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-   -   How simply do you live? (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=163801)

Roody 04-24-13 10:54 PM


Originally Posted by Smallwheels (Post 15548060)
If I owned a truck or car the answer would be maybe. It would depend on the amount of items. One local thrift shop charges a fee to come and take donations. Really!

My son, who used to be in the business, suggests that if you have a lot of stuff, and some of it could be valuable, you should have a professionally run auction or estate sale to sell most of it in one day.

If your items have little value, a lot of "pickers" are in the business of turning one person's trash into treasure. Check the bulletin boards at supermarkets and laundromats as well as Craigslist. Worst case: they charge you a couple hundred bucks to haul that stuff away. Best case: they pay you a couple hundred bucks to haul everything away.

My son said that if you don't know the value of your items, you can PM or e-mail some photos and he'll take a look.

Rollfast 04-29-13 02:49 AM


Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike (Post 15547878)
Wouldn't it be a lot faster and simpler to just take anything that is not broken to Goodwill, Salvation Army or some other thrift shop and give it away all at once?

Stuff that the Goodwill doesn't want? Throw it in a dumpster and be done with your excess baggage already. Seems like you've been getting rid of stuff for a long, long time.

Ah, but being THAT simple has consequences nowadays, especially if you have electronics or lots of plastics or shiny metals. If the goal of living simply is to reduce it is also highly imperative that you don't complicate the lives of future beings of all kinds by letting it leach in a landfill.

There are some parameters to consider when you ponder usefulness vs. scrap, even if the device is old and a bit wasteful of resources. Those who cannot afford new and efficient devices yet will have to make due and balance the ethics of their usage.

Hiring a truck or a neighbor is a great idea but plan gow you are going to send all your excess stuff off first, find any recycling stations and have that open house but TIE DOWN THE GOOD CRAP...I see people on Craigslist mad because somebody took Granny's old Singer and trashed the cabinet, left everything else.

Smallwheels 05-01-13 06:30 PM


Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike (Post 15547878)
Seems like you've been getting rid of stuff for a long, long time.

I started with a three bedroom house with a big garage and one car. Almost all of the furniture is gone, the large appliances are gone too. Now I'm down to one bed, one coffee table, one kitchen table, two stools, and one comfy chair. Most of my musical equipment is gone, I'm even down to one bicycle. Everything else is composed of anything you might find on a typical shelf or closet.

We all do things in our own time. Nobody is giving me a prize for completing this at a faster pace.

rbrbrbrb2 05-07-13 11:33 AM

1 Bike
2 a Backpack With Clothes
3 a PSP
This Is All I Gots

Smallwheels 05-10-13 01:10 PM


Originally Posted by rbrbrbrb2 (Post 15598786)
1 Bike
2 a Backpack With Clothes
3 a PSP
This Is All I Gots

Do you cook food? Do you have a plate or a bowl with at least one utensil? How about a towel, blanket, or a cell phone? Do you have tools for your bicycle?

JBHoren 05-10-13 01:35 PM

I identify-with and appreciate this thread. While I agree with minimizing possessions, my lack thereof is not strictly ideological; after 25 years overseas, with several year-long returns to the US, my possessions always seemed to be "self-limiting" -- what I didn't ship (books, CDs, photo albums), I sold/gifted. Even when I returned to the US this last time (2004), I began anew; then, in 2009, when I took a job in Fairbanks, AK (and moved from South Florida), I only shipped 27 small cartons via the USPS (and returned to South Florida, three years later, with the same number of cartons, again, via the USPS). Now, I live in a 1BR/1BA condo (682sq-ft), for which I paid all of $21K, sparsely furnished -- all "previously-owned", except for the bed and TV. Yes, I'm "car-free" -- I hate driving, and cannot afford to buy/run/maintain one... even a "beater".

