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Selling stuff
Old 08-26-2008, 09:24 PM   #1
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Selling stuff

I think I'm having some kid of mid-life crisis. I recently realized that pretty much everything I own is a project I don't feel like wasting time or money on, or something from my past that is not relevant to who I am, or who I want to become. Getting my debt paid off in conjunction with my worst year ever at work has forced me to think about a lot of things I ignored while I was in debt payoff mode. Now, when I tell people I'm selling most of my things, they look at me like I'm crazy. It just feels like this stuff is getting in the way of my life. Anyone else do the big sell-off, and if so, how did it go?
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Old 08-26-2008, 09:48 PM   #2
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What kind of stuff are you selling? Real Estate, prized possesions or junk? People's perceptions may be colored by what you are selling off, rather than the fact that you are selling stuff.
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Old 08-26-2008, 10:31 PM   #3
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Yeah, you're right, I was quite vague. I'm selling my motorcycles, my cars, my house, and most of the tools and equipment that I was collecting for my dream shop in semi-retirement and retirement. They're not your average garage sale items. And yes my prized possessions in there too. I'm finding my interests, wants and needs are totally different than they were a year or two ago, and I am feeling like my possessions own me, not the other way around. For instance, I want to move, and even seriously considered moving at the peak of the market, but felt I couldn't because I didn't know what to do with everything. As it turns out, I probably would have been money ahead giving away most everything, and selling the house at the peak like I wanted to.

Part of the issue is that I have put off a lot of what I wanted to do with my life until I got out of debt, and was financially stable. I know, that's not smart, but that's what I did. Balance is not something that comes naturally for me, I guess.
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Old 08-26-2008, 10:40 PM   #4
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It is okay to lose interest in some hobbies, I no longer have much interest in gardening, and it used to be one of my passions. I may one day return to it.
Jeff, the Ultimate Cheapskate who posts on here when he has time, has a lot to say on the subject of stuff. Sometimes it does weigh you down, and if you are ready to let go of some stuff, then it isn't crazy to do so. Especially if paring down increases your rate of debt reduction. Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures, and you sound like you are in a hell of a place with your job. So sorry!
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Old 08-26-2008, 11:35 PM   #5
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I FIREd 1.5 years ago and have sold most of my stuff by downsizing over the last 2 years. Although by most people's standards I never had that much.

Anyway, I consider life cycle cost on any new purchase. I did this to a certain extent in the past, also. But now the life cycle thinking *also* includes space occupied, storage issues, and the hassle of selling.

I did sell over $1000 of my old books the past couple of months on amazon.com, but it was definitely a big hassle.

I definitely regret not downsizing sooner before FIRE. And regret buying a lot of stuff that I never really used and drug around with me for years. That will never happen again. I am very happy with the outcome now -- but it was a *lot* of work, much more than I imagined.

Kramer
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Old 08-27-2008, 03:40 AM   #6
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The only problem I can see with selling right now is the timing... The economy is bad.

I you are dumping a bunch of junk that is not worth much... it won't matter.

On the other hand, if you are selling real estate... I would expect to have fewer prospective buyers.
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Old 08-27-2008, 03:51 AM   #7
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Mid-life crisis, calling yourself In_Purgatory, loss of interest in hobbies and big-ticket personal items, just came thru the worst work year of your life, whew, selling off stuff that no longer means anything to you--may be a very healthy healing process, just a guess from an amateur. I did something similar after coming out of a serious illness five years ago. Sold off some stuff that mattered to me, small inexpensive stuff and as I was doing it I thought of it as an experiment. In the long run I only miss one item, but I can deal with that loss.
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:47 AM   #8
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whew, selling off stuff that no longer means anything to you--may be a very healthy healing process, just a guess from an amateur.

