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Clutter Free Academy Podcast # 407
How Do I Get Rid of Good Stuff?
Kathi – Well, hey friends. Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small, doable steps to live everyday with less clutter and more life. We’re in the midst of a really fun series right now. In order to put me on the spot, put me in the hot seat, we have our very own Tonya Kubo. Hey, Tonya.
Tonya – Hey, Kathi.
Kathi – So, you’re asking me all the hard questions.
Tonya – Yes, and it’s so much fun.
Kathi – Okay, good. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. So, this is our second in the series. What is the hard question you get from all of our friends over at Clutter Free Academy?
Tonya – How Do I Get Rid of the Good Stuff?
Kathi – Okay, so what does that mean? Because, if you want to get rid of it, how good can it be?
Tonya – Well, you know us cluttery people, right?
Kathi – I do. I’m one of you.
Tonya – You know, we see these things, and it’s like, “It’s too nice to give away. It’s too nice to throw away. I could make money off of this.” Right? Let me give you a few real life examples from our Clutter Free Academy community. So, there’s homeschooling curriculum.
Kathi – Oh my, goodness. Yes.
Tonya – That stuff’s expensive.
Kathi – It is expensive.
Tonya – Then there is art supplies, craft supplies. That stuff isn’t cheap, either.
Kathi – No, it’s not.
Tonya – The Cricut? That is a pricy piece of equipment
Kathi – I just bought that for my daughter for Christmas this past year.
Tonya – So, you can appreciate that money does not grow on trees. That things is a little bit of a chunk of somebody’s wallet. Then there’s the stuff for the kids. You know? There is the sugar cube machine kits. Those are not cheap.
Kathi – Right! But haven’t you used that?
Tonya – There’s always the buy one get one free. You’ve got little kids, and you’re like, “Should I hold on to that for five years?” Should you sell it on a Facebook group? Should you eBay it? Do you put it in a yard sale? There’s so many things that are just too good. The dishes that aren’t practical, and let’s just be honest, this is a personal example. I had really nice, really expensive dishes I got for my wedding. It never occurred to me to pay attention to the dinner plate measurements and my cupboard measurements.
Kathi – Well, who would?
Tonya – Yeah, so there was this two inch overhang, so my cupboards never closed. But they were expensive!
Kathi – Also, were they everyday dishes, or were they just when the Queen came to visit?
Tonya – No, they were everyday dishes.
Kathi – Oh, okay, good.
Tonya – But you need to keep them to remind myself how dumb I was to not check the dimensions.
Kathi – Who does that even occur to? Who makes dishes that can’t fit into cupboards? I don’t even understand.
Tonya – So those are some real life examples.
Kathi – So this is going to be the most unhelpful statement ever, but let me expound upon it. It’s up to each person. Here’s what I mean by that. There are some people who are great at garage sales. There are some people who are great at selling stuff online. If you have tried to do that and you know you’re not good at it. Like, you forget to mail the things after people paid you? That’s not good. You set up for a garage sale and you make $92. $92 isn’t bad, but is it worth a whole day to you? For some people, it is. When I was a sales rep, I worked for a candle company. I would go put candles in all these drug stores and everything like that. Sometimes they would start to get faded or something like that. So, I would take those back, and I was allowed to sell them. I had to mark them so they couldn’t be taken back to the store, but I had a garage sale where I made a thousand dollars. So, would I tell anybody, “No, you shouldn’t have a garage sale.”? No, absolutely not. We really needed that thousand dollars. But, is a garage sale the right solution for everybody? So, if you’re super broke and you have some good stuff that is garage sale appropriate? So, kids’ clothes that are in good condition. Kids’ toys. Things like that. Maybe some furniture. I think garage sales are great for changes in life. You’ve moved someplace, or you’re going to move some place and you need to get rid of a bunch of stuff. Or, your kids have outgrown all the stuff. I did a garage sale when I went through a divorce because I needed money then. I think garage sales are great for changes in life. Now, if you have enough stuff for a good garage sale every year, I think you have a problem. I think you are buying too much stuff, probably. At a garage sale, you’re going to recoup, maybe, 10% of what you bought.