I am, nominally, an Orthodox Jew, and, as the Mishna teaches: מרבה נכסים, מרבה דעגות (the more possessions, the greater the worry) -- we think we own them, but it's really the other way 'round. At age 61, I like things which I've had for a long time: I've got a favorite soup spoon that I "liberated" from an Israeli Defense Forces mess-hall, back in 1984, while going through their artillery training course (another story) -- where I go, it goes... "we've" been together longer than any of my ex-wives! :p

The point is, I could leave tomorrow, with what fits into a day-pack on my back, and be OK with walking away from everything else. G-d knows, I've done it before... after all, "You can't take it with you."

CenturionIM 05-10-13 02:35 PM


Originally Posted by JBHoren (Post 15611642)
G-d knows

Lol, you are so Jewish.

hotwheels 05-10-13 04:33 PM

It's been a year since I checked in to this thread. I guess I'm still where I was last year in most respects. Cooking is very important and I put a lot of time into preparing my meals. It's Friday afternoon and I'm doing my meal planning for the next week.

JeanSeb 05-12-13 06:38 AM


Originally Posted by JBHoren (Post 15611642)
The point is, I could leave tomorrow, with what fits into a day-pack on my back, and be OK with walking away from everything else.

There is something heartwarming and appeasing about this thought, isn't there ? :)

I also moved across the country using the postal service last year: I found it to be cheaper and more convenient granted one has no furniture to move, which is a problem I didn't have haha.

Thank you for sharing a part of your story. :thumb:

Smallwheels 05-12-13 12:04 PM


Originally Posted by JBHoren (Post 15611642)
The point is, I could leave tomorrow, with what fits into a day-pack on my back, and be OK with walking away from everything else. G-d knows, I've done it before... after all, "You can't take it with you."


Originally Posted by JeanSeb (Post 15616636)
There is something heartwarming and appeasing about this thought, isn't there ? :)

I also moved across the country using the postal service last year: I found it to be cheaper and more convenient granted one has no furniture to move, which is a problem I didn't have haha.

Thank you for sharing a part of your story. :thumb:

These comments reminded me of so many people who have posted in this thread and live just fine with few possessions. There is no way I could live comfortably with only a couple of suitcases of things, however; I could live with what would fit into a van. Anything that could fit into a van would easily fit into any bedroom that wasn't too small. Since I'm preparing to move I'm going through a lot of planning and paring of items. My list of things to keep will fit into a few boxes.

An idea came to me. It isn't unique but it would be a great thing to do. I would like to build a few tall storage trunks with wheels. If they were about five feet tall they could be opened and stood on end to form closets. These would contain all of my possession. If I ever needed to move or evacuate a house quickly I could just load them, shut the lids, and remove them from the house. Such portable cabinets would even work in a customized RV trailer. They could be temporarily affixed to the walls.

I own a small storage trunk that is about three feet long. It is very sturdy. I can stand on it without causing any damage to it. Such a small trunk isn't too heavy. A five foot tall version would be hefty. The durability would be worth it. At 5' X 2' X 1.5' such a unit would fit through doorways. Each one would be fifteen cubic feet. Four or five of them would equal 60-75 cubic feet. That is probably as big as a closet in a house. Not counting furniture or my bicycle I think all of the things I intend to keep would fit into that much space.

What do you think about this idea? I find it very appealing to be able to close up four or five trunks and just hit the road at any time. Of course some type of vehicle other than a bicycle would be needed to transport them. I'm going to consider this for a summer project once I've completed my move. I don't have any woodworking experience but the internet will surely have information that can be used to help.

JeanSeb 05-14-13 12:14 PM


Originally Posted by Smallwheels (Post 15617368)
What do you think about this idea? I find it very appealing to be able to close up four or five trunks and just hit the road at any time. Of course some type of vehicle other than a bicycle would be needed to transport them. I'm going to consider this for a summer project once I've completed my move. I don't have any woodworking experience but the internet will surely have information that can be used to help.