Wow ! Great detective work ! I've been selling off a lot of my stuff and I think it was partially to close the book on a painful chapter .
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:04 AM   #9
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We had a big sell off a few years ago. Mostly toys (airplane, travel trailer, motorcycle) and plenty of smaller items on eBay. We presently have our house up for sale. We realized that all these possesions were going to delay FIRE by several years unless we liquidated them and got more serious about saving. We also got tired of all the maintenance and storage hassles. I don't see anything wrong with getting rid of "stuff" if you feel like the stuff owns you.
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:16 AM   #10
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I've been gradually reducing the amount of "stuff" around my house, though, like Kramer, I don't really have an excess of stuff. But unless the perceived value is worth the trouble of advertising, and dealing with callers, etc., I just give it to the Salvation Army.

When I bought my house in 2000, I had an boat, which I hadn't used much, and had no good place to store. A guy and his family showed up to check it out. I took them to the lake, gave them a ride, then he made an offer of $6500, $1000 lower than my asking price.

"Sold" was my reply.

The guy looked at me suspiciously, and asked if there was something wrong with the boat, and how come I wasn't negotiating. I told him that I didn't want to have to take ten people out to the lake for a ride...
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:40 AM   #11
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Well, thanks for all the great replies. I guess I'm not the only one to go through this life re-evaluation process.

Quote:
selling off stuff that no longer means anything to you--may be a very healthy healing process, just a guess from an amateur.
CuppaJoe, I agree with that. It wasn't quick or easy making that decision though.

Quote:
We had a big sell off a few years ago. Mostly toys (airplane, travel trailer, motorcycle) and plenty of smaller items on eBay. We presently have our house up for sale. We realized that all these possesions were going to delay FIRE by several years unless we liquidated them and got more serious about saving. We also got tired of all the maintenance and storage hassles. I don't see anything wrong with getting rid of "stuff" if you feel like the stuff owns you.
Hankster, that sound very similar to what I'm going through now. The maintenence and storage hassles sound very familiar. Because I was so single-minded about debt reduction, I let a lot of thing go longer than I should have, maintenence wise. I don't feel like I have what it takes to deal with it all, because it seems like too long term of a project, and I have zero interest.

Quote:
Anyway, I consider life cycle cost on any new purchase. I did this to a certain extent in the past, also. But now the life cycle thinking *also* includes space occupied, storage issues, and the hassle of selling.
Very smart, Kramer. I wish I had thought about that before every purchase.
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Old 08-27-2008, 01:12 PM   #12
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Went through similar situation about 5 years ago. Owned a farm with lots of "stuff" that was taking me away from what was deep down inside of me, most important. I took 11 truck and trailer loads to a nearby auction, sold the farm that I had spent 15 years building/fixing up and moved to the 'burbs. Miss the farm occasionally, sometimes quite painfully, but as time has gone on, I miss it less frequently. Biggest thing is I do not miss the back/arm/leg/foot aches, and am very glad of the balance in my life.

Gains far outdo the losses. Among things gained: freedom from the farm chains, 2 boys (now teenagers, adopted), better relationship with DW, got my back back, close friends; Lost: freedom of the farm, Farmall Super C (tractor)

In my situation, I had tendency toward OCD, which was fed by the "I'll keep this scrap thingy in case I might need part of it..." of farming.

I wish you the best. I suspect you will look back at these times without regrets.

Bob
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Old 08-27-2008, 01:51 PM   #13
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Thanks for sharing that Bob, I'll try to remember your wisdom when the time comes for us to give up our tiny place in the country for an easier to maintain place in the coming years. And, oh, for a man to give up a tractor...sigh...
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Old 08-27-2008, 03:24 PM   #14
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The other thing that I learned is that downsizing is an iterative process. I sort of laugh to myself now that I thought I was "downsized" after my first or second downsizing. For me, it took 3 cycles (1 pre-FIRE, 2 post-FIRE). I still have more to go, but I think I am mostly there.

When I FIREd my needs and priorities changed, and so that helped me to downsize more.

Kramer
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Old 08-27-2008, 05:44 PM   #15
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When I FIREd my needs and priorities changed, and so that helped me to downsize more.

Kramer
I have been in the downsizing phase as well.
Where does a perpetual traveler (for a while at least) draw the line as to what to keep and what to toss.

And when downsized where is it kept?
In storage? home of friend or family?
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:07 PM   #16
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I got rid of exactly half of my net worth and personal property a few years ago...
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:17 PM   #17
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I have been in the downsizing phase as well.
Where does a perpetual traveler (for a while at least) draw the line as to what to keep and what to toss.

