2011 was a year of cleaning house....literally and figuratively! Since leaving my incredibly stressful mortgage career, I needed to decompress and clear my mental clutter...a process that took longer than expected. When I left work in November 2010, I rolled right into the chaos of the holidays. Once the holidays were over and I really could relax into my new role, I wanted to find some ways to simplify my life.
Being a lifelong sales person, I also wanted to contribute financially to my family "team." I took stock of the things I no longer needed (work clothes) or things that didn't fit my current lifestyle (silver pieces, china) and decided to make some money from things I was no longer using or to donate them so someone else could benefit.
I cleaned out my closet and sold anything with a "label" on EBay. EBay occasionally allows you to list items for free and I began watching for the time periods when I could take advantage of the free listing service. I made a "sell" box, "toss" box and a "donate" box and set forth with emptying out my closet. The donate box left my house immediately so I didn't have time for second thoughts! The same with the toss box....gone! The sell box was relocated to my guest room closet and I added priority mailing supplies for easy packaging. I photographed all of the items and when the time was right for cheaper EBay selling, I began listing the items taking care to write a really good description and putting as much detail in as possible. My teen aged son also had many things he had outgrown and there is a real market for nicer kids clothing so I sold a few of his things too. I easily bought groceries for one week out of every month with my sales.
Next...I evaluated my china cabinet. It really bothered me that I have rarely or never used most of the things in it. I had a set of china I was given at 18 that was never used plus wedding and holiday china and silver serving pieces that I occasionally polished and used once a year. We also had untold amounts of crystal - again - never or rarely used. I contacted Replacements in Greensboro NC and got an analysis of the value of my items. I decided it was time to let go of the china I had never used from my 18th birthday and the silver. Since I live close to Greensboro, I made an appointment and took my items in and left with $700. I was thrilled! I decided to keep my crystal because they couldn't give me much for it ($2 or so a stem) but I came home and cleaned out my butler's pantry glass cabinet and vowed to start using the crystal wine glasses. Now I always use them...and it is a treat.
The last "clean out for money" project I completed was a re-evaluation of my jewelry. I only wear my wedding ring and mainly silver jewelry (earrings and occasional necklace or bracelet) these days. I organized all of my earrings into hanging bags with pouches so I could see what I had. After seeing the ridiculous amount, I have not purchased one pair since! Next, I gathered up the old, tangled gold bracelets, necklaces, high school rings, and earrings and shopped them around to get an idea of value. I finally decided to ship mine to an online company and was offered $800 for the lot.
The money was great, but the feeling of accomplishment was better. After my son goes to college, I have more clean out plans. I want to simplify even more and enjoy life and not the stuff. Some future plans include organizing closets and photos. If I don't use or enjoy something, why hang on to it?
I would love to hear your tips for organization...and Happy Valentine's Day!