Getting a house ready to sell is really not a fun process. I walk my clients through what to do all the time and it’s never really impacted me to show them the places they need to paint or the closets that need decluttered. But we are now selling our current home and I took my own advice.
“If you’re moving anyway, you might as well start packing and get rid of stuff you don’t want to take to your new home.”
So in the Lewis Family, we’re not hoarders. We don’t have a ton of extra “stuff.” When we went through our financial collapse years ago we sold pretty much everything that we owned in order to pay bills. Since then, we’ve replaced furniture with bargain deals on Craigslist that I refinished. We don’t spend money on physical things very often.
So I expected this de-cluttering process to get our house ready to sell to be quick and easy.
- We donated 5 trashbags full of baby clothes to our church.
- We gave my sister another 4 bags of baby clothes since she’s having her first baby in July.
- We gave a pastor at our church 2 bags of little boy clothes as they have a 1 year old son.
- We sold dozens of our kids toys on Facebook buy/sell/trade sites.
- I threw away at least 30 old t-shirts and pairs of jeans.
On trash day of the week we listed our house, there were 15 bags of “trash” out on our curb, along with an old office chair, a broken dining room chair, and some other “stuff” that had just been sitting in our garage.
Oh, the garage. Yeah. This list doesn’t even mention the landscaping supplies and old toys and extra paint that were in the garage.
We truly don’t have a lot of things around our house. We’re fortunate to have everything we need and most of the things we want. Over the years we’ve learned contentment and how to say no to most frivolous things, and most of the stuff we do own is second hand or given to us.
But as I stared at this stack of 15 bags of “trash” I couldn’t help but think that at one point that stuff had value. At one point, we thought it necessary to exchange money we had worked hard to earn so that we could own something that now sits on a curb destined for the city dump.
Thousands of dollars in purchases spread out over the years was being thrown away, and for good reason. They were unusable, old, worn out, broken…. trash.
We think we need that new shirt or pair of jeans or shoes, but the reality is we have a closet full of clothes we don’t even wear. We think our kids need that new toy, but the reality is they have a toy box filled with toys they haven’t touched in years.
Here’s what I know. I remember why I spent money on a trip to Disney World, or for season passes to the zoo or museum, or for dance lessons for my daughter, or for a baseball season for my son. I remember why I spent money to take my wife out to dinner. I remember why I give money to various ministries and organizations.
And the money I’ve spent over the years on things like that… it doesn’t end up on the curb.
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