Cleaning Out

We have been whirl-winding through our​ house, getting rid of stuff we don’t need. Recently there has been a focus in the garage, which is mostly my stuff. I fix cars out there a lot and it is a source of income, so I do have a lot of equipment. It’s really hard for me to let go of tools knowing that at some point I was stuck and needed to buy a tool to finish the job. 

I was able to let go of a lot recently though and consolidated several tool boxes into one big one.  There are times when we will spend money in order to consolidate. Clutter is the enemy. It results in wasted time cleaning and reorganizing with a result of trying to make it look like you don’t have the stuff, so why have it?  

Many times you can get rid of a few items that serve the same purpose and replace them with one that you do really like. You can probably sell the old items and get some money for that new one. 

Do not fool yourself into trying to justify why you don’t want to sell something because of how much you paid for it originally. If it was a piece of electronics like a computer, you certainly paid a lot more than it’s worth now if you bought it new. If you aren’t doing anything with whatever the item is, don’t worry about how much you bought it for or how much you will lose on the sale, just get rid of it. It’s just adding to the clutter and stress that you don’t need. 

Remember that your health is priority one. When you die, your euligy isn’t going to include any kind words about your AMG Mercedes or your MK purse. Nobody really cares about that shit. 

So try to focus on what will improve the quality of your life, not what will make you more lazy. This is all about weighing your needs and wants, and if you do want to downsize in some areas, you’ll have to decide whether spending some money will actually make you feel better outside of that original purchase buzz. 

Our Kids and Stuff

We took a look around and saw that our house is crawling with toys. The funny thing is that Darth only consistently plays with a few toys. He loves his Bruder construction vehicles, Hess Trucks, Hot Wheels, remote controlled monster truck, and Legos. Other new toys get about 15 minutes of play before they end up in a junk bin stashed in the basement. We had about five if these junk bin filled with pieces of toys, little shit toys like you’d get in a happy meal. 

We made a deal with our son that if he donate or sold what was in those junk bins that he barely blayed with, he could buy one nice toy that he would really like. 

He went for it and we got rid of several of those toy bins. He got the remote controlled monster truck that we like playing with together. We bring it on walks in the neighborhood and in the woods at the park. He has something he really gets use out of instead of the trinket toys. The hard part is getting other people to stop bringing this stuff into our house. 

It was a good way to consolidate​. Less clutter feels better. 

Get Rid of It!

Here is a screenshot of what cleaning out some junk got me on eBay in the last two months. 


This is some stuff that was doing nothing for me. It added nothing to my life. 

Here is a shot of some recent Craigslist action. 

You are sitting on a gold mine, I’m tellin’ ya!  There is currently $250 worth of stuff sitting on there right now waiting for someone to snatch up. What would have done with these things?  What do you do with things you don’t use anymore?

I love these win-wins, when you get rid of junk and make money doing it. 

The apps make it so easy to list items too. You just take a picture of what you are selling and it walks you through the posting process. Setting up an account is easy too. 

Craigslist buyers can be easy to deal with or awful. There are a lot of scams out there and they list some of the signs in their site. 

Start to price your items by searching to see what other people are trying to get for theirs. I have a rule where I won’t meet up with anyone for under $20. It’s just not worth the hassle. I usually bring the sub-$20 items to work and give them away. 

Just meet up with the buyers or sellers somewhere public and only deal with cash. Don’t feel pressured to sell something just because they are offering you “$100 cash.” I hate when people say that as a part of their low ball offers. What the hell did they think you would accept other than cash?  It doesn’t sweeten the deal in any way. Also be prepared to be peppered with these lowball offers by throngs of idiots. 

eBay on the other hand is much easier to deal with when it comes to the buyers and sellers.  The only downside is that you have to package and ship the items when they sell and you have a feedback rating. If you sell busted stuff, you’ll get negative feedback and you’ll have a hard time selling anything else. Timeliness and service are important as well. It’s sort of like your own little business, and it actually is for many people. I’m proud to have 102 eBay sales with 100% positive reviews. Oh, you’ll also want to set up a PayPal account if you’re going to be using eBay. That’s easy to do too when you get to their site. 

Homework: Get eBay, PayPal, and Craigslist accounts then find one $20 item you can sell. It’ll be like the first time you smoked crack all over again. Cripes, I hope you weren’t able to make a strong connection there. 

Go!

