Finally, I am getting to this post! Terry and I have been so busy preparing for our Asia trip (Singapore, Myanmar, Hong Kong) happening in 1.5 weeks that I have forgotten to do some big things like reflect on this past year and write about it… and my dad’s birthday yesterday. Thank goodness my brother is still here on leave so he reminded me and we went out for Chinese buffet, which my dad loved of course.
I do set a list of goals at the beginning of each year that falls into the categories of Mental, Financial, Relational, Physical, Career, and Spiritual. But I do pick one to REALLY focus on. In 2012, it was to finish all the un-read books on my shelf as I was starting to accumulate too many books. In 2013, I decided to really stay away from fast fashion and make some semblance of an attempt at living “minimally” (definition varies from person to person of course). Just because 2012 ended didn’t mean I stopped reading though; I was able to read 28 books (including 1 children’s book which I thought I’d mention since some consider that not really reading) in 2013 and this year, I set a goal of 30 books as part of the 2014 Goodreads challenge.
Now back to recapping 2013.
It would have been easy for me to just rummage through my house and donate garbage bags of stuff and be done with it in an instant. But after reading Elizabeth L. Cline’s Overdressed and Edward Hume’s Garbology, I learned that a lot of the clothes we bring to the donation/thrift store actually get thrown out or sent to other countries (which are rendered useless because of the crappy quality anyway) because there is just an overflow of donations. So my personal attempt at avoiding that was ONLY to sell my items and not replace them at the same rate.
What did I end up doing?
1. Sold 91 items on eBay and made $1,136.34 after taking out all eBay, packaging, and shipping fees. Thanks to my trusty Google doc, this was easy to manage–see below. This didn’t include items I helped Terry sell or items that I sold through Craigslist.
I also tracked how much I was buying to keep myself in check.
In the end,
Total items removed: 138
Total items acquired: 37
I would say that I did a decent job but it did take a lot of effort to sell on eBay. It was literally like a mini part-time job and I’m wondering if the $12.49 per item that I made was really worth it. Plus, all the packaging I had to use defeats the purpose of minimizing waste. I definitely will not be starting 2014 with that same ferocity but the exercise has made me much more aware of my spending (it is still far from perfect; I have ingrained impulses that have been built up over my lifetime). Looking at my 2013 purchases, I haven’t completely avoided stores like Forever 21 and H&M; damn those bachelorette parties where I need something cute to wear fast. I will just have to make changes and resort to the bridal party getting mad at me for not wearing the designated color or looking like a nun in Vegas.
What’s up for 2014?
To be honest, I have no idea. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I’ve been in a whirlwind of non-stop activities and don’t feel like my actual New Years will start until I’m back on 2/1. But by then, I’ll have three weddings to look forward to in that month. It never stops.
Maybe my one goal will be to have a yard sale to really finish up the cleaning process. If I can’t always buy fair trade or locally produced or like catch phrases, then at least I can continue to minimize what I own.
There is an opportune time because my dad will be leaving for Asia for 2 months! I always have to secretly donate stuff because if he sees the box, he’ll just bring everything back into the house and hide it from me so no conflict ensues. Luckily, he will be gone and the town we live in is a fan of yard sales… you will be able to find at least one every Saturday for the entire year, rain or shine. I’ve never done one and I don’t know if I like the idea of people coming to my house and touching all my stuff but I’m sure it’ll feel great afterwards. I’ve done a collective flea market sale with some friends and I will never do another one of those again. VULTURES that only want to pay $0.25 for anything, even your soul.
I’ve always wanted to just pick up and leave to another country with Terry. But my home life (with my dad being in cancer recovery mode) and work life (no significant passive income that will sustain a temporary to lengthy unemployment for both of us) will not make this possible yet. But we’re working towards it in case the opportunity ever presents itself (wishful thinking) and that includes cleaning out all our stuff. If you’re thinking of holding one too, here are some garage sale tips.