Discover more from Your House Machine
A surprising truth I learned from selling my stuff
Who knew a Facebook Marketplace transaction would be so revelatory?
This is a continuation of last week’s post, 3 new ways to think about consumption.
Btw, the comment section is a goldmine of great ideas, so I suggest taking a moment to click through to those even if you’ve already read the post. There’s a great tip mentioned by multiple people that I’m going to start following stat.
What follows is an elaboration of item 3, about giving your stuff a good life.
Ok. Bear with me on this. We’re in for a bit of an ideas journey here. I had a revelation last month as we started packing for our annual 4 hour roadtrip to my husband’s family reunion. With a growing family, we started worrying a couple years ago that we would need extra cargo space for the 5-ish day trip.
I found this Thule cargo box for a steal in early 2022, and we’ve used it twice since then. In between its annual trip, it sits in our basement, covered with off-season shoes and jackets.
Now that we’re converting our basement from a storage space to a people space (aka a guest suite and workout area), we had to clear out the entire basement and solve for where and how to store this cargo box going forward.
Upon reflection, I realized we are not very active owners of this thing. We could truthfully fit everything in the trunk of our SUV if need be. And we only use it once a year.
There were two competing perspectives in my house:
Since it does come in handy once a year, we should keep it and find a new spot to store it.
Since we only use it once a year, we should just rent one when we need it rather than store it for 360 days in between trips.
(I’ll let you guess which perspective was mine…)
With my husband’s begrudging support, I listed it on Facebook Marketplace for $50 more than we paid for it. A woman inquired a couple days later.
She and her husband came to check it out in person and decided to buy it. As I helped them attach it to their truck, she told me about their plans.
She and her husband are retired and fell in love with Alaska on a cruise years ago. They’ve spent months planning a long road trip up through Canada to Alaska in a small RV so they can explore the whole state. Their kids and grandkids will fly up at different points to join them for parts of the trip.
As I saw our cargo box drive off, I felt so joyous in my heart about the epic adventure it’s about to experience. The Thule box was designed to be taken on great adventures, and we had given it a pathetic, dusty, basement-dwelling existence.
Look at our little cargo box, set free to fulfill its greatest dreams!
It’s true that now we will have to deal with some logistics around renting a cargo box next year (assuming we even need one), but we’ve gained:
Storage space we no longer have to devote to a large, empty box
The joy of knowing our cargo box is living up to its potential as adventure gear, instead of collecting dust in our basement
It felt so good! Our cargo box has a new, amazing life ahead and even though it’s an inanimate object this feels like it’s a destiny fulfilled. I realize this story begs some additional questions about my mental state, given that I’m imbuing random objects with a destiny. We shall ignore those questions for now.
Instead, I’ve been trying to apply this thinking to other belongings we store:
How can we display more of our treasures, rather than store them away? Or, if we don’t want to or lack space to display them, maybe it’s time to say goodbye.
Supplies for projects I haven’t gotten to or hobbies I never quite embraced need to go to new homes where they’ll be used and enjoyed.
I have thousands of photos on my phone that I never look at. Why did I waste time taking them and paying for extra storage? I’ve started pruning my collection and finding ways to share and enjoy the photos more. More on that in another post.
For more psychological help (from an admittedly questionable source) in rethinking your relationship with items in your house, here’s additional thoughts:
Do you have something in your basement or storage area that could be out living its best life? Are you ready to set it free?