Thursday, March 3, 2011

Giving things away

image courtesy of myrpgame.com
I’ve been thinking about stuff lately. You know, stuff. The accretion of physical objects that leak into our lives, become precious and then become anchors to where we are and who we were.

I’d like to have less stuff, but I’m awfully attached to it. This worries me.

As you may know, I’ve been helping a friend clean out his mother’s home – she is a compulsive hoarder – so I have some idea of what can happen when we hold on too tightly to all the stuff in our lives. I’ve been thinking about how to get rid of some of my stuff and have some ideas.
  1. Throw it away. Rent a dumpster and have a wholesale disposal party. I know a couple who had to do this when they moved (they didn’t plan well and ended up with more than they could take with no time left to give it away or sell it) and it broke their hearts. I don’t want to do this.
  2. Sell it in the local paper, craigslist or eBay. Some of this stuff is undoubtedly valuable. I have offered some of it for sale, with mixed results. Honestly, I find this kind of selling to be generally more trouble than it’s worth.
  3. Give it away via freecycle. I’ve done some of this, but have had some frustration with unreliable pick-ups and so on. I’ll do so again, but I don’t have the time to answer 400 items about a pair of socks.
  4. Sort through it and give it to a worthy charitable organization. I can also give it away directly, offering sweaters to homeless people and books to schools. I have done this and find it satisfying; I will do so again. 
All of these methods help with most of what I want to get rid of, but they don’t help with sentimental items, those things I no longer need or use but can’t bear to just put in a bag.

This is where you come in. I’d like to give you some of the things that come with stories attached. By giving them to you, I can tell myself they will be used and appreciated. I’m going to do this here and on my other blog over the next several weeks (I’ll give away food and cooking related items there). This ties in with my increasing interest in the value of a giving things away in general, be it content, time or product.

Every Saturday I’ll post an item and its story. If you want the item please tell me in the comments section. Let me know why you’d like it, why it interests you, what you might do with it. A sentence or two will do. Make sure I have a way to contact you. I’ll pay for shipping within the U.S. Once you get the item, if you’re so inclined, post a comment and let me know how you’ll use it. This isn’t necessarily first-come-first-served. The best story gets the prize.

Just so you know, here are some of the things I’m thinking of offering here and on my other blog:
  • Old cookbooks and recipe booklets
  • Fabric
  • Jewelry
  • Beads
  • Books I have loved and would like to share
  • Paper ephemera
  • Music I have loved and would like to share
  • Etc.
If there is interest in this I think it would make a neat series. Thanks for helping me out. I’ll feel better, knowing the things I’m giving away are going to people who will appreciate them, people I have some connection with. And you will have a story and a new thing to play with. Check back on Saturday here and here for the first offering.

(c)2011 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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