And when downsized where is it kept?
In storage? home of friend or family?
Now every gambler knows that the secret to surviving
Is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:24 PM   #18
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I guess I tend to OCD stockpile stuff. Been selling my comics and other junk I've kept ahold of. Just made close to $1K selling some collectible card game stuff.

I tend to cycle thru hobbies a lot and end up with a ton of junk. Been selling it via Craigslist and Ebay. BTW, Ebays new pricing policy = thesux

I've been tempted to sell vehicles and other stuff, but other than selling my Harley when the baby was born I've resisted. I guess I'm still accumulating.

I do ocasionally toy with the idea of selling it all and getting a really small place.
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:02 PM   #19
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We downsized from a 4 bedroom house and 2 car garage with a workshop on 2 acres to a 3 bdr townhouse with a 1 car garage and very small backyard. We gave away some stuff prior to the move, but didn't know we were going to be downsizing so much, so we still had WAY too much stuff (our stuff was in storage for a while as we searched for a new home).

When we moved into our townhouse, we had so much extra "stuff" that our poor 1 car garage was PACKED completely to the ceiling!!

We gradually sorted through everything and freecycled many items. We moved a bunch of stuff we just couldn't bear to part with to the attic. Wow, that was a lot of work.

Then we took an assignment and had to move and live in a 2 bdr apt! We packed up everything we thought we could squeeze into a 2 bdr apt and put the extras in the attic and rented a storage unit for the larger items.

At one point after living in a 2 bdr apt for a while we realized - hey, we really don't need all that "stuff" in storage! It was also about this time that we realized we really enjoy moving to new places frequently and might continue to do so after retirement. So, we sold and gave away everything in storage and about 99% of the stuff in the attic back in our townhouse.

So now 99% of everything we own is stuff in a 2 bdr apt. It's been quite freeing to see how few things we need. At times, we do miss our old house and the beautiful backyard (and yes, the John Deere tractor). We are glad we had that experience. However, I don't miss cleaning it or mowing the big yard every weekend!

So, long story short, we did the big sell-off, but gradually over time. And so far we are really happy with the transition.
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:11 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by In Purgatory View Post
I'm stuck somewhere between debt and financial independence. Unfortunately, it's closer to debt than FI.

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I'm thinking of telling my bosses I want to cut back to half-time

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I think I'm having some kid of mid-life crisis...everything I own is...something from my past that is not relevant to who I am, or who I want to become. Getting my debt paid off in conjunction with my worst year ever at work has forced me to think about a lot of things I ignored while I was in debt payoff mode. Now, when I tell people I'm selling most of my things, they look at me like I'm crazy.

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I'm selling...my prized possessions.


while i believe there is some truth that "people change when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change", it also seems to me that there can be danger to change in pain, especially when the pain is so great that you can only focus on the wound site and fail to see the rest of the healthy body. don't become the wound.

from what little you've written there seems some convoluted thinking. for instance, you are closer to debt than to financial independence but you want to cut your hours by half. not all that odd in itself but perhaps so in the context of an early retirement forum as cutting hours will delay that; again, not odd in the context of, say, esrbob's work less live more were you to be closer to f.i., but you say you are closer to debt which might indicate that to retire early you should rather live more to work more.

it sounds a little like you are giving up on financial independence and even maybe a little on life, punishing yourself by selling your "prized possessions", by giving away what you can not get back as if thumbing your nose at life. so there, take that. beware, life is a lot bigger than it looks.

true that things are just things. but people are not things and getting rid of things from your past will not dismiss your past. you can rid yourself of your accumulations but you will always be the accumulation of all the things and experiences and thoughts of your past. you can try to divorce who you want to become from who you are or who you have been as an exercise in futility or denial and that might help you to think that you have reinvented yourself, but do we ever really change or do we just become more of who we always were but just never knew or never knew how to apply it or never knew how to hide it.

i'm not saying don't empty your cart. it can be good to start fresh, but also it can be a waste of time to reinvent the wheel. know your path and you'll know what to pack.
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