The Line Between Stuff and Junk

Part of the moving process for us is downsizing. Smaller living quarters, lower costs, fewer cars, and less “stuff.” Meg is in the process of sorting through the “stuff” right now, both in our house and in our storage unit. We eventually want to get down to a neat, tidy life for two vibrant empty-nesters with room for the kids to come visit. But part of that will involve getting rid of many things that don’t fit into our life anymore.

Fortunately, ours was never this bad...
Fortunately, ours was never this bad…

So there are 4 piles: stuff we’re giving to one or the other of the boys, who are staying in the Midwest; junk; stuff we’ll keep and take to Portland with us; and finally, stuff we can sell.

Selling it is my job.

With computer-related tasks being one category of things I actually can do from 1800 miles away, I am spending a lot of time lately putting stuff up on CraigsList and eBay to see what kind of coin we can rake in from some of the more practical things that we won’t need, and which are firmly on the good side of the line between “stuff” and “junk”. So far, the list is pretty unusual.

There are some basics, like the couch and love seat set, and the accompanying end/coffee tables. Too big for any apartment, so off it goes. Similarly, the papasan chair that our son loved dearly while he had room for it. But he won’t have room in the dorm, nor will we in the new place. Buh-bye…

Filing cabinets, the chest freezer, some very tall and sturdy bookshelves. All practical and still of some value to somebody, or so we think. Most of that stuff is gone already.

Then the list starts to go slightly askew. A brand new in the box ceiling fan that we bought for some room, at some point, for some reason. Never installed it. A dimmer switch with remote control — probably to install in the room with the ceiling fan — never even opened the package. A bike rack/carrier for the trunk of your car, that I’m certain I had some use for at one point, but never actually used.

Two pairs of rollerblades. Two pair of women’s shoes. Toddler-sized water-shoe/sandals, never worn a day. No takers yet on any of these.

We have a Wii. I mean, we know that somewhere in the stack of debris within which Meg and the kids are living there exists a Wii — we just can’t find it. We can find all the games, all the controllers, all the accessories, even the instructions. But no actual Wii. If and when that shows up, we’ll sell that too.

There is some stuff we’re still using that we’ll try to get some cash for later: a sectional couch with a sleeper sofa and 2 ottomans; and a 36″ tube television that weighs about 1250 lbs.

Miscellaneous parts from Matt’s old drum set; a flatbed scanner that dates back to the late 20th century; and my well-loved but totally impractical to try to ship out west, Weber kettle barbecue. Dangerously close to crossing over from “stuff” to “junk” here, methinks.

But the one that made me chuckle the most was this. At a certain point I got sick of the firewood pile sliding down and falling over and making me clean it up every 3 or 4 days. So I grabbed some lumber I had up in the rafters and built a firewood rack. Got some cheap casters from the hardware store so it would roll nicely, and they had brakes on them so the thing would stay put when I parked it. Ugly as heck, heavy as a fridge, and nicely beaten up by gently-tossed firewood.

Some guy actually gave me 20 bucks for it.

We’re only about halfway through the storage unit, though I think we’ve uncovered all the treasures that are going to be worth anything to anybody. We’ve raked in $145 so far, hopefully with more on the way. And the added benefit on top of the Benjamins is the extra room in the house, the garage, and the storage unit.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure; I think CraigsList and eBay have proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

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