|The Chronicles of
© 2008 Gail
More about these later:
Ever race? Track, swim, whatever. Remember the coach calling, "On your mark!"
Followed by, "Ready...Get Set..." and then, with a whistle or gun shot, GO!"
That's where we are, not quite on the mark. Today, we consolidated all the blue plastic
bins on the bathroom shelves. One - general stuff; soaps, shampoos, sun screen, tooth
paste and extra brushes. Two - medications, prescription and over-the-counter; Imodium,
Benidryl, Flonase, etc. Three - first aid; bandages, Bacitracin, hydrogen peroxide, etc.
You can't believe the stuff we threw out! Several years ago, I fell for one of those Ponzi
schemes and bought many dollars worth of Nu-Skin cosmetics. I was approaching 60
and was convinced this would turn sun-drained flesh into glowing, vibrant derma. All I had
to do was convince 50 people down the line to get on board. And you wonder why my
father called me "GullibleGail?" That was 16 years ago! I threw it all out today - New
Year's Eve, 2007.
The point is, everything falls into three categories - What do you need to carry
with you? What do you want to have waiting for you when you "land." What can
you do without for the rest of your life.
This relates to clothes, books, CDs, DVDs, photos, cooking utensils, linen, files, well,
Everything! Have you used or worn it in the past two years? No? Dump it.
Now comes the hard part. You know the value of these things, but can you realize it?
Probably not. I've sold antiques and other things on e-Bay for years. I was amazed at
the amount my mother's tea cups brought. I was just as amazed at the puny amounts
really valuable items brought. Many were bought by dealers. Remember, they will mark
everything up 100%, which means they will only pay you 50% of the appraised value. But
also remember, they have a market and will get it sold.
Another avenue is consignment sales. You will likely get more - 70% vs. the 50% of
outright sales. However, it is not "cash in hand," and many consignors will retain the
items if you don't reclaim them within a certain time period.
Auction houses such as Skinner, Christie's or Southeby's are good for exceptional
pieces, but be prepared to pay highly for their services which include transporting,
preparing the item for auction, including professional photography, cataloging, and
The last resort is local: newspaper ads, Craig's List, garage sales. Lots of work, and
most of the buyers are looking for major bargains, so don't expect high returns -
depends on how hard you want to hold the line.
The real question is - How badly do you want to really downsize? Where do you
see yourself at the end of this adventure? Settled in a permanent campground life?
Returning to an apartment or home? Do your children want all your rejects, or have
they accumulated their own "stuff?"
We could easily put everything in storage, but at our age we have to consider the
thought of our children having to claim that storage. Do we really want them to go
through all the decisions we're struggling with now? My mother left a desk crammed with
photos, many of people who died before I was even born. Sure, I loved the picture of
her playing tennis in her long white dress, hair tied up with a flowing white scarf. But
after six months, I regret to say, I scrapped them all. Life is just too short.