Renting vs Buying

Understanding the concept of depreciation and resale value can help you decide whether you should buy, rent, or borrow something. 

Let’s use a tile saw for example. The big box stores rent them for about $40/day. A quick search shows that you can buy one for between $50 and $300 from various easy to access stores. You want to ask yourself how often you are going to use one of these things and​ do you want to store it?

Some of you may already be thinking that buying one would be the way to go here because you could sell it after and still beat the rental cost. This is a good thought, but there might be a better option, or two. 

Clearly, if you know someone with one, you could ask them to borrow it and give them some beers, wine, whatever. If that’s not an option, then looking used is probably your best bet. 

Knowing that the second you use that new saw, it’s value will plummet, you will still be losing out on max value here. Fast depreciation is a problem with new purchases.  I wouldn’t imagine it would be hard to sell, but who knows. 

Now, searching on Craigslist shows that there are a bunch of used units ranging from $30-300. Some appear to be industrial units but keep in mind, these are the depreciated values here. After a one time use, you will likely be able to sell it for damn bear what you paid or possibly even more because someone else took​ the depreciation hit, just like with cars. 

I’d go for that cheap $30 one and try to sell it for $40. 

Likely Results? -$10 to +$10 (buying used and selling) vs -$40 (rent) vs -$60 to -$300 (new) vs -$20 to -$100 (buying new and selling). 

Ok, so i made up those numbers, but the point is that you have more options than buying or renting. Always remember that you can sell something after you’re done with it to recoup some, or more than all of your money. 

Don’t underestimate the value in selling things that you have no use for anymore. 

Mo’ Money Less Problems

Knowing that a lot of life’s stress revolves around your bills and your job, only an idiot would think that having more money would create more problems.

Cripes, the fact that the vast majority of the country has to work forty hours a week to SURVIVE should be an indication that money is the problem.

People who complain that the lottery winnings get taxed like crazy and you actually “only” walk away with half of that 100 million, just don’t get it. Get me a million bucks and I’m done with the race forever.

Getting a hold on you finances is the key to less “problems” and I believe that financial independence and having no debt is the pillar of happiness, allowing you to do whatever the hell you want with your time.

Someone actually told me that they weren’t interested in retiring early because they liked working…

Here are some other phrases that make me cringe:

– If you make more, you just spend more

– I’ll be paying that off for the rest of my life anyway

– It was on sale, so I couldn’t pass it up

– This might be my only chance to buy a new car

– I’m not going to go without in order to save money

There are flaws in all of those statements if you are trying to live more simply and save more money, or are even interested in freeing up your life to di what you want.

Being a regular follower of this site, you can identify what those issues are, can’t you?

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Starting to Declutter

Being surrounded can be stressful, even when what is surrounding you is your own stuff.  What a mess.  You feel like you’re always cleaning up and organizing.  The problem is that there is too much to begin with.  You can keep reorganizing as much as you want but that stuff will not stay where you want it.

If you think it feels good to organize, I can say that it feels better to get rid of that crap you keep on having to mess with.

A great place to start is your junk drawer.  Have you used anything in there in the past six months?  What is that stuff?  Bring the trash can right over to it and start getting rid of things from inside.

Next, move to your night stand or where ever you put things before bed.  That stand might also have drawers on it full of junk you haven’t used in  years.

That’s honestly a good start.  Forcing yourself to really decide if you need to hang on to those chincy trinkets you’ve kept “just in case.”

You might even find something that you get to list on craigslist or eBay and make a few bucks out of it.

Start with the small and easier decisions.  It will feel pretty good.

Set Your Goals and Timelines

I think that one of the primary reasons people with good intentions of getting ahead fail to do so is because they don’t put time-frames on their goals. If you don’t do this, you could be chasing your goals to your funeral.

Decide if your main goal is to pay off a loan, become debt free, retire early, whatever.  Then, do what I mentioned in Where to Start and get everything written down and calculate how long it will take you to pay off each debt using the snowball principal. There is your timeline. If you aren’t hitting those goals, something is wrong. Maybe life happened, but it’s always going to, so don’t let that be your excuse. If something comes up that saps some of your money unexpectedly, try to find a way to make up that cash another way. Do some odd jobs, sell some of your junk, downgrade a big ticket item, do something. 

You want to stay on course with this and slacking or telling yourself you’ve got time won’t work. Don’t make the mistake of telling yourself you have your whole life to get ahead or that’s exactly how long it will take you to get there.