Sounds like a good idea. But if you fill it with heavy objects, wouldn't it end up being really awkward to transport ? Maybe 4 feet long instead of 5 ? I did think about making a trunk for my more important things, more like the one you already have. It's a nice long-term idea, for sure. :)

Smallwheels 05-14-13 05:41 PM


Originally Posted by JeanSeb (Post 15624640)
Sounds like a good idea. But if you fill it with heavy objects, wouldn't it end up being really awkward to transport ? Maybe 4 feet long instead of 5 ? I did think about making a trunk for my more important things, more like the one you already have. It's a nice long-term idea, for sure. :)

I do believe it would be awkward without wheels. Putting built-in wheels on one end would make rolling these big boxes easier. Luggage comes with built in wheels these days. Copying that design would make the large boxes easier to handle.

Such wooden trunks wouldn't need to be made with thick plywood. Building them with very thin plywood or composite board with a glued on Formica veneer would be stronger than any plastic totes and still be strong enough to get the job done.

Keeping the heavier items loaded near the end with wheels would also keep the center of gravity lower. I have moved a refrigerator with a big hand truck. That is a lot of work but manageable. If I can move one of those around I know I could move one of these much smaller trunks around. The wheels are the key to making it work.

JeanSeb 05-16-13 02:11 AM

Well, I'm sold ! :lol:

These should be great when you're done. Have fun with the project. :)

wahoonc 05-16-13 04:13 AM


Originally Posted by Smallwheels (Post 15625852)
I do believe it would be awkward without wheels. Putting built-in wheels on one end would make rolling these big boxes easier. Luggage comes with built in wheels these days. Copying that design would make the large boxes easier to handle.

Such wooden trunks wouldn't need to be made with thick plywood. Building them with very thin plywood or composite board with a glued on Formica veneer would be stronger than any plastic totes and still be strong enough to get the job done.

Keeping the heavier items loaded near the end with wheels would also keep the center of gravity lower. I have moved a refrigerator with a big hand truck. That is a lot of work but manageable. If I can move one of those around I know I could move one of these much smaller trunks around. The wheels are the key to making it work.

We get some stuff at work that is in custom made wooden shipping crates. The frames are typically 1x2 material with the side made from 1/4" plywood. The bottoms vary depending on what was in the crate. I have an old wooden shipping crate from around 1940 that originally held a theatre spot light, top and bottom frames are from 1x4 with 3/8" plywood it was converted to a tool box by my day in the 1960's it is still in use today as my carpentry tool box.

Aaron :)

Smallwheels 05-23-13 09:08 PM

Taking The Plunge
 
I posted an ad on Craigslist and I bought an ad in the local newspaper. It says; "Everything Free Sat. & Sun. 8-4 Getting laid off next month so I'm moving in with a coworker and must get rid of everything that won't fit into a small room. 801 East Riggs Apt. 3 upstairs East Helena. Serta Mattress & box, fans, radios, books, VCR, old TV, bowls, plates, utensils, small appliances, clothes, chairs, costume jewelry, art, wooden animal sculptures, and everything you might find in a home. Any donations to help pay for this ad are appreciated."

I've barely gotten through my possessions to separate the things I want to keep and sell. Everything else will be given away. My plan is to quickly go through each box and pull things into piles, keep, sell, and give away. Once the items are in piles I'll try to put similar items into the same box. That should make it easier for people to find things they want. My Friday evening and night will be very busy. I don't think I'll have time to sleep.

Two days ago I learned that my downstairs neighbor will be having a garage sale on the same day. She isn't buying any ads. She is posting on Facebook to get people to show up. I wonder what will happen on Saturday morning. She and I have agreed to keep our things on different parts of the lawn. I'll put my stuff out overnight and keep the electronics and nicer things inside where people can come to get them. I might even hide some good things in boxes and tell people about them so that the boxes get attention too.

