Monday, January 20, 2014

Piles and Piles (warning: lots of “mis-use” of grammar ahead)

What have I been up to in the last two weeks? Other than a one week vacation in Port Aransas from my ‘vacation’ at my parents house, I have been continuing the process of ‘down-sizing’.
In addition to making decisions about what items I really need on my next life adventure, and those that I just want, I have been deciding what to give away to the homeless for my friend’s ingenious birthday party in which we gave coats (and blankets and gloves) to the homeless in Downtown Austin who are sent to the curb when the shelter shuts down at 10:00pm.
One of the piles that has cropped up in my inch by inch sort of my room is the ‘miscellaneous crap’ that isn’t of any value such as old key chains, shirts from old jobs that I once imagined I would quilt or sew into something, pieces of rope, blank notebooks, etc. These items have been fated to the lucky young man at the donation center in Goodwill. Amil read me an article that I haven’t been able to find myself about how Goodwill will take any condition of fabric, beyond the “gently-used” that they advertise. With worn clothing, they’ll send them to 3rd world countries (which sounds really sweet, but actually makes the economy for native clothes-sellers obsolete, thus making third world countries more dependent on hand-outs…). For scrappy things,  they put them all together and  sell them as such, and if that doesn’t sell, or if it’s not good, they supposedly send leftover textiles to a place where they make rags, or use it for stuffing pillows or insulation, or perhaps send it to a company that actually recycles cotton (recycled cotton feels really good, like an old t-shirt, but will last a little longer).
I had a little pile of all those weird, semi-technology things. VHS’s that have been taped over, an LED light keychain that had burned out, and the inside of a greeting card. After a little research on, I found that Best Buy will take almost everything I had, including old CD’s, but they didn’t list old camera’s (unless they were digital), and some of my other misc. items. I was happy to find, however, after driving out of my way to another recycling center that did claim to take everything, but didn’t actually exist, that if you stand in a short line at Best Buy, the cheerful assistant will claim that they take EVERYTHING in the box, and bring it on back. What happens after that, I can only guess, but for now… I have done my work.  (Maybe when I get sponsored to live A Year without Trash chronicling my life of avoiding waste, I’ll dig a little deeper).
I had a large pile of media- DVD’s, VHS, and books that I thought might be worth some money. I say large pile, but it probably only included about 30 things, compared to the 50 or so books I brought to Half Price Books a few years ago on my first stage of Operation Reduce. (I was a lot more connected to stuff then… thankfully, I’ve outgrown my pack-rat tendencies…). I brought my lot to ½ price, and made out with $15! Not bad, considering they probably couldn’t sell half of it. Like Goodwill, Half Price sends their unsellable merch overseas, though I’m not aware of the economic downfalls of sending literature to 3rd world countries. Since then, though, I’ve filled another crate with books, these I’m hopefully going to make more $ on.
I have two, er, three more piles (at least worth mentioning in this blog). A little pile of stuff that I’ve created that I don’t really want (like purses) that I’m either going to try to sell on Etsy, or give away (anyone want a purse?) A much larger pile of stuff is all the clothes that I don’t wear anymore that are actually kind of cute, trendy and don’t have holes (hence the reason I don’t wear them anymore, hehe). Buffalo Exchange will usually take some stuff, but they can be picky, so I have a back-up plan of another consignment shop. If none of that sells, I might try to list a few things on ebay, but the rest will be destined to that poor goodwill clerk.
Although there is one more, much bigger pile… I will end the blog here for today, and leave you in suspense, as am I, about what my crap is worth tomorrow. Oooh, we’ll see!
Part 2 I’m back after two half-day Austin adventures! And I have some news of progress in the way of my down-sizing.
My last pile is actually a whole room. I should have taken before and after pictures of my closet so you could be as amazed as my father at how much I could fit in there. It was literally wall to wall and floor to ceiling in some places, but remarkably, as of today, there is a floor, and an empty spot on the shelves. (Also remarkable is that the shelves are still standing after the 100 or so pounds of collectibles I’ve had on them). When I was young I was interested in a lot of things. I had an interest in nature that was nurtured to an extent, but I could tell there was a clear value given to things. In fact, I remember my mom or grandma saying once that I “HAVE to collect SOMETHING.” And so it began: Rings, posters, old alcohol bottles, incense, Barbies and dolls (though those were just given to me) snow globes and Elvis memorabilia. And those were just the collections that could be categorized. I also had a pretty good collection of just…stuff… birthday presents, gifts from other countries, misc. candy, notes from friends etc. When my parents moved while I was in college, all this crap got wrapped up and put in boxes in what was to become my room…and there it has stayed as I graduated, and held jobs all over the country, and moved in and out of the house with my fiancé.
It wasn’t until this opportunity, the ol’ “Between jobs” schtick, that I’ve had a chance to sort through it all. In the past I had vowed to keep it all until “some other time,” and if I imagine any other time than no, I picture myself chunking ALL of it in a box for Goodwill…so I am thankful that I have the time to sort through things, pause on the sentimentality of it, then try to sell it. I have listed a few things on ebay—my graphing calculator and signed Chevelle Cd made me the most so far (though nothing to make a living off of, for sure). I have a few Elvis items that don’t look too promising, and I’ve sold some boxing gloves and a coat. 

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