Friday, October 21, 2011

There's a fire burning in my heart

I've now reached that stage in my life where I take vacation days to complete boring house projects.  This week it was decluttering our office.  TJ and I share our office, which is a cool loft space above our dining room.  This is a little bit of a problem for us. 

I get really stressed out by clutter.  Just seeing clutter (especially on the floor, but on all flat surfaces) makes my heart rate increase and I get sort of jumpy and unable to focus.  But I can throw that clutter into a drawer or a cute box, and I'm fine.  So it's a short-term solution and then one day everything just explodes because there's simply too much crap.

TJ, on the other hand, needs to spread out his stuff when he works on something.  And then he leaves it there, because he might not be done yet.  Or he might be finished, but he's moved on to something else, and really, we LIVE in our house, so it's unrealistic for us to have a clean, uncluttered space.  And then there are the miscellaneous hats, shoes, cutting boards and cups keeping the paper clutter company in those spots. Because those papers might get hungry, thirsty, or need to go out somewhere.

To be fair, I have a craft supply hoarding issue.  But I (mostly) confine it to my craft room.

So, back to the office.  I spent all day Tuesday going through the computer books, old office supplies and TONS of papers.  I recycled a TON of stuff.  I listed a bunch of old books and software on Amazon, but have very little hope of selling them thanks to all the sellers who price their stuff at 1 cent.  Seriously?  Sigh. 

I took about 4 bags to Goodwill.  I did a MASSIVE pen purge where I threw away the ones that don't work anymore.   I heard about a college friend (hi John Krowas) who said, in the middle of a work presentation, as he threw aside a non-working writing implement, "Life is too short to write with a crappy pen."  I love that.

So now our office looks better than it has since we moved in.  But the real prize from all this decluttering I've been doing for the past couple of weeks?  It's finding out that there is a market for nearly anything on EBay.

I had been leery of listing things on EBay because I hadn't done it before, and there's a sort of sketchiness about it that I haven't felt about selling on Etsy.  (Which I've been doing for 4 years now, holy crap!)  But I bit the bullet and listed a few things, and WOW.  I love it. 

Apparently there is a HOT market for old Weight Watchers materials.  I had 3 sets of them (yep, don't ask).  I was just going to toss the whole lot into the recycle bin but figured I'd give EBay a shot.  So far I've sold two of the three sets, for $12 and $36 plus shipping (!).

I've also sold a couple of the surplus rubber stamp sets I bought on Craigslist.  A few months ago, a guy had listed a huge lot of retired Stampin' Up rubber stamp sets.  I offered him a slightly lower price than he asked, and he was willing to take it because he just wanted to get rid of them before moving to a smaller place. 

Turns out when I went to meet him to pick them up, he actually had double the amount I was set to buy.  He tried to sell the second box to me as well, but I told him I had brought only enough cash for the first box (which was true).  And then he said, "Just take it all, I don't want to take these back home".   It was jaw-dropping.  And way more stamps than I could ever possibly use.  So I've been selling the ones I already have, or the ones that are too flowery, on Etsy.  Very slowly.

I listed a few on EBay and again, WOW.  People want them.  I sold one set for double what I would have gotten on Etsy.  It's not predictable, though, as I've listed a few other sets and haven't gotten much interest yet. 

But it's sort of like gambling - I get all excited about the *possibility* of selling something I don't need for a lot of money.  So I figure even if I end up selling it for less than I had hoped for, the entertainment value is worth something.

Viva La EBay!  Or something like that...  Got any good EBay stories for me?


  1. Oh my, I've never met anyone with the same problem with clutter. I hate it SO MUCH. The problem is, I can't have ANYTHING on flat surfaces. Not even, like, a picture frame or a vase. I'm learning to deal, but I haaate them there. Having two boys is not very good for this problem.

  2. There is something so satisfying about de-cluttering - creates an instant happiness boost for me.

    "Life is too short to write with a crappy pen." I love that, too!

    Glad to hear your Ebay sucess stories. Makes me want to give it a go.

  3. @chickens - i totally get what you're saying. i've gotten rid of nearly all my knicknacks in the past couple of years. i think i'm a secret minimalist. except for the craft supplies of course.

    @hush - thanks for the visit! i think we live in the same state. try selling just one thing on EBay - it's free to list and you only pay them when the item sells. i think it's kind of addictive...

  4. Now you have more room for more paper right?

  5. I am your college friend! I say the same thing and life is too short to have ugly stationery at work :)

    Which means I buy all my own notebooks and pens but they bring me SUCH pleasure daily (that's sad, right?)

    I also love decluttering and clutter makes me twitch!


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