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Operation Garage Sale: Parting With My Collection


A few days ago, I mentioned that my garage sale was going to be huge. A big reason that it is going to be so big is that I am getting rid of most of my possessions.

There are key things I will keep. Mainly the things that I use on a regular basis. No more of this, “I better keep it because I might need it someday.” Something I’ve realized lately is that the more stuff you have…the more things you have to take care of. I don’t want to spend my time taking care of “stuff.” I want to spend my time enjoying my life with my family. That has been the biggest revelation I have made in the past few days, much of it brought about by the book I will be reviewing tomorrow.

That said, I am getting rid of things I never thought I would part with. Ever since I was younger, I have had a love for bald eagles. Slowly, I started collecting little eagle figures. After a while, I started buying other things with eagles on them. Everything sits in a cabinet in our living room and I admit, I barely look at them. In fact, I stopped acquiring new items since starting our debt reduction journey because I no longer wanted to spend money on them.

Yesterday, I spent a good portion of the night going through my collection and adding price tags. The sheer variety of eagle things I had collected amazed me. Here’s just a few tidbits: bandaid, air freshener, knives, lighters, buttons, pins, spoon, bald eagle in a can, necklaces, watches, etc. The more unusual it was, the better.

I thought it would be harder for me to go through my bald eagle collection and price everything. But it was pretty easy. I thought long and hard about my collection, and I came to a few conclusions:

1.) I received no enjoyment from that collection except to say that I collect bald eagle items and have them for display (show). After I purchased something, it went in the cabinet and the only time I’d touch them was if we had to move the cabinet or we moved to a new home.

2.) It takes time to dust and clean things. Even sitting in the cabinet, they still would collect dust. Having them there was one more thing to clean and one more thing taking up my time.

3.) The collection cost me a bit of money, but for resale it is worth very little. Most of the items were purchased at “tourist trap” type areas and were very overpriced. Except for a few pieces, the likelihood of my collection going up in value was very unlikely so it was no where near to being an investment.

4.) Instead of spending money on my collection, I would rather work a little bit less and go out in nature and enjoy watching the real thing in the wild. I haven’t seen a bald eagle in some time, mostly because I am not out and about as much as I would like to be.

Overall, I had a display cabinet full of items. Now, I only have a few items left. They include a picture that I drew and one eagle my mom gave me along with a few bald eagles that she painted. Everything else is up for sale. I’m not sad, though. It actually feels a little liberating because I feel that simplifying my life will provide more pleasure than any collection could.

Of course, I’m not saying that you should go out and sell your collection(s). It’s a very personal choice. For me, though, I feel very good about my decision. It feels wonderful to be simplifying my life.

More about this tomorrow with the book review…


  • Reply paidtwice |

    yay for you! what a great thing to do. I don’t know if I can let go of my inner packrat quite as well but I am trying 🙂

  • Reply April |

    The older I get, the more I want to simplify, streamline and declutter my possessions and my life! I also had a garage sale this past weekend. It feels very liberating to downsize. Clutter and extra stuff is really a burden. I regret all of the money I’ve wasted over the years on all of this stuff..sigh.

  • Reply Zooey |

    Congratulations! You’ll enjoy the post-giveaway feeling. I did the same thing last year. I donated literally half of the books I owned, realizing that I wouldn’t read most of them twice (and that there’s always the library, a friend, or a used bookstore if I changed my mind). I donated 31 garbage bags of clothing, shoes, and coats. I started by going through my closets and bagging up things I knew I didn’t wear often. If I couldn’t remember exactly what was in a specific black garbage bag or hadn’t missed a particular item, the garbage bag was donated. It feels GREAT. I LOVE everything I kept and don’t buy anything I don’t absolutely love (which, it turns out, is most things).

  • Reply Kristina |

    This is so wonderful! Congratulations on having such a useful insight and on being able to act on it so efficiently. I 100% agree with you, though somehow it’s still too easy for me to fill my closets with crap. I prefer the “minimalist” style of decorating, yet I fight against acquiring clutter. I love your insights regarding collections. I used to collect stuff as a kid, but then it just started to confuse me for all the reasons you mentioned. And I’ve dealt with people dying and having to go through their possessions – all of the sudden the things we value and cling to are worth almost nothing and are virtually meaningless. And instead of clinging to objects during our lifetimes, we could instead use the money to have financial freedom or to have amazing experiences like travel.

    I am moving in a month. I’ll use your entry to give me motivation to purge things as I pack!

  • Reply Kris |

    Apartmenttherapy.com has a smallest, cutest apartment contest every year. It is definitely a place where people constantly edit their possessions to what truly makes them happy. I have started to be very careful of what I even let in my house – if I don’t want to dust it, clean it, or move it, it does not belong in my house.

    I stopped buying clothes. I wear about 1/10 of my clothes. I have saved a lot of money. I decided instead to have parties with my friends and go to visit family because that is what I value. And the way I spend my money reflects my values.

    Love your blog. I am cheering you on! I always look at the right side bar to see if you have paid more on your credit card!

  • Reply SuperMOM |

    I LOVE your advice and openness! You were blog tipped on my Momma’s So Called Life site today!

  • Reply Catherine |

    I know exactly how you feel. I’m having a huge garage sale tomorrow, and I’ve been going through my stuff for a few weeks, bit by bit. The first half of it is now in my truck (we live too rurally for a good garage sale, so I’m taking everything to my more-centrally-located-sister’s house), and my house already feels lighter! I couldn’t convince my husband to part with his collection (M&M dispensers), but they don’t take up that much space and he does love them. Plus he got most of them as gifts.

    Now if I can just get someone to pay me for this stuff before I take it to the Goodwill…

  • Reply Sick of Debt |

    We spent the first half of the summer doing what your doing and the past 2 weeks have been liberating. It’s amazing to have enough room to wrestle on the floor without worrying about breaking anything (or even see the floor). It has given us the chance to take more walks around the neighborhood, have a basement that we are not afraid to go down to a mess, and an overall burden taken off our shoulders.

  • Reply noma |

    Hi Trish. We are hosting the carnival of debt reduction. Anything you’d like to submit? Love the contest. Thanks, Noma.

So, what do you think ?