Mission Declutter: Why Ebay is your new best friend

Hello Friends,

It’s been a while since I’ve discussed the topic of minimalism, since I haven’t spent time focusing on simplifying my life in regards to my material possessions. Over Thanksgiving break I updated camera bodies and used Ebay to sell my old Olympus camera body. When I remembered how easy it is to sell items online, I decided to list a few old video games I had lying around the house. Apparently people very much like Mario, because those old Nintendo 64 games I would list left the market sometimes within only minutes of listing. The success I had with these items encouraged me to list more items and now I find myself selling a few items every week.

Why am I bringing up selling items online? Well simply because one of the hardest steps in downsizing your material possessions is often just figuring out where in the world you are going to take all the items you don’t need anymore. Sure, a few things need to be thrown out if they’re not in good condition. Perhaps you decide you want to host a garage sale or two. Maybe you end up taking some items to Goodwill, but let’s be real here. A lot of the items you want to get rid of in the home are actually worth a decent amount of money when you add it all up, and knowing this makes it very difficult to let go of your items in the end and puts a roadblock in your minimalist journey.

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So what do you have to lose? Try out a site like Ebay. It doesn’t have to be Ebay. Amazon works better for some things. Both sites have very low listing fees and on Ebay I believe your first 50 listings are free.

“What about shipping the items?” you may ask. Well in my specific case, my mom has been selling used books on Amazon for many years, so we’re pretty familiar with the ins and outs of the postal service. However, if you don’t want to be making trips to the post office, I’m pretty sure there’s a way to get your sold items picked up from your house and taken off to ship. On Ebay when you sell an item, you have an option to pay to get a discounted label to put on your package and pay for your shipping right at your computer. We don’t personally ship from home, because it’s nice to have the knowledge and support from the workers at the post office, but if you find yourself unable to keep up with going to and from the post office, this is a great alternative.

I haven’t been having a lot of luck with selling secondhand clothes online, but I’m looking into some sites for that such as Poshmark. I don’t like that they take big commissions on sales and make you ship your items in boxes that they send to your door instead of just letting the seller take care of shipping (which is much faster).

I found a great deal on my favorite brand of shoes the other day. Someone was selling some Ecco biom athletic shoes that retail around $90 for only $20 including the shipping. They’d only worn the shoes a few times before deciding they didn’t need them or they didn’t fit correctly. There is a whole world of options to buy items second hand, so if there’s a pricey item you have your eye on consider taking a little extra time to see if anyone is selling it in Like New Condition online. You’ll save money and ultimately over time if more people did this, we could do our part to use our resources more efficiently and lessen the impact on the environment from manufacturing.

Are you trying to lead a more minimalistic lifestyle? What have your experiences been? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Also feel free to visit my Ebay shop to see if anything catches your eye:

Ebay Shop

 

Tidying up Can Apparently be Therapeutic: My Pursuit of Minimalism Continues

I’ve been feeling pretty low most mornings if I’m to be completely honest. Sometimes I combat this by stopping by the new Yoga Studio my boss just opened in Charleston, (Yoga Power if you’re interested). This morning I decided I’d try to throw away loose papers, maybe gather up all the stray hair ties and bobby pins that seem to multiply themselves around the house. I did this for about an hour or so. I was really quite surprised how good that felt. Somehow this materialistic based action felt as if it was clearing away existential dread.

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Secretly, this photo of flowers in Baden Baden, Germany has absolutely nothing to do with what I’m talking about right now. (Shhh don’t tell anyone!)

I suppose it makes sense that pairing down my belongings would give me a sense of security. I’m hoping within the next year or so to move back to Europe. There’s a lot I’d have to figure out to make that a reality. Most of the journey will just be figuring out more about my career goals for the future. Some of the journey will just be getting the courage to believe I can make such a drastic change again after years of moving back and forth between school and home and foreign destinations. I want to be settled somewhere. I want to grow roots, but I loved the life I lived abroad. I love the confident person I became there and though my path doesn’t appear clear to me right now I hope to carve out my own destiny slowly: one form submitted, one epiphany made, one leap of faith.

While I was cleaning I found a list I made in January of New Years Resolutions. I was surprised to remember that a lot of goals I’d set for myself back in January I had already accomplished now. I don’t have it all figured out yet, but at least I’m further than where I’ve started. For now I’ll focus on being my best self, including on days where I don’t really feel my best, or don’t really know where to begin to grow.

What do you do when you need some new energy in your life? Write about it in the comments below 🙂

Minimalism: The Kon Marie Method

I admit to not actually reading Kon Marie’s popular book Spark Joy. I did however watch a few YouTube videos of the woman cleaning other people’s homes. If you have a computer or watch television with any frequency, it’s likely you’ve at least heard a mention of the Japanese organizational sensation.