What are the chances that more people than usual will come? With such an ad I wonder if some people will just give up because they don't want to get up early enough to wait in line. They might figure that all of the good stuff will be gone by the time they arrive. At least when things are for sale there is always the chance that something will be passed over due to its price.

My last garage sale was a failure. Not much sold because I wanted fair market value for most things. There was a line to get into my apartment. The difference besides being a sale is I didn't put anything outside. I hope it doesn't get crazy. More than that, I hope everything gets taken.

Roody 05-23-13 11:00 PM


Originally Posted by Smallwheels (Post 15660685)
I posted an ad on Craigslist and I bought an ad in the local newspaper. It says; "Everything Free Sat. & Sun. 8-4 Getting laid off next month so I'm moving in with a coworker and must get rid of everything that won't fit into a small room. 801 East Riggs Apt. 3 upstairs East Helena. Serta Mattress & box, fans, radios, books, VCR, old TV, bowls, plates, utensils, small appliances, clothes, chairs, costume jewelry, art, wooden animal sculptures, and everything you might find in a home. Any donations to help pay for this ad are appreciated."

I've barely gotten through my possessions to separate the things I want to keep and sell. Everything else will be given away. My plan is to quickly go through each box and pull things into piles, keep, sell, and give away. Once the items are in piles I'll try to put similar items into the same box. That should make it easier for people to find things they want. My Friday evening and night will be very busy. I don't think I'll have time to sleep.

Two days ago I learned that my downstairs neighbor will be having a garage sale on the same day. She isn't buying any ads. She is posting on Facebook to get people to show up. I wonder what will happen on Saturday morning. She and I have agreed to keep our things on different parts of the lawn. I'll put my stuff out overnight and keep the electronics and nicer things inside where people can come to get them. I might even hide some good things in boxes and tell people about them so that the boxes get attention too.

What are the chances that more people than usual will come? With such an ad I wonder if some people will just give up because they don't want to get up early enough to wait in line. They might figure that all of the good stuff will be gone by the time they arrive. At least when things are for sale there is always the chance that something will be passed over due to its price.

My last garage sale was a failure. Not much sold because I wanted fair market value for most things. There was a line to get into my apartment. The difference besides being a sale is I didn't put anything outside. I hope it doesn't get crazy. More than that, I hope everything gets taken.

Congratulations, smallwheels! It's been difficult, but I think you've made good choices and everything will go well. Give us a full report as soon as you have rested up after the big event.

wahoonc 05-24-13 05:03 AM

Interesting timing...

My wife and I had a looooong discussion the other day about possessions and how they can weigh you down. She has a booth at a local antique/consignment shop. She has been selling off collections of stuff she has had for years. Making pretty good money with her stuff too. We made a whole list of things we have that we don't use or really need. A lot will simply be given away to people in need.

Aaron :)

Smallwheels 05-26-13 04:05 AM

The first day of my giveaway was mostly successful. One of the things I hoped wouldn't happen did happen. I put up some signs requesting that people not take everything in each area. I had some art, bedding materials, wooden sculptures, and some other categories spread about the apartment and yard. One family pulled up with a truck and grabbed most of the art and wooden sculptures. The lady seemed to be a bit manic and not quite right mentally. I thought something like this might happen. Most of the people were respectful and didn't take everything at once. So the goal is to get rid of things quickly. Having somebody take a lot of stuff would seem to help reach that goal. I was just hoping that throughout the day most people would have the opportunity to find something really pretty and make their visit worthwhile.

Today there is a 50% probability of rain today. Right now at 4:00 a.m. there is no rain on the radar.

I've still got half of my things available because I couldn't put all of it out on the first day. I didn't sleep Friday night. I spent the evening putting out boxes and going through all of them looking for personal letters and photos. Also I needed to be sure nothing like medicines or other such items were included. This is because most of my things were still in boxes from when I moved out of a house and into an apartment several years ago.

