March 12, 2012

The Trouble with Stuff

Books to go

Since meeting SB, I’ve moved six times, twice across the country and five of those times after we combined our household stuff. Through every move I’ve thought about the volume and weight of all this stuff. Every time we set up house in a new place, I’m faced once more with organizing, sorting and storing.

At every move we’ve left stuff on the curb, thrown things away and donated select items, but there continue to be those things that while no longer needed, seem to have some value. As I try to become more frugal, thrifty and organized, I decided that I needed to start selling some of this “valuable” stuff. After sitting on this idea for a year and researching the many options for liquidation, I started to sell late last fall.

My stuff to sell fell into two categories, books and objects. For the books I first sorted all my books into piles based on the average used book price on Amazon. The books that sold for $1 or less, I boxed up and took to a local used bookstore. There I made around $6 for most of the books. Those that the bookstore wouldn’t take I dropped off at a local library branch. Public libraries re-sell used books and also sell bulk paper for recycling, so even if the books are not worth anything, the library can still make a little money on the paper.

For the books that sold for more than $1, I created a sellers account on Amazon. So far I’ve only listed a few, see my storefront, and sold one for a profit of $10. The books in the photo above still need to be listed on Amazon. My plan is to let them sit on Amazon for a while and then downgrade them to the used bookstore and then the library.

The objects came in three categories, large tools, kitchen gadgets and light fixtures. The light fixtures came from our house in Atlanta and our house here in Madison, where we replaced these lights with ceiling-fans or more modern fixtures. Rather than try to sell the fixtures, I decided to donate them to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I was able to claim the donation on my taxes and also give back to group that has helped us out with some great home deals.

The kitchen gadgets came out of the final stages of combining households. We still had some multiples of certain things and they simply did not fit in our small kitchen. These things I donated to Goodwill for a small tax write-off.

Finally, for the large, more valuable items, tools and appliances, I created a re-seller blog, for photographs and longer descriptions. Then I created a sellers account on craigslist and posted the items there. This has generated the most income and also helped me set-up and organize my wood shop.

Selling the books has been the most difficult part of the liquidation. The books I want to get rid of still hold more personal value than monetary value, so off-loading them for little money is hard. However, having them sit around in boxes or on shelves, just taking up space doesn’t make sense either. I guess it is time to add more books to my Amazon store.

July 7, 2008

Summer reading

By total luck and timing, I came into possession of an advance reader’s copy of Neal Stephenson’s new book Anathem, due out in early September. I smiled the rest of my way through work on the fourth with the book by my side. What a great prize for working on the holiday.

I have tough choices as I head into my week of vacation. How do I split my time between knitting my highly addictive red cardigan and reading the, not even released, book of one of my favorite authors? Plus all the boating, berry picking and general hanging-out to be done with good friends.

Isn’t vacation wonderful?

September 3, 2007

In review

I did have a chance to read a couple books and bake a couple cakes in August.

You can see my book reviews for Voyager, Harry Potter 7, and Maida Heatter’s Great Desserts in my Library section.

While I have some great recommendations on my pending list, I’m not sure what to read next. I want something incredible, something inspiring. Any suggestions?

November 18, 2006

Six posts in one

I’ve caught up with my book reviews. Instead of milking these posts over the next few days, I’m giving you all my reviews at once. Most recommended of the books below are Shielding Her Modesty and Bel Canto.

November 12, 2006

Paper: a new feature

Announcing my very own “Books I’m reading” sidebar. I know that everyone else has one, but being me I couldn’t just drop in whatever, I had to make it difficult. I’m proud that, after upgrading my whole blogging system, now I too can catalog my books.* Check it out under “Paper” in the side bar. I’ve even put some books into my library.

They represent the backlog of books I’ve read since my last book review. I’m planning to write reviews of them during the rest of this month. There are some gems on the list that I want to share.

*Ofcourse, this little project has brought into question what the whole point of this blog thing is. Who cares what I’m reading? Who cares about any of this? The answer I keep coming back to is that I care. I like writing, I like organizing my photos and I like the idea of having a place to record my thoughts on books. This whole November writing month thing has brought out a certain anxiety that feels a hell of a lot like competitiveness. My on-line notebook doesn’t need to be popular, it doesn’t need to make money, it just needs to make me feel good, just like eating avocados with salt.

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  • Eating salted avocados with a spoon in Madison.
  • Blogging since 2003.