Friday, November 28, 2014

It's Black Friday.....

...and I'm glad to be snug in my cozy little house. I also slept well last night while others jostled for position outside of big-box stores and malls, looking for those great Black Friday bargains.

I guess I've always loved sleep more than shopping, because I've never gone out on Black Friday. Seeing video of people fighting over gigantic TVs doesn't exactly encourage me to get out there, anyways.

But the main reason I don't go shopping on Black Friday is the same reason I shop very little these days: when we downsized, I got rid of so much stuff, and I don't want it back!

I like open floor and counter space, closets that are only half-full, drawers that close easily. I've found that if I don't go shopping, I'm not tempted to bring things home, things I really don't need.

As for Christmas gifts, I'm trying to give gifts that don't create clutter; I'd hate to think my family members might feel stuck with something they don't really need just because "Mom gave it to me and I'll feel guilty getting rid of it." That's how people end up with houses full of stuff.

So I'm getting them gift cards as well as consumable items like gourmet food, items that they'll enjoy but don't clutter up their homes. The fact that I can buy these things without leaving home is a bonus!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Collectibles Usually = Clutter

I was recently shopping in a thrift store when I happened to see a stack of Norman Rockwell collector plates. I remember seeing them advertised in magazines back in the 1970s and 1980s, and they weren’t cheap. In fact, I think people could pay for them in monthly installments. But now they’re only $3 each at the thrift store.

Then there are Hummel figurines. My elderly relatives think their Hummels are worth hundreds of dollars each, because they paid a lot for them back in the day and they assume that prices have only gone up since then. I don’t have the heart to tell them that most Hummel figurines sell for $15-30 on eBay nowadays.

And of course anyone over 20 remembers what happened with Beanie Babies. They became popular and people bought and sold them for outrageous prices. Now you see them for a buck each at garage sales.

The fact is that once-collectible items often become clutter that’s hard to get rid of, either because you paid so much for them or because you’re aware that they were once valuable and you feel guilty getting rid of them. Neither of these are good reasons for keeping this stuff, especially if it’s getting in your way.

Consider that any items that were once highly sought after are probably not worth as much now because there are so many of them in existence: their popularity doomed them to eventually become commonplace, just because of the sheer quantity of them that were created.

Nevertheless, it’s still hard to get rid of such things.

The key, I think, is to make a strict rule to only keep items that you truly love. They may have once been collectible, or they may be something no one else wants. But if you dearly love them, they can stay. And if you don’t love them, they need to go. You must be picky, picky, picky, if you want to live in a clean, uncluttered and lovely environment. It’s the only way.