Tonya – If you’re lucky.
Kathi – If you’re lucky. So, I think you have to know what you’re good at. There are people who are great at finding things at a thrift store and selling them on Facebook, but let me ask you. What is your objective? Is your objective to start a business, or is your objective to get clutter free? If your objective is to get clutter free, let me gently help you consider that most of your stuff should be given away. I really think that, for most of us, depending on the financial situation we’re in, we need to get rid of stuff so that, one: we have more room in our houses. We know that clutter equals depression and we don’t want that for our members here. Also, I just think that there’s a lot of time and energy that goes into selling. There are people who do it really well, but then there’s the rest of us. So, we do a lot of things on Freecycle. Here is the thing. The good stuff we’ve given away, we’ve given away to people in need. People who are on Freecycle aren’t just looking for bargains. They’re looking for furniture for their kids. These are single moms, oftentimes. We’ve given away some really good stuff. Even if it’d recouped 25% of that cost, I’d rather give it to the person who absolutely needs it. So, to think about it that way helps me. You look skeptical.
Tonya – I’m just thinking of my own personal experiences. Since we’ve been on this clutter free journey, we did not have much disposable income when we started. Life is very different for us now, but even back then, Brian and I had a really long conversation. What is the priority? The priority, at that time, was space in our home. This wasn’t from me. I was still stuck in fear, guilt and shame related to clutter that I couldn’t see it, but he was the one who had the wisdom to say, “We just have to trust God. We have to have the faith that if we release this stuff, somehow, somewhere it’s all going to come back. When we need it, we’re going to have it.” We have released so much stuff out into the world in the last five or six years. There’s never been a time where I was like, “Oh, I should have kept that third Crockpot.”
Kathi – Right. Exactly.
Tonya – “Oh, that blender!” Even at the beginning. We got rid of a lot of baby stuff that was still in the packaging. It was something we really needed and then the age just never worked out. We looked at the brand and we couldn’t really remember what store it came from to see if it’s still returnable. I’m part of a MOPS group so I was like, “Does anyone need this one thing? It’s still in the boxes.” I remember somebody from our church reached out to me and said, “Hey. Do you still have that stuff?” They were looking for the booster seat. They were looking for the swing. They were looking for a high chair. I was like, “I still have that stuff and one thing’s been out of the box, blah blah blah.” Met them in a parking lot. It was like, their sister whose daughter just had a baby and it was all this stuff. They were like, “What do you want for it?” And I’m like, “This is the thing: I don’t clean it. I don’t take money for it.”
Kathi – Right. Exactly.
Tonya – She was like, “Yeah, but you saved me a trip to the store.” And she gave me cash. It wasn’t expected, but you know what? It was the exact number that I needed right then and there. It always works out for me. So, I always appreciate when people say, “I need the money.”
Kathi – Absolutely. If you need the money and you’re good at it? Here’s what I think a lot of times happens. We spend the money, then we feel guilty about the money we spent on the new thing, so we try to recoup it with the old thing. That economy just doesn’t work out. Yes, a car. You know what? I want you to get money for a car. A house? I want you to get money for your house. There are certain baby items that are very expensive, but if you’re trying to recoup on an Old Navy t-shirt for your three year old? I just think your time is worth more than that. Again, if you are financially strapped (and I have been that person at times) I don’t know that selling your stuff is the best use of your time. Could you be doing something else? Could you be cutting back on other expenses? The time it takes to sell something, unless you have a knack for that, I don’t think you’re ever going to recoup. I would rather, instead of you ordering out a pizza, you make one from scratch; you learn how to do that. ‘Cause once you learn to make a pizza from scratch, you know how to do it for the rest of your life. That saves you $15-20 every Friday night as a treat for your kids. It’s a different perspective. Again, maybe you have a friend who’s a whiz at selling stuff online. Find that person. If your child has just grown out of all their 2T-4T things and you have one of those baby resale things? They’re very picky, so make sure things are in excellent condition, but don’t keep stuff around forever thinking that someday you’ll be able to resell it. Resell it as soon as you’re done with it, but understand your focus. Are you trying to reclaim space or are you trying to reclaim money?
