Paring Down Program Draws Unexpected Crowd

breenthumbJanuary 17, 2007

I planned to register for this program as soon as registration opened but forgot. Five days later, it was not only full, but 2 more dates had been added and I was one of the last to be accepted! Over 300 people have responded for a small local library program. Lots of other people wondering what to do with "too much stuff." Sandy

IF YOU MOVE TOMORROW, WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH EVERYTHING?

Saturday, January 20

10:30 AM-12:00 noon

For adults

If you need to pare down your own household possessions or that of an older relative before moving, let Dawn Provan, founder of New Dawnings, help you. Ms. Provan, a Nothnagle realtor focusing on the unique needs of seniors, offers valuable advice. REGISTRATION begins Friday, January 5.

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western_pa_luann

"Lots of other people wondering what to do with "too much stuff.""

You either keep it, trash it, sell it or donate it.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 8:00PM
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talley_sue_nyc

I think our consumer economy has created this. That, and our affluence. People just have SO much money! They may think they don't, but they do.

If they had less money, they've buy less stuff. And SO much of what is for sale is just unnecessary--specialized foot-soaking gadgets, cheap decorating frills, etc. You can tell, because it's all going unsold in some yard sale or thrift shop.

I think people also have a very hard time trying to decide what's worth donating, and a hard time steeling themselves to get rid of something.

it is were that easy to do, they'd all do it. It's not that the solution isn't that simple; it is. It's just that actually DOING it goes against something in human nature.

It's like dieting. Losing weight is really simple: move around more; eat less.

but people have a hard time making that happen. And there are different approaches that make it easier (and that work for one person, but not another)

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 9:55AM
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mustangs81

You are so right TS! Especially the part about it being so easy, it's the doing that is hard. I get on a roll of evaluating the necessity of everything I pick up to buy. Then there are times when I go into a trance and find bags of @! in the trunk of my car...things that are totally unnecessary. I say to myself-I could have used that money and I could have used the space, and how about the time I wasted. Then it is compounded because the stuff is new and nice so I can't bring myself to give it away or sell it pennies on the dollar. Example fof purchases: Really nice serving platters, brass urns, oversized picture frames, kitchen appliances and gadgets.

P*$$e$ me off that I don't have more control. I need a 12 step program.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 6:31PM
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minnie_tx

breenthumb This sounds like fun and should be interesting. We will look for a full report when over!!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 6:44PM
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celticmoon

Mustangs, in lieau of a 12 step, try reading Your Money or Your Life. Transforms the cost of things from dollars to hours - coveting that platter, the real question is: would you work X hours (more than you'd think) to own and store it?

I've learned to go to Goodwill when I have an urge to shop. I'll find something delightful, and if it is a mistake - no worries, just donate it right back. And I've supported a great cause!

Looking forward to the report on the seminar, Breenthumb. We all do have too much stuff. I fear the day we will have to pay big to get rid of anything.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 12:03AM
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quiltglo

I started doing this when I was a cocktail waitress at 20 (I'm now 50.) The average tip was twenty-five cents a drink and I would figure out how many drinks I had to hustle for that purchase. Made it much easier to pass.

Gloria

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 1:55AM
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talley_sue_nyc

Once upon a time, I read a science fiction short story about a guy, far in the future, in the age of robots, who married "above himself." He had a lot of stuff, and he married a girl whose parents were so rich that they lived in a log cabin int he woods with no bathroom and only a few sets of clothes.

Bcs of the robots, manufacturing was out of control. And so the poorer you were, the more stuff you were assigned to use up. Once you used up stuff, if you did it fast enough, they gave you LESS stuff to use up. And so on, all the way up (or down?) the social ladder, till you had reached the heights of richness--no stuff.

The poor guy was really embarrassed about his social standing, so he assigned the multitude of robots he was stuck with to do the "using up" for him. Pretty soon, he and his lovely wife had less and less stuff, and his father-in-law stopped being skeptical and slightly scornful.

Sometimes I wonder how far along that spectrum we've come. One of the hallmarks of rich people is that their homes are NOT crowded with quite so much stuff. Poorer people have more stuff in their homes. Probably because poorer people are afraid to throw it away, and richer people know they can afford to buy it again if they need/want it.

