Thursday, August 24, 2006

Even harder than I thought it would be

I knew this project would be hard. Knew it because I know how attached I get to stuff, how emotionally invested I am. Knew it because I know how hard it is to find the time to wade through all the things I don't need. Knew it because I know what an aggravation it is to get things ready to give or to sell.

But I had no idea that even once I readied myself emotionally, made tough decisions, and actually organized myself to get rid of things, even then some of the stuff wouldn't leave. Because apparently, nobody wants it.

It started with an antique table I listed on craigslist last week. I immediately had two bites - one was a scam and the other never wrote back after I sent her more pics. I know I shouldn't expect it to sell immediately. But now I realize I could be looking at this old table, in my way in my study, for a long time.

It's a beautiful old drop-leaf pine table, from the early 1800s. My Old Man and I bought it in Georgia three years ago, our first antique purchase, with the idea that it was a good investment (in addition to be functional and handsome). We thought that, given how old it was (it even comes with a little typed card taped to the underneath, telling its history), that it would hold or even increase its value. It felt romantic and adventurous to buy it. Two years later, with twin toddlers in the house, we realized it was no longer practical, nor would it stay handsome much longer if we didn't get it out of their reach. I've advertised it for somewhat less than we paid, because in three years' time it has gotten a couple of scratches and watermarks. I'm willing to lose money, but I'd still like to get something. I'd been hesitant to take it to a dealer, because I assume I'd only get (at best) about 65% of whatever they sold it for. Should I just suck it up and take a huge loss, or should I persist in trying to sell it myself? Any advice?

Then I resolved to get rid of several big things all at once. It was stuff I knew would take too much effort to sell considering the return I'd probably get, so I thought I'd donate it somewhere and get a nice tax-deduction. I got everything ready to go - a double bed with mattress and box springs, a double bed frame with headboard and footboard, a big mirror, a big dining table, a recliner. I called Purple Heart. They call every month wanting to see if I have anything they can come pick up. Turns out they don't take furniture.

Then I gathered and sorted some things for freecycle. No takers. That's the first time that's happened. I mean, really, who doesn't want free stuff?

And I've got a ton of stuff I refuse to just give away - nice things like cloth diapers, maternity clothes, baby and toddler clothes. Stuff I really need to list on eBay or prepare for my Parents of Multiples clothing sale. But it just takes so much freakin' time and energy to get everything cleaned up, take pictures, do pricing, do the listing, not to mention go to the post office to mail things once they've sold. And we all know I'd rather be knitting.

I did take one nice size box of stuff to the church for their fall rummage sale. It included the seven things I listed on Saturday, plus a number of other things. Right now, though, that seems like the tiniest drop in a whole bucket of stuff I want out of my life.


Blogger yakmidi said...

Well, the stuff you don't need to get money for, you can bring to us for our garage sale to benefit the Ann Arbor chapter of the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation. If you are interested in doing this, e-mail me soon, because the garage sale is tomorrow!

Other than that, I'm not sure what to say. Except that yet another reason to not accumulate clutter is that when you come to your senses years later, it will be hard to get rid of. Call it a learnable moment. Or something.


9:20 AM  
Blogger Pamela said...

Hugs to you!! It IS hard to do this but i have so much extra stuff that I don't need or use that so far it's been easy for me.
Do you have a small city paper that you can put an ad in for free??
We have a section of our paper for "free stuff" and it's free to put in the paper too.
I hope you find a new home for your stuff.

6:30 PM  
Blogger hipgal said...

We had the exact same problem with an antique dropleaf table! We bought it several years ago, because we needed a table and thought is would hold its value well. We don't have room for it now, and I tried Craigslist to no avail. We recently brought it to an auction house, but they said they estimated the table and two chairs at $60. (SIGH!) I think we paid around $500 for the set. The auctioneers said that dropleaf tables are not popular right now and they have way too many of them. We didn't end up auctioning them, but I don't know where we will put them. Right now they are in the garage, poor things. :(

8:19 PM  

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