted gifts, enigmatic things whose intended purpose is completely mysterious, other things that nobody in their right mind would want - - that is what I'm getting rid of. I couldn't sell any of it, to tell the truth.

Those few things that are still usable go into the big bin just inside the door at our GoodWill. Furniture goes to Salvation Army since they will send a truck for it.

But mostly I just put it out by the curb for the trash pickup. This is not emotionally difficult for me. Nobody gets attached to trash.
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We did the neighborhood garage sale once, but between the ridiculous hagglers, people pawing through stuff that was not for sale, people asking if they could use our bathrooms, sitting/leaning on our cars and people asking if we could put stuff aside for them - we vowed never again.

Though I am sure craigslist works fine 99% of the time, it wasn't worth the risk of tangling with someone over bad merchandise and there have been plenty of stories of criminals using craigslist to steal or assault people.
I have the same opinions of garage sales or Craig's List, especially for me as a single defenseless older woman in a city that is notorious both for high violent crime levels and con artists. I just don't want to deal with either one. Besides, we cannot have garage sales without paying a fairly high fee to the Parish (=county). It's not worth it to me and I wouldn't want to get on the bad side of the Parish by not paying it. Besides, I wouldn't get much for most of the junk I get rid of when I declutter.
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Old 08-19-2016, 01:02 PM   #13
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When my DW and I decluttered we set a price limit on anything we would sell, so if we didn't think we could get at least 50 to 100 dollars then we donated it. We sold on Craigslist and priced everything cheap to make sure we got rid of it.

Have less stuff in the house is very freeing, worth doing even if you just give everything away.


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Old 08-19-2016, 01:26 PM   #14
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We had a garage sales for the really "good" stuff. Blacksmith's forge, welder, lots of that kind of manly kind of stuff. We advertised on Craigslist not only for the sale, but individually for those big specialty items. By about 2 o'clock we took what was left to donate for our church's garage sale. It could have fit in a couple of grocery sacks.

Then, daily, we visited one of the legitimate thrift stores and unloaded our truck. This took almost a month. I know these places would get good money for our clean stuff, and I didn't have to move it or dicker with some Neanderthal over a dollar or 50 cents.

It was hard at first. Very hard, but man is it liberating when moving INTO the new house. OMG it feels so good.

That said, I'm still sad I donated all my vinyl albums. I kept one, but still had regrets about that give away.
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Old 08-23-2016, 06:47 PM   #15
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We recently sold our home of 30 years. We didn't need any of the furniture, kitchenware or other items as we had furnished our retirement house over the past 10 years. We sold a few things via Craigslist, some through OfferUp, gave some of our nicer things to family/friends, donated a LOT of stuff and then took about two loads to the dump.
It felt very good to get rid of it all and made me realize all the money and energy wasted on "stuff". We both agreed to be less consumptive going forward.




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Old 08-23-2016, 06:59 PM   #16
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I am not sure I could find anything in our house to take to a dump, let alone two trips.
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Old 08-23-2016, 08:38 PM   #17
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Yea, I wonder why anybody would take stuff to a dump.... when I sold my house a number of years back I left any 'junk' in the garage and told the person I was selling it to that I was doing it... said if they did not want it they could do anything they wanted with it... they did not object...


When we sold my moms home almost all the rooms had something in it... we said up front we were not going to do anything with it.. he said fine since he was going to tear out most of the inside.... the garage was also full of junk.... some with value if you wanted to take the time to sell it...
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:24 PM   #18
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Just moved from a house of 26 years. My wife and I both have problems parting with stuff so after 26 years, there was a lot of it. To complicate matters, we moved into a smaller house and there was no way we could take everything. To make matters even worse, we had a week from the time the movers took the big stuff (furniture) and closing day where we had to be out of the house we sold and it had to be cleared out completely.

The "it has value" gene is a strong one, but we just did not have time to do much selling. I Craigslisted a few things and we donated a lot. I also put a bunch of stuff out front with a "free" sign on it - it all went in one day. Then we were out of time and took a lot to the dump and bagged up a lot for garbage day. Then we made a mistake - we filled up the garage in the new house - like a storage unit. Of course we say we'll keep going and purge the rest, but I suspect it will be years, if ever, before I can park a car in the garage.

Lessens learned - It takes longer than you'd expect if you want to get some money out of your stuff. People will take just about anything for free. Donation is your friend and lack of time is your enemy.
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:26 PM   #19
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We had the auction house pick up our stuff and sell it. Sold through them in three stages. Some items sold for amazing prices while others sold for peanuts. In the end, it was no fuss, no muss and three decent sized checks to speed us on our way. IIRC, the auction took almost half due to handling the pick-up and storage pending the next auction. It's not the best way to get anything close to top dollar, but it's quick and clean.

Just for grins, I'll mention a couple of our "wins" in the auction (I've put the losses out of my mind.) We had a king mattress that we had slept on for 30 years. It cost us $200. We had kept it nice and it brought $100! We had a vase that DW's mom gave us. It was attractive, but we had no idea it had any value. Someone there realized what it was (I forget) and it brought over $500. Sold two inoperable rifles I inherited from my dad. They went for over $50 each (they weren't antique - just old.)

YMMV
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Old 08-24-2016, 04:59 AM   #20
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The "it has value" gene is a strong one, but we just did not have time to do much selling. I Craigslisted a few things and we donated a lot. I also put a bunch of stuff out front with a "free" sign on it - it all went in one day. Then we were out of time and took a lot to the dump and bagged up a lot for garbage day. Then we made a mistake - we filled up the garage in the new house - like a storage unit. Of course we say we'll keep going and purge the rest, but I suspect it will be years, if ever, before I can park a car in the garage.
On one of our purge/moves, we put a statute of limitations on boxes. If, in six months, a box (or two) didn't get opened, then we obviously didn't need what was in there and it went straight (unopened) to Goodwill.
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