But in the "olden days," poor people couldn't have afforded to buy it at ALL!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 9:14AM
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marie26

Talley Sue, what an interesting story! Do you remember the title or who the author is?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 10:07AM
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talley_sue_nyc

I want to say Ray Bradbury was the writer, but I could be wrong. Fred Pohl, maybe? Isaac Asimov? That's who I was mostly reading then. I have a friend I could ask; he's been a book editor in the science fiction arena.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 11:28AM
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talley_sue_nyc

I want to say Ray Bradbury was the writer, but I could be wrong. Fred Pohl, maybe? Isaac Asimov? That's who I was mostly reading then. I have a friend I could ask; he's been a book editor in the science fiction arena.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 11:29AM
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marie26

Thank you, Talley Sue.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 11:58AM
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breenthumb

Thanks all for your interesting food for thought. Its helped me think through why this is so difficult. I think part of the problem I'm having is that I never bought most of these "things" in the first place. They just aren't "me" but I hold fond memories of them growing up. They are from deceased parents and inlaws. I can't just donate things like Mom's wedding present cake plates, crystal(?) fruit bowls, etc. and beautifully carved antique chairs to goodwill. So what I need to do is gather what I can and contact an antique dealer. That way at least I know whoever buys them in the future will value them for what they are. A piece of history, not just something to plop on the table to hold salami.

Please forgive the rambling. I'm still working this out. Thanks, Sandy

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 12:18PM
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mustangs81

TS, What an interesting story, I would love to read that one.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 3:13PM
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susanjn

I'd like to read it, too. It could become the motivational story of this forum. :)

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 8:43PM
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liz_h

talley sue, I love the story!

Sandy, how delightful that you've found a way to free up your homespace that honors your memories. It will be interesting over the next month to see how DH deals with the multitude of his Mom's china, crystal and family antique knick knacks that we have to sort through. I'm choosing to keep quite a lot of it anyway, because I will have the room to store it in the new house. DH & I both have simple tastes, and his Mom's stuff is a bit ornate. It's nice to use every once in awhile and remember her, but it wouldn't quite feel like our home if we had it all out all of the time.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 9:15PM
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Plow_In

Breenthumb & Liz H:
You are both so right.Family things are full of memories and are wonderful to use and remember people with. However, when they change the way you want your house to look, you would do best by storing or giving away. When I inherited lots of antiques from my Mom & Dad, I ended up with Victorian & early 20th century things, but I always wanted a country look. Too bad at this point. Lots of memories, but now have an eclectic look instead of country primative. And my kids want very little of it, and that is what makes it hard for me to pare down. I'm going the way of antique dealers, also.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 10:15PM
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minnie_tx

I think we should just enjoy the things we have and not worry about the "kids" wanting it or not. My kids have their own stuff and I know they don't want mmine.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 2:26AM
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Josh

For those of you with antiques, or just nice pieces from an earlier time, you might want to check with your local historical society. My former hometown had a consignment shop and did a great job researching value and getting the best price for some of our family stuff, plus being located in historic district, had lots of nearby prospective buyers. They also had twice yearly antique shows with dealers renting space in local large facility, which drew a lot of interest. Took a while to sell, but since I wasn't in a hurry, it was a good way to sell, and help out the historic society (if I remember correctly their commission was 20 per cent). I was thrilled with the prices...would have probably let them go to some dealer for far less since I had no idea of worth. (This was before the days of the internet and few ways to find approximate value).

Even if the historic society has no consignnent store, I'd guess some of the members might have a good recommendation re reliable antique dealers. As any of us know from watching Antiques Roadshow, it's almost impossible to know if you've got a valuable whatnot or --not--LOL josh

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 11:29AM
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postum

Breenthumb - I am on the board of my local library - thanks for a great idea for a program! I'm sure one of the local "professional organizers" can be persuaded!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 6:04PM
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breenthumb

Postum, I'll bet it won't take much persuading. Its an opportunity for free advertising, press releases and a target audience for them. I learned of this in the newspaper, not the library.

Josh, wonderful suggestion about the historical society. We have a very active one here and I'm sure they can point me in the right direction, at least to an honest dealer. I'm not looking for profit but, as I said, someone who will appreciate it.

Liz, Plow and Minnie the only pieces not packed away are ones we enjoy using, mostly in the china cabinet for holidays, so it's not really intrusive. I have no intentions of passing anything down to my daughters. One has no room or interest and the other cherishes anything "family" so much her house already overflows with things I absolutely refused to take (still packed up). I'm going to get rid of this excess without even mentioning it. Except for the player piano in the basement. She wants that too, and think she'd notice it was gone.

But I also have the general clutter we all have to deal with which is why I'm looking forward to this program. Its not till mid Feb. but I'll let you know what I learn. Frankly, I think this forum might be more helpful but I can hope. Sandy

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 12:15AM
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minnie_tx

I thought it was this month. Can't wait to hear the results!!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 11:29PM
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breenthumb

Yes, the first one was last Sat. but I got signed up in the 3rd group, Feb. 17. Sandy

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 6:15PM
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