Monthly Archives: June 2012

To sell or to donate

There are a number of articles about people selling their things and making money. The articles almost seem to mock people like me who just get rid of the stuff. However, there are several good reasons why donating was better for me.

First and foremost, I paid very little for the things I donated. My estimate is that I originally paid around $1500-2000 for that whole 1350 pounds of stuff. Most of that cost was clothes. The rest was accumulated in the form of gifts, roadside finds, and nickels and dimes at yard sales, for the most part.

Yard sales in my area don’t profit much. People just don’t go to them, and if they do, they don’t buy much. For a day’s work, an average seller might make $100-200. That would almost keep pace with the tax write-off I’ll get. Considering how labor intensive a yard sale is, that’s not worth it. Add to that the thought of spending a whole day saying goodbye to things I’ll forget about if I just shove them in a box and donate them, the fact that if someone else wants my stuff it’s harder for me to let go of it, and the knowledge that if I do happen to make money off a yard sale, I’ll be tempted to stock up and have another, and a yard sale becomes a cocktail for disaster. The same is true of Craigslist and ebay. Both are extended yard sales, with even more chance of disaster in my life. The furniture may go online. The rest is better off donated or recycled.

I do plan to return some things I bought and never used or opened. But a yard sale hasn’t been a realistic solution for me.


The last of the “stuff”

Someone came and loaded their truck with things for the free store today. I didn’t get to weigh it because they were in a hurry. I weighed two things at 50 lbs. There were two end tables that were at least 15 lbs each, a laundry hamper (5), 2 large boxes (25/ea), a sewing machine in it’s cabinet (50), a bicycle (35), 2 large area rugs (20), and sadly 5 gallons of paint…. plus odds and ends. I’d say there was more than 250 pounds. If my guesses are right, that brings me to 1300 pounds that I’ve donated. I sold another bike (50 by the shipping weight). I also shredded and burned three shoe boxes full of old paperwork (10 lbs) and have more than two large boxes of things to go to recycling. I’ll be able to weigh those.

I think I’m going to actually make it to 2000 pounds-a full ton of stuff! I still have to sell a settee/wooden bench, 2 rocking chairs, a gate leg table, give away a queen sized mattress and a couple bed frames, and toss/recycle some other miscellaneous.

One thing is certain: I’ve been a LOT less likely to buy anything since this started. I still struggle not to buy food just because it’s on sale, but with the smaller fridge, that shouldn’t be as much of an issue, either.

1360 pounds and counting… I’m very thankful most of it can be donated, and that of the remainder most can be recycled. It sure makes me think though. That’s a lot of stuff, and keeping it has been senseless. Even after I move completely, I will probably go through some of it a second time, and possibly even a third. Hopefully I’ll be able to move back to Missouri next year, and I do NOT want to drag it all with me!

Tiny fridge: a worthy investment

As readers know, I’ve been concerned about whether a dorm-sized fridge would suit me. There was a power outage last night, and I think I’ll want a dorm sized fridge forever more. The power was off for 2-3 hours when I became concerned. A small fridge, I thought, wouldn’t stay cold as long. I thought it probably wasn’t as well insulated as the larger ones, and that when I opened the door it would warm up more quickly.

I went to the store and bought a bag of ice. I brought it home and put it in the bottom drawer, took a frozen 1/2 gallon of milk from the freezer compartment and placed it on the top shelf, and figured I’d save some things, at least. This morning I went to check it, and realized that during the night, with no power and only a bag of ice and a block of frozen milk, I’d managed to freeze a head of lettuce.

The little fridge should do very nicely.


More than 36 hours later, the ice was still mostly frozen. I left it there. I should save enough on electricity to more than pay for the bag of ice. Interestingly, the original refrigerators, “ice boxes” were built on a similar concept. I just didn’t realize how well it would work in a modern mini fridge.