What do you do with your old stuff?

I hate being a pack rat.

A couple of events over the past year have inspired me to simplify. So, little by little, I’m throwing shit away. I’m going through all these boxes in my home office now, boxes of crap I’ve moved with at least once without ever looking inside.

So I’m getting rid of a lot of stuff I’ve dragged around with me for years. A crapload of old magazines (The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly) and VHS tapes (both storebought and tv recordings). Some games. Some software.

Books I’m trying to be creative with, because I’m extra protective of them and want them to find good homes. I’ve tried Bookmooch to no avail. Now I’m gonna try Books for Soldiers, especially after reading Paul Rieckhoff’s excellent book, Chasing Ghosts. Just have to get my ass to a notary.

For some reason I thought my magazines would be worth something someday. If not money, then nostalgia. I thought my kids might like looking through what was popular when I was coming up. Then my mom gave me a raft of my grandfather’s old magazines and I was mildly amused…w/yawning.

As I take armloads of magazines to the trash bin–don’t worry, I’m keeping the porn–I start to wonder if just tossing this stuff is the right thing to do. I mean surely somebody on ebay wants all my old shit. But then I realize that’s just my packrat-brain talking, trying to fool me into keeping the shit around for six more months.

I wish I didn’t overthink throwing all this detritus away. It’s exhausting.

“Shut down all the garbage mashers on the detention level.”


Your poll lack an ‘all of the above’-option.

Like you I loathe to throw stuff away, so I usually try to sell, stuff I percieve as valuable - or give it to friends and family (I had an vasectomy, so there’s a bunch of kids stuff we’d spent fortunes on but are positive we won’t need again).
If not friends, family, neighbours then I donate to charity where possible and throw away as the last option - rebuilding my home has let to us getting rid of a lot of working stuff, that simply doesn’t look right, and I really feel bad when I’m driving a perfectly good fridge or oven to the tip.

Freecycle.org is a good place to dump stuff that’s still usable, and you can meet some cool people in your area too.

Donate most of it.

I’ve been overwhelmed recently with the amount of clothes I have around that I never wear and just take up space, so I’ve been bringing bags of clothes to the Salvation Army. I’ve also started getting rid of old books that I’ll never read again, like the tons of Star Trek novels I read as I kid. Those go to Goodwill and the like. Old games I can never imagine getting rid of, except for a few that were easy sellers on eBay. The packrat tendency is strong in me too.

(A lot of my really old junk, like notebooks from classes in college, still sits in my parents’ house, and I’ve authorized my mom to be brutal about culling the pile. It’s a relief, cuz I doubt I could bring myself to throw that crap away.)

Thats what I do. My wife runs the local group for it. I finally have a way to get rid of all the games and comics I no longer want and not feel guilty.

I recycle it.

Clothes and old household items get donated to Disabled Veterans or Goodwill.

Electronics and other items of some value usually get Ebay’d if I can’t find a friend who’s willing to take them off my hands.

Anything gaming related gets stored, and will continue to be stored untill I die, or can get rich selling it into one massive bundle on Ebay. Right now it comprises of my entire attic.

Everything else is sold or junked after bieng used, like books and magazines. Clothing goes to the Salvation Army.

With another kid on the way and a water issue in the basement, my wife is making me cull the collection a bit. The latest find: a small stack of credit/debit/library cards from my old roommate’s now wife in her maiden name. They were married eleven years ago, and it’s been at least twelve since we were roommates.

Freecycle has some craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy ass people on it. Man, the stories I could tell.

My philosophy is “If you haven’t used it in 6 months, you probably never will again. Get rid of it.” Small things of potential value go up on eBay. Other things of questionable value (such as old clothing) get donated to thrift stores. Anything of potential value or unusual circumstances gets posted on Craigslist.

I’m pretty clutter-free.

I hope you don’t have seasons in Oregon, or else you might discover that you donated all your winter clothes in October, or all your summer clothes in April. :)

Books get donated to the library, clothes go in the can (in fairness, I wear them until they are shoddy rags), and everything else goes on eBay.

My biggest obstacle is the ability to let go of books. That’s my eye-rafter, if you can dig it.

I’ve always found that moving, and being sure to pack absolutely everything yourself, is a terrific motivator in getting rid of stuff. After a couple days, if you just had a disintegrator beam, you’d start using it freely.

If I’m sure that a friend would really like something (usually a CD), I’ll send it to them as a surprise gift.

Magazines, non-shabby housewares, and unwanted appliances/electronics usually go on the traditional “free shelf” in my building. It’s a broad windowsill at the lowest landing on our internal staircase. I’ve put an air conditioner there, piles of New Yorkers, a CD changer, some CD-Rs I screwed up in ways others might not care about, and I’m about to put some coats and jackets there.

I’m doing an extended book-and-music purge right now. First I do triage: books to keep, sell, or dump; CDs to keep, sell, or dump; LPs to keep, sell, dump, digitize and keep, digitize and sell, or digitize and dump. It’s traditional in my neighborhood to dump books outside a famous used bookstore that’s right across the street from me, and I’ve found that LPs dumped there disappear right away.

I ought to sell the “sell” stuff on eBay, but I’ve been too lazy to set up as a seller, and I may just haul it to the local used-record stores, or do further triage between venues…Or I may just leave it in boxes on my living room floor until I stop noticing it. :/

I wish it was a multiple choice poll. I too am a packrat, but I’m trying to stop. I give clothes and some assorted other stuff to the local goodwill. I don’t have an Ebay account any longer, so nothing goes up there. I tried selling stuff on craigslist but quickly became disillusioned with the time-wasters and retards that inhabit it. I think more and more stuff will just go to goodwill regardless of perceived value. Books never get thrown away though. Ever. Even if they are crap. Magazines go in the recycling.

Old stuff is what in car garages are actually for. Not for cars … silly!

Seriously I have a small path that winds through all the crap in my garage to the point where I keep my roll out city trash container. There is just enough room to wheel in the trash container with the garage door up and walk along the narrow path back to the door. I really do need a bigger place.

George Carlin had an excellent skit on “stuff” and how we all deal with the build up of it.

If it’s something large-ish, we’ll post a Craig’s List notice as “free, just come get it”. It’s usually gone within hours.

I just built a new shed to handle the growing pile of old junk in my life. It is actually all my wife’s stuff. If it were up to me, I would throw all this crap out.

I have learned that she is far wiser than me in most matters, so I hang onto the old junk, even though I am sure this is like some odd OCD variation for her. Plus, she’s pretty cute.