It was fun while it lasted

A friend of mine had a garage sellers strategy: 1st item 10c, 2nd item 5$ third 15$, no matter what it was! I try to live with little storage, my weaknesses are my tiles, fabric, custom fashions, and a few boxes of mementoes including most hand written cards with the art cover torn off. Here at our forever home we have a huge garage and the shipping container so… My bags to the second hand store are less than what I bring home… I’ll admit! Yesterday I bought a Ralph Lauren dress with tags (184$) for 8$…!
Nordling good luck with the sale of your stuff! Are there deserving charities there that will give a tax write off?


It isn’t my stuff…. It is the kids stuff that fills my garage and cupboards!
Every time they visit I give them a box with the threat of, you take it, you sort it or I will give it away!


…and then there’s the storage quest. Because I have a trunk and two chests that contain family photos going back a century (in the trunk) and family artifacts like the 49 star flag from my grandfather’s coffin (he died in that short time between when Alaska was admitted to statehood and Hawai’i was, and 49 star American flags are pretty rare), I need heated storage.

I called every place in town with storage. All of them offered to put me on the waiting list. Fortunately a former boss of mine owns a small downtown office building with basement storage that few people know about. I used it before I moved into this house, but it has a very narrow and steep stairway. So I have no choice but to rent 3x more space than I need, at $150/mo. I hope that I can find someone to share it. At least I’ll only be storing this stuff until I can bring the boat here.

I figured there’s a limit to how much stuff, if any, one’s adult children should be allowed to store at Mom’s house.

I did the same- if they don’t want it cluttering up their place, why do they assume it’s fine for it to be cluttering up yours?.

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Note to you and any readers… if you ship things in USPS flat rate boxes you can have them picked up by your letter carrier. So you can go pick up a bunch of boxes at the PO and not go back for awhile. Obviously this only works well with relatively small things as even the largest flat rate box isn’t very large.

Or conversely, even if you don’t use flat rate… you can buy a postage scale, pack up a box and print a label with postage at home. Then take the box and drop it off at the PO saving time standing in line. I’ve sold quite a few books on ebay that way.

It is so hard to part with certain things. There’s something, at least for me, about realizing it’s the end of the line for something. I have some things, like my mother’s high school yearbooks or my baby things that there is literally no one in the world interested in. I just can’t quite toss it yet. But soon.


Seems like there are collectors of about anything you can think of. Like antique yearbooks. And I don’t know what your baby stuff consists of, but depending on what it is, I could see some young struggling single mom grateful for whatever baby stuff came her way.

And guess what? Even those of us with grown kids have no one to give most of our keepsakes to. The younger generation doesn’t want that stuff, it seems.

I did give my old high school yearbooks to my oldest granddaughter, who got a real kick out of the styles and bouffant hairdos.

The things I’m referring to probably don’t have any value. Things like the hair from my first haircut, my baby book, the last time my mom had a professional portrait done. Things that I had that do have value to collectors have mostly been sold. For example the pristine, still on the card, TWA Jr. Stewardess pin from my first flight to Europe in 1961.

Oh, I know. I have many friends with homes full of collectibles, not just junk, and kids in the 20’s and 30’s with no interest.


My Dad left all his hand drawn architecture drawings at Moms when they divorced. Many times they were offered to me. Now, how I wish I had them, as he eventually retrieved them and then left us kids nothing.

Ah, well maybe you should designate that stuff to be buried or cremated with you. Seems like a fitting end to all of it.

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I’ve signed up for the willed body program at the local med school. And when they are done my cremains will be put in a mass depository. But I appreciate you trying to be helpful.

BTW, there are conditions attached to the donation, they don’t actually have to take it. So something else might have to be done but there still isn’t going to be any kind of interrment of remains.


I’m cheap, so I check and usually my own box with priority label costs less than the flat rate box, unless the item is very heavy.

The USPS low cost media rate for shipping books is great.

You can order the free flat rate boxes, including regional rate A and B boxes, and priority stickers on the USPS site, and they will drop all the materials off at your address.

And I say hello to the post office workers as I dash in and out dropping the prelabeled boxes on the counter. I use to print labels. It keeps a record of all shipments and shows tracking info on USPS and UPS packages. There are several mail label services to choose from.

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I’m the family historian and genealogist, as well as a photographer, so I got Grandpa’s folding Kodak and all his negatives, which include construction progress photos of his hydroelectric and power line projects.

And 75 years of family letters. And 4 generations of cookbooks, starting with great grandma’s handwritten in a ledger book starting 1880.

And some quilts which I won’t take on a boat. They are in a Chinese carved camphorwood trade chest circa 1920s.

If I’m lucky I’ll be able to persuade my sis to let me build a small climate controlled storage building near her new house.


My husband is greatly amused by how much I have gotten rid of by giving it one item at a time to relatives and saying "Grandma (your aunt, your cousin - whatever fits) wanted you to have this. My mother died in 2005 so the excuse is wearing thin. The look of bewilderment over some of the items is priceless. I’ve also heard of people bringing odd objects to parties, etc. and quietly putting them on remote shelves in the other person’s house. Have a little fun with downsizing!


I made up something I call “guerrilla donations” for small items.

There is a nonprofit association or museum for almost any vintage object you have – books, tchotchkes, toys, sports, skilled trades, local history, public transit, you name it.

I made up a generic fill-in-the-blank letter – dear organization, enclosed is my donation of such-and-such objects, if you don’t want them, bin them.

I included a tear-off donation acknowledgement on the bottom listing the organization, object(s), with signature line, and a stamped self-addressed envelope to return it to me, so as to make it as painless as possible for my targets.

I have about a 50% acknowledgement rate. So I either get a tax deduction or I’ve outsourced disposal for the cost of shipping.

This is psychologically more appealing to me than putting low value but sentimental items into my own trash can.

For paper memorabilia, I’ve used my backyard firepit to have a little bit of ceremony. Some of it I take photos of first. It was just too hard, for example, to toss grandma’s fancy secretarial school certificate – it was a milestone in her life – into the trash can with the other garbage.

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Strikes me that’s something an accountant would automatically think of…

…oh wait.




I’m not going to be shipping stuff anywhere but there are certainly thrift stores in town that will take things in that category. And when it comes time to have that estate sale I referenced above, a bunch of stuff can go there. I had a whole bag of snail mail that my dad had written to my mom during WWII. I flipped through it all quickly to make sure there was nothing of value in any of the envelopes. Aside from the one piece of v-mail in the lot, I didn’t care to save any of it. So it went to a garage sale my sister had and sure enough someone paid $10 for the bag. There are a few other things I could probably group together into lots and get something for it on ebay.

“I yam what I yam.”
Popeye the Sailor Man.

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I have a pile of letters Dad wrote Mom, his future bride, when on a destroyer in the Korean war. My favorite goes something like this:

“Me and Joe had to work on wiring for the guidance system yesterday. Say, what do think about getting married? So today I’ll be checking the batteries on the . . .”


When I cleared out my Canadian house, I went though a dozen big photo albums and culled all the crummy and redundant photos, photos of people I haven’t seen or had contact with in 50 years and could hardly remember, etc.and pared it down to 2 photo albums.

I also went through all my old journals, which had a mix of shopping lists, to do lists, poems or quotes I liked, drawings and ideas for projects, cool things I had cut out from magazines. I cut out a few pages from each journal of what I wanted to keep, and ended up with one new journal instead of 15.

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