About every 10 years I get the bright idea to have a garage sale. Every single time that I have given in to this urge, I have sworn up, down and sideways that I will never, EVER have a garage sale again no matter what. Not ever. And yet, all winter, I was in a purge mode to beat all purges. I was ruthless in clearing out cabinets, drawers, and closets. The attic, the basement, and the garage could not escape my keen eye or my burning desire to turn my trash into treasure. The day dawned, my whole family helped me haul and organize and price. My eyes gleamed – this was good stuff! I was ready to make a killing.
As I sat waiting and waiting and waiting for the masses to arrive and begin fighting over the priceless items that I was parting with, I started to mentally calculate the amount of money that all of this stuff had cost at full retail. Jewelry upon jewelry, scarves, cooking gadgets, boxes and boxes of boxes, videos, video systems and games, candles, oh, my heaves, I could have lit up the city with the candles! Stuff, stuff and more stuff. Tens of thousands of dollars of stuff that I sold for, wait for it, $127! Yes, hauling, organizing, and spending a day of my life to make $127. Not to mention the thousands of dollars represented by all of that stuff. That is fractions of pennies on the dollar. I don’t even remember buying some of it; couldn’t recall why I got it or if I even used it. What a waste.
I compare that feeling to the feeling I have when I walk into my remodeled bathroom. The cost of that was probably far less than the accumulated value of all that stuff, but I smile every time I walk in. I am happy every time I shower and don’t worry if water is leaking into the basement. I know that redoing the bathroom added to the value of my house; it is giving me enjoyment many times a day, and its value will last years rather than days or months.
This whole comparison gives me great pause now when I am tempted to toss something into the cart at Target or the clothing store. Is this really going to bring more than a fleeting moment of value to my life? Do I need another necklace, a candle (NO), or a book that I could get at the library? Probably not. Is this thing going to end up at my next garage sale 10 years from now when the garage sale blues have faded?
I hope that I will focus more on spending money on the big things that bring real value to my life and not the little trinkets that drain money and just create more clutter. How about you?
To your financial success!