Kon Marie basically advises that when cleaning the home, to reevaluate all the items one owns, actually hold them in one’s hands and determine whether the item makes us happy or not. Then of course we have to think about function, and then sentimental value in evaluating our stuff. (She also has very interesting ways of optimizing space once we’ve evalated our items. Most of these tips involve either rolling our items, standing them vertically, or a combination of the two).

Kon Marie also advises to clean your home not room by room, but item by item in five larger categories of items: clothes, books, paper, kitchen, and then miscellaneous items (referred to as komono in Japanese).

Using Kon Marie’s tips has helped me a lot to get rid of even more items that just aren’t adding to my life anymore.

Minimalism: Failed Strategy

Today I realized that something I was doing in my mad attempt to make our house a clean and happy house turned out in actuality to be a horrible idea. What could I have possibly done that was so bad you ask?

Well, I simply took everything I could out of all of the cabinets and thought I could tackle all of our household items all at once….

…not so smart.

At first it worked, but over time everything just kept getting messier and messier, and I couldn’t even tell that I had gotten rid of a lot of stuff because the floors were just piled in junk. So I suppose the real error was a false expectation that I could downsize the house instantly. It’s a process that’s going to take some time.

My advice?  Just clean out your drawers and shelves one at a time. You’ll be glad when your home does not look like a tornado ran through it like mine.

Mission Declutter: A journey towards the pursuit of minimalism


At the moment I am living at home, full of its comforts, familiarities, and also full of clutter. I mean, I really don’t know how we managed as a family to accumulate so many possessions. Well, I do know. We went shopping and found a sale. We mastered the art of the garage sale deal.

For the past few weeks I’ve been doing my best to pare down my possessions, and I’ve done well so far. I plan to purge more items, figure out what can be sold on sites like craigslist, and donate some clothes, but a strange thing happens when you try to clean out your suburban home. The more items you throw out, the more items magically reappear in their place. 

But no matter! I know that with dedication and a little daily work, I can help get this house back into some state of order. In the meantime I will share with you strategies I have been using to clean house so that you can join in on the fun.

  1. Birds of a feather stick together: In other words, take all of the items that belong together and put them in a box somewhere. For example, if you, like I, have an absurd amount of half empty notebooks lying around, put them all in one place. If you notice that you are leaving a trail bobby pins and hair ties around the house, put those all in one place. Once you’ve done this with some items, you will be ready to take on tip number 2.
  2. You do not need 5 identical dull nail clippers: Once you’ve paired similar items together reevaluate whether or not you really need 10 rulers with faded lettering, or that collection of hotel pens that don’t actually have ink in them anymore. The answer is probably that you don’t need all these things. I promise.
  3. Why are you so strongly attached to that refrigerator magnet from the 2nd grade? Sometimes we hold onto things because we are attached to them emotionally. I totally think that’s okay…to an extent. I also find that sometimes I hold onto an item I’m not even that attached to anymore, but I remember that I used to be emotionally attached to the item and refuse to throw it out in case I decide I want it back. Don’t fall for this one. Just get rid of the stuff. If you didn’t even remember you still owned it, you won’t remember when it’s gone.
  4. If you want a clean house, don’t become an artist! Just kidding. But seriously though, the hardest part about cleaning has been deciding how to keep my insanely large collection of art supplies and paintings under control. Especially difficult is keeping paintings organized and getting rid of old art. I used to hold onto every painting just in case, but I’ve been painting for about 10 years now and have made hundreds if not thousands of paintings. For about 3 years or so, I’ve been reusing canvases and painting over old pictures I don’t like. This helps, but not every painting surface is reusable. Also, I can basically only paint over art done in Acrylic and not Oil or Watercolor. I’ve created around 4 categories to keep my art organized: Paintings I can’t bear to part with, Paintings that I like but would like to sell in the future, Paintings I plan on painting over to reuse the canvas, and Paintings I hate so much that no human eyes should ever see them again.
  5. Fun fact: We used to have a room in our house devoted almost entirely to holding boxes of biscotti cookies that we found on sale at the grocery store. It all started when my mom noticed biscotti cookies were highly marked down at Kroger. It ended with our utility room housing 70 boxes of biscotti cookies. When we realized how ridiculous that was we stopped buying the cookies and ate them all till we no longer had this issue. Find your version of the biscotti cookie room in your own house and act accordingly.
  6. Do I have time to clean out my house? Good question. Maybe you don’t right now. Life is busy. We all have things to do. However, ask yourself, do I have time not to clean out my house? Is clutter taking over my life? If I had to sell this house tomorrow, move out of my apartment tomorrow, etc. would that be a problem? Do I know where my passport, insert other important documents here, is? Everyone is different. Some people have more stuff than other people and some are better organizers. Just because its hard or would take a long time shouldn’t stop you from cleaning house if you think it would improve your quality of life. Just take it slow, one box at a time. 

❤ Color Me Adri