For those of you who just read The Ultimate in De-cluttering Part I, here is the sequel The Ultimate in De-cluttering Part II. I’m sending both on the same day so nobody needs to be waiting in suspense. Also, we’ve been rearranging our apartment to make better use of the space. My hope is to write about the adventure and to talk about what has transpired six years later in regards to our stuff.
Flashback to the end of July 2010:
So the lift came this week. We had our A, B, and C lists. A was ‘priority’, B was ‘maybe’, and C was ‘not taking’.
I wanted to speak a moment about each one. The ‘A list’ was beds, bedding, linens, clothing, dining room table, and certain playthings like legos, our Little Tykes kitchen, and bicycles.
It also included seforim, Judaica items, and art, plus favorite English books.
Even these items got pared down. It is a process to do so. You can’t just hack your bookcase in half. I can compare it shredding a block of cheese: shave a little bit off at a time. We must have gone thought the books at least five times, and only the absolute favorites made that final cut to be kept and put on the list. Same with the clothes and toys. You must ask yourself “Is this it really worn or played with?” Take a child’s puzzle for example. If you say to yourself, “Well, they might play with it on Shabbos.”, then it is a ‘not taking’. If they aren’t already not playing with it on Shabbos, then get rid of it. You have precious little space.
The ‘B list’ was the maybe category. If the breakfront or futon or whatever fits, then it comes, if not then no.
The ‘C list’ was the ‘not taking’ category. It can be things from the ‘B list’ you didn’t take or just things you already know you aren’t taking.
After all was said and done (lift packed and loaded) Hashem is the one who has a big part in this when it comes to which of your items will sell.
Of course, you want to make as much money off your items as possible because you of course paid ‘good money’ for everything and want a return investment. These days, however, many people aren’t parting with their cash. If you have a yard sale, hang up a sign in the major intersections near you. Of our four sales, that is the one thing that brought them in. Do this especially if your residence is not on a street with a lot of traffic. If you post on Craiglist or luach.com, post each item separately and with a photo. When we listed ‘furniture for sale’ few responses. Posting with a photo per item brought in buyers. There is also the Freecycle yahoo group, but everything must be free.
At some point, you get tired of dealing with people. They say they are coming and don’t need to reschedule multiple times to come by. If you are used to people of similar demographics of yourself, you may be shocked by who walks in your front door. We keep a tzniusdik home, so when people come in wearing a style of dress your kids may not be used to seeing, you may want your kinderlach elsewhere in the house. If you have a thrift store charity, schedule one or more pickups. It is a lot easier to shlep it outside than to shlep to your car again and again.
Remember to get a receipt.
Here is a feel-good story about our stuff that didn’t sell regardless of doing the things I mentioned above. A family needed to return last-minute from Israel for family or personal reasons. Everything was left in Israel minus their clothing and silverware, and an entire household needed to be reestablished in the states. We were able to unload almost everything that didn’t sell to them like furniture and housewares. Knowing this was a big chesed and mitzvah was better than any potential money we would have made. Since it was the evening before the lift, it was a huge favor to us, as we wanted all those things out of the way when the movers came in the morning. This is where you realize Hashem has a say in the matter regarding your things.
My final thought to mention is the morning of the lift, you are most likely sleep-deprived and stressed. When the truck showed up, all emotional attachments to anything on the B or C list disappeared and things just got tossed in the trash or put aside for the thrift store, as there was no more time to potchke about.
All I can say is that I feel so free! So uncluttered! Packing for Aliyah has been the best de-cluttering event of my life.
-Karen, The Klutter Koach
June 5, 2016 (originally written July 2010)