Sunday, July 19, 2009

Shedding The Excess... and Now What?

This weekend was wildly successful in getting rid of "stuff". I started with a truck bed chock full of things to sell and came back with roughly 1/3 of it. The rest of it is going to be pared down by donation and there will be a few things that I will try once again to put on Craigslist or put on eBay.

I did a lot of people watching and saw a lot of consumer behavior at work during our rummage sale. It was so fascinating! There were a few people that literally could not walk away without buying something! They even expressed that sentiment out loud. Clearly there was nothing that they really wanted during the first go around, but they walked down the sidewalk again to check the tables in order to find something that they just "needed". One lady was so bothered by having fifty cents in leftover change that she stood at the table for a good five minutes to ponder what the best purchase at that table was for money.

On some level, watching people with this behavior was quite the painful reflection. I used to be like that. I never had that behavior at garage sales, but I would if there were loads of clearance racks at the department store. I would talk myself into buying stuff that I definitely didn't need but just wanted because "it was such a good deal". How many of us fell into that trap?

Over on the Get Rich Slowly blog, JD posted a blog today about impulse spending. I could really relate. The old me used to spend most of my paycheck at the retail establishment I worked at. Their clothes weren't of good quality and it was very seasonal trendy, not classic. I shudder to think how much money I spent durning my days of working retail. Those experiences did however make me who I am today. My only debt is a student loan. I shop with much restraint and don't buy anything that isn't on sale or a reduced price 95% of the time. This isn't a fad lifestyle for me because of the "bad economy". This is my life... for good and I love it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Shedding The Excess

I have gotten to the point where my extra stuff just has to go. I am tired of looking at it even if it is in a separate room to itself! I have been shedding and purging to the point where I am looking in places high and low to find more stuff let go of. This time is more of a cathartic ritual for some reason. Maybe it was because of all the deaths in my family last year. Possibly the downturn in the economy and the subsequent shift of collective culture in living more simply spurned this. Who knows.

I'm always inspired by David Bruno's 100-Thing Challenge but wonder if I could ever truly get there myself. There is more than likely at least 100 things going out for sale tomorrow alone! These were things that I was never in love with. That is probably a good thing since I have been pondering the notion of attachment since I took an interest in learning about Buddhism.

I look forward to shedding this excess and in turn, slowing down. I know I will still keep sorting and processing, as I am a creature of ever evolving nature. I will keep growing and learning. The tools and possessions of the past will be let go of as needed.

Change is all around and I am glad to be caught up in it for once.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cashing in on Trash

A few weeks ago, I was driving home and pulling up to my house as I noticed that my neighbors had a Dyson vacuum cleaner sitting on the curb for trash day. I was somewhat struck with horror that someone would be throwing out a vacuum that costs over$300! After I went into my house for a few minutes, I decided to walk over and see what was up with the gem on the curb. My neighbor was throwing it out because it "lost suction". Oh, the irony. She had tried to fix it but gave up and just got another one for Christmas. She told me to take it if I wanted and have it serviced so it I could have a nice little vacuum. Hmm.

Well I didn't need another vacuum and didn't feel like going down the customer service/parts/repair route. I knew it had value though. So since I am an unemployed student at the moment, I put it on Craigslist for $25. That was probably the easiest $25 I have ever made but it still bothers me that people are such casual disposers of valuable items. I once found 6 all wooden chairs by a dumpster. I sold them on Craigslist for $15. Too easy.

Why is our American society so throwaway? Why do so many people feel no responsibility for what they junk? It is becoming increasingly difficult to sit back and not take some sort of action to take care of other people's problems.

Or maybe I just have too much time on my hands.