Several people made donations to me. Those eventually surpassed my advertising expenses. I'm up $6, YAY! If I were going to have a sale I certainly could have gotten more money but I would have been left with way too much stuff to move. I have rented a storage unit to hold the valuable items until I can sell them all. The value of the things are worth the storage expenses, that is if I do sell them quickly. The unit costs $60 per month. It would cost $720 per year. I wonder how many people are spending their money on storage units that over time are exceeding the value of the items inside.

tjax 05-26-13 04:19 AM

My wife and I live by this principle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XRPbFIN4lk

wahoonc 05-26-13 04:35 AM


Originally Posted by Smallwheels (Post 15668365)
~snip~ I wonder how many people are spending their money on storage units that over time are exceeding the value of the items inside.

Quite a few from what I have seen. I have friends that do the storage locker auction thing, and it amazes me to see what people put in the lockers and pay rent on for years. My ex did...

Aaron :)

kookaburra1701 05-26-13 06:10 AM


Originally Posted by Smallwheels (Post 15668365)
I wonder how many people are spending their money on storage units that over time are exceeding the value of the items inside.

Watch some episodes of Hoarders. At least 40% of the time, halfway through cleaning out a hoard the person admits to owning (usually multiple!) storage units filled with stuff.

iron.wren 05-26-13 08:05 AM


Originally Posted by kookaburra1701 (Post 15668478)
Watch some episodes of Hoarders. At least 40% of the time, halfway through cleaning out a hoard the person admits to owning (usually multiple!) storage units filled with stuff.

In the TEDx Video that tjax posted (thank you by the way for that; he affirlmed things I had already slightly been thinking and looking at). He mentions that there is 2.2 billion square feet of storage space in the US. Therefore we have created a multimillion probably billion business institution that could fit every person in the world under covered space solely in the US.

gerv 05-26-13 08:49 AM


Originally Posted by tjax (Post 15668378)
My wife and I live by this principle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XRPbFIN4lk

Great Ted Talk... thanks for posting. In the last few minutes he mentioned a Ted Talk by Nigel Marsh.. on work/life balance... which was actually pretty funny. But mainly pretty balanced. :)


Smallwheels 05-26-13 06:56 PM

Want to know how valuable your stuff is? Try to give it away and see if anybody wants it.

iron.wren 05-27-13 12:44 AM


Originally Posted by Smallwheels (Post 15670504)
Want to know how valuable your stuff is? Try to give it away and see if anybody wants it.

I know this to be a true insight because of your chronicling of your journey of slowly downsizing and I thank you for that. I am slowly getting rid of things and I do not understand within myself how ridiculously hard and why it is so to get rid of DVDs I have not watched in a while or books I genuinely want to read but know I will not get to with the other things I own. That is partly why I am glad there is a great used book/dvd/cd/video game store that is completely stocked by the community trade ins and can get some alright money and decent money by the fact that I can get rid of a single load in one swoop. I also realize the rest of my stuff most people would trash or sell for like a dollar and practically almost have to give away and then there is the junk I know is worth near nothing but I still keep such as the piece of petrified wood from the petrified forest my grandfather stole and various other things from my family. Those I realize will one day be the hardest to get rid of because of the supposed attachment I have made with the item. Though ultimately it is just another piece of junk what made it special was the person who at one time owned it and we keep things to "remember" them because we are selfish and think we will loose memory of them and yes the items do help but especially with like my grandparents I know I will not forget them.

For me the hardest part is looking at something that has lasted for so long such as my Grandfather's items from the US Navy during WW2, such as his towel, hat, and other items. I ultimately do not want to get rid of them simply because they have lasted and I actually used the towel as a shaving towel since I wet shave with a double edge razor. Though there will be one day that towel may still mean something to someone but not enough to warrant keeping over something else and may easily be discarded. There is this sense of temporality or a fleeting briefness. (sorry to get all existential and transcendental)


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