Tonya – I think that’s huge. I think for most of us, we want the space and I’m going to take us briefly off track. We want the space, but we feel guilty about that. We feel like it’s decadent to choose space over cash.
Kathi – So let me ask you this: Can you, and I’m not asking Tonya this, I’m asking the listener. Can you trust God that that thing was in your hand for you to use in that time and space, and that somebody else needs it, and that God can get it into the right hands? That’s how I have to look at it. The other question is: If you’re objective is to get rid of stuff, I want you to do it in the fastest way possible. I think us cluttery people come up with a million reasons why we can’t get rid of the thing. “I don’t want to give it to Good Will because x amount of money goes to their CEO and I’d rather give it to charity.” So, it sits in your car until the charity that’s open from 2-3 on Tuesdays lines up on your schedule. I want you to get that out of your house. You know what? A lot of good has been done through Good Will, so I would love for you to be able to get rid of something. The main objective is to get it out of your house so you can reclaim that space. Now, if your objective is to make money, find out what other people have done with similar items. If you’re part of MOPS, find out what other people have done with their baby stuff. If you are getting rid of books, what have other people done? Go to the experts. I’ve got rid of a lot of things on Nextdoor which is an app. A lot of people charge for that stuff. We tend to just give things away for free, because we’re like, “We’ve got a deadline. We want to get this out of our house.” But I have to tell you, except for one encounter, we’ve always had delightful encounters from people Nextdoor who were so appreciative. So, I love that. Figure out what your objective is. If it’s to make money, find somebody who’s doing it well and learn from them. I think that is what’s going to help you be able to focus in a way that’s going to help you. If you need to bring money in right now? Know that, but know that you can’t have that be your goal and decluttering at the same time.
Tonya – I think that’s fair. It’s fair. It’s reasonable. I get, for our listeners, it makes a lot of sense. It’s a competing priority.
Kathi – It is, and that’s okay to understand that. Maybe there’s a room in your house. If you’ve got extra space, you can do this. That’s wonderful. My garage was 90% candles at one point. You know what? At the time, my priority, even though I was super cluttery, was “We need to make money. We need to make our mortgage.” ‘Cause my husband was unemployed. So, huzzah! We were able to do that. So, no judgement, but if you’re part of Clutter Free Academy, my guess is, you want to get rid of clutter. You guys have all heard my tennis shoes story, where we went to Good Will looking for tennis shoes for Justin, and there was a brand new pair there. They just happened to fit him, and I just think, “I’m just so grateful to the person who says, ‘I can get rid of these, even with the tags on them, because I know somebody else can use them.’” What a gift that was to me. So, I may be a little prejudice here, but that’s my goal.
Tonya – I think that’s great. Well, thank you for addressing this question because I think that it’s tough. It’s tough to feel like you have the right to free space to the point where it’s okay to get rid of nice things.
Kathi – Yeah. Just having been the recipient of nice things, when I had no money to buy nice things? I’m so grateful for people who are in that position. I’ve been the person who, somebody lent me shoes for a bridesmaid’s dress. They happened to be the same size and style. It was a miracle. I’ve been that recipient, so I’m really grateful for those people. But there’s no shame in saying, “I need the money right now and I have to wait on the decluttering.” Declutter other stuff, then. Stuff that you don’t need that won’t bring in money. Well, friends, we are so grateful that you’ve been with us today. I would love for you to tell me in the comments, right now, what is more important? The money or the space? I think that would be very interesting. Also, for two of you, we’re going to pick from those comments, and we’re going to give you a copy of my new book, The Clutter Free Home. So, I’ll be anxious to hear, where our people land on all of that.
Tonya – I love this.
Kathi – You guys, you’ve been listening to Clutter Free Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. I’ve been here with Tonya Kubo. Now, go create the clutter free life you were always intended to live.
*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned items