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Three Lessons My Garage Has Taught Me


We’ve been ‘encouraged’ (ie. sternly scolded and forced) by the members of our debt reduction class to sell everything to pay off debt.

We dug around our garage for a few hours and it taught me three very important things:

1) I’m a pack rat.

In this day and age, no one… and I mean NO ONE… should still have a Tae Bo video or a Chia Pet.

2) If I don’t see it, I don’t care if it’s sold.

I can’t remember what is out there. If my husband sells it before I see it… it’s fair game.

3) The things I thought were so important to me… aren’t.

There are very few things I use on a daily basis. I don’t need the rest. It’s time to simplify.

What are you selling?


  • Reply Katie |

    To be honest, outside of my stored (AND LABELED!) Holiday decorations (boxed), my washer and dryer (housed in the garage), the lawn equipment and about 2 tubs of children’s clothing I am saving for reuse with daughter number 2, everything in my garage could go. And I do mean everything. I can’t even walk through the garage, I have packed so much stuff away in there.

    I have been struggling with the idea of using Ebay to try to sell some of the stuff I have. Struggling because I hate to incur listing fees if items don’t sell. Then I think about Craigslist, but I don’t like the idea of strangers coming to my house via the internet.

    Lastly I think “YARD SALE!” But then I still have the problems of strangers coming to my house.

    What I probably should do is go through and organize everything I want to get rid of, take tons of photos of everything, and list a host of things on Ebay all at once. At least that way, people that find one of my items can look at my other auctions. Perhaps more items being listed at the same time would increase the chances of selling?

    I am also going to look into bringing my wedding dress into a cosignment shop. I mean, I am not going to wear it again and since I ended up divorced, I am not giving it to either of my daughters to wear. (Bad luck and all, 🙂 )

    Another option, for me, is to go in with some friends and have a huge multi-family garage sale. One of my friends is already planning one that is going to take place this summer. The only issue is getting everything to her place before the sale. Bringing everything over the morning of would probably be chaotic, but she is a packrat just like me so there really isn’t anywhere to store it at her house.

    But, the fact remains that I have tons of stuff. Stuff that I need to get rid of. Stuff that I could sell. Even at rock bottom prices, I could stand to make a few hundred bucks. And that is a few hundred bucks that I could use towards paying off credit card debt – which, funny enough, is partly due to the “things” hanging out in the garage….

  • Reply Mrs. Moderntightwad |

    Oddly enough I’m going through everything for a moving sale next weekend. We’re selling anything I don’t want to move, which is A LOT! (Although less than I thought actually) Since we’re upsizing to a 500sf studio with much less closet space, we’re making some tough decisions.

    Computer Parts
    Silver Servingware
    Martini Glass Collection
    Vintage Tea Set (Maybe)
    Costume Jewelry
    2 End Tables
    Shelving Unit
    Laundry Bin
    and whatever else I can sell to the public.

    Whatever goes out for sale, doesn’t come back in the house; it gets donated. It reduces clutter and supports victims of domestic violence, kind of a win-win.

  • Reply Mr Plasectomy |

    It is truly amazing how much stuff we accumulate over the years. If it has been sitting in your garage for 3-6 months and you haven’t bothered to touch it, it can go. At that is the way I feel. Our basement was full of stuff that nobody ever used. We have been selling it off, some with great success and the others not so much.

    It is the other stuff that doesn’t sell and what to do with it. Donations?

  • Reply jaye |

    Dear Tricia and Beks,
    This is just a general comment or, perhaps, a favor:
    Would it be possible to somehow include the author’s name on the email feed of your blog? I’ve been receiving your blog for years now via email, and tend not to go to the blog itself unless I want to make a comment. However, now I find that I need to go to the blog itself to find out who is writing. Maybe I’m just lazy?

  • Reply creditcardfree |

    I’m not really an accumulator. Excess clutter stresses me out. Most people are probably stressed by it but don’t realize it, until they start to unload it. Oh, the freedom!! Getting rid of excess accumulations is a very similar feeling to paying off debt.

    It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Try to find 5 things to get rid of each day or week and see what you think.

  • Reply Jen |

    Stuff I’m going to either give away or sell:

    A very nice raincoat (sell – eBay or consignment)
    Books (donated to the local library for their book sale)
    Mugs (probably donate to Salvation Army or my church’s yard sale)
    Clothes (Salvation Army)
    DVD players (sell really cheap to church members or just dispose of them in an eco-friendly way)

    I have a lot of clutter. Not as much as before, and now I live in a place that has more storage so I can, um, hide it better 😉 But, as creditcardfree said, it IS stressful.

    I don’t know what else I’ll unload, but I’m sure as I get rid of stuff I’ll find more items I don’t need.

    And, Katie, I’m with you on using Craigslist. I don’t like the idea of internet strangers coming to my home, either. And a yard sale is also too much work, plus I don’t think my neighbors would like it (I live in a condo). However, one option I have is my church. I can just send an e-mail to the church list offering to sell something. That’s how I sold my washer and dryer three years ago. There are enough people in my church that someone will probably be interested in buying, but they’re not complete strangers 🙂

  • Reply Da Big D |

    I am selling my soul to the devil of money. Plain and simple I sold out for the almighty dolloar and need to come to terms for it.

  • Reply Corporate Barbarian |

    I like your attitude. I remember reading a tip about boxing up items that you couldn’t part with, and writing a date on the box for 2 years to the day. If you haven’t opened the box in the 2 years, just throw it out without opening it. The contents obviously weren’t that important.

  • Reply Michelle |

    I’ve had good luck with Craigslist meeting people in public places – I’m with you – I don’t want them coming to my house. Just last week I off-loaded a toddler bed and a spare twin bedframe from our garage AND made $10 more dollars from the deal than I had spent buying them on craigslist 2 years ago! Next items from the garage to go are my paperbacks – not ones I love, but those I’ll never read again. I joined paperbackswap.com and for each book I send out (on my $2), I get one back for free. That’s going to clear out 3 big bins and get the garage back to ‘manspace’ and make DH happy.

  • Reply Kathryn |

    Hey now… let’s go easy on the old Tai bo tapes. Yes, they’re VHS too.

    I have actually been decluttering for a period of years, and am now preparing to move. I could have pitched them, but no, I packed them carefully with the other VHS tapes. My goal is to incorporate them into a fitness plan in which I can switch out a variety of workout videos and DVDS for those cold and rainy days when I don’t want to walk outside.

    Um, that is to say… you’re not alone in having those dusty tapes… but I’m not selling mine–yet.

  • Reply Jay Gatsby |

    I agree about accumulating junk in your garage you just don’t need. My father is unfortunately very ill and I’m going to insist that he let me go through his garage and get rid of virtually everything that he just doesn’t need/use anymore (and sad to say, never will). He’ll fight me tooth and nail, but it must be done since I don’t want my mother to have to do it.

    As for what to do with it, my parents have always been big fans of garage sales. That’s fine with me. Whatever is left WILL be donated, so at least they’ll get the tax write-off. If they can’t donate too much in a particular year, each box will be inventoried with a note and sealed so that every year a few more boxes will be donated.

  • Reply Scotts Debt Tips |

    I cleared out a load of old records on eBay.. Was a great way to earn a little extra!!

So, what do you think ?