Follow the Decluttering:
Vintage or Garbage
This is me on my Wonder Horse when I was a kid. It was one of my favorite toys of all time. With my horse and a lasso, I thought I was going to be the next rodeo star. One of my favorite rodeo events to emulate though was steer wrestling. I would ride as hard as I could, then leap off and tackle something - pillows, cushions, whatever.
After I outgrew my Wonder Horse, my little sister played with it and so did many of my nephews. At some point I brought it to my own home for my kids to play with.
Nothing lasts forever though
Before I knew it, I had to put tape over a crack in the saddle to prevent pinched rear ends. The kids kept playing with it and it only got worse. Last month, when I had a wet basement to deal with I moved several things, including the horse, to the garage.
I kept looking at it knowing that I should get rid of it. No one had been playing with it for a while. It was fairly dangerous with the broken seat, the handle that wouldn’t stay on anymore, and the sharp metal stand that was missing a rubber cap.
But how could I possibly part with my horse?
I had spent countless hours playing with it as a kid and enjoyed watching my own kids play with it. After all, this is vintage 1979 and people collect these things. It’s worth money right? What about all the great memories? In other words, all the usual excuses went through my mind about why you can’t part with a sentimental item.
When I mentioned it to one of my sisters I heard, “You can’t get rid of your horse!” I started thinking that maybe I could repair it. Then I thought of all the other projects I have laying around the house I already don’t have time for. Since I have six sisters, advice is never more than a phone call away. I asked another and found out she still has hers. She plans to make a carousel horse out of it. “Then what?” I asked. “It’ll just sit around in a corner I guess. I should probably get rid of it”.
I broke down and decided to sell
I put it for sale on a local Facebook group for the bargain price of $15. After a week, I lowered it to $10. Here’s an interesting thing about selling on Facebook. If you didn’t know, you can check the statistics of your item to see how many people have looked at it, saved it, etc. The stats on my horse were poor. Even at $10.
I finally worked up the courage to put it on the curb
I deleted the posting on Facebook and set it on the curb in front of our house. Normally, you can put anything out here and it will disappear in a matter of hours. Late that night, it was still there and the forecast was for rain. I brought it back into the garage. The next day I did the same thing. An excited grandparent stopped and rang the doorbell to make sure I was giving it away. When I showed him the broken seat, he changed his mind and drove away.
Someone finally took it. I keep telling myself it went to someone who will repair it and not to a scrap dealer. I’m sure my beloved Wonder Horse is being repaired right now so a kid can pretend to be the next rodeo star.
What did I learn from throwing my childhood on the curb?
First, I learned I don’t miss the horse, but I love the extra space I gained in my basement. Second, I learned that while my sisters sometimes have good advice, they are not the ones to ask if I should get rid of something. Third, when you detach yourself from a sentimental item and look at it objectively, it will be lot easier to see why you should let it go. In this case, I zeroed in on the broken seat and sharp metal and realized it was unsafe. I knew I would never get around to repairing it, assuming that was even possible. Finally, you can convince yourself that the sentimental item you were attached to is still out there making someone else happy. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.
How many times has this happened to you? You’re out somewhere and see a flyer about an event you want to remember so you take a picture. Or, you’re child hands you a flyer for a field trip so you snap a picture with your phone. It makes so much sense because you can retrieve the information when you need it. Unfortunately, those photos get lost among all the others you’ve taken. Weeks or months later you’re scrolling through all your photos trying to find the information from the flyer or the field trip.
We make frequent use of our city library but my wife always had the kids’ library cards in her purse. I finally laid them all out and took a picture but again, after a few months, I could never find them among my photos. Then, the obvious and simple solution occurred to me.
Make a folder
I now have in my phone a folder, or album, called Quick Access where I put these things. On an Android phone it’s easy to create a custom folder for your pictures. Open your phone’s photo gallery and go to the Album view. At the top of the screen, there is an icon of a folder with a plus sign in the middle. Click the plus sign and give it a name like “Quick Access” or if you are creative enough to come up with something cooler, then give it a more interesting name. Depending on your phone and storage options, you may be able to specify where the album lives.
The next time you take a picture of a flyer or the cover of a book you want to look for at the library, move the picture into your quick access folder so you can find it later. Obviously, this method will only work for so long if you don’t do some occasional housekeeping. We’ll tackle digital clutter later though.
I don’t have an Apple but I expect it’s a pretty similar process to create an album and move pictures into it. In fact, it may even be easier. You can go as far as you want with this method and create several albums. You could create a folder for work, one for your kids’ stuff, and one for project ideas or something. You can use this method to organize all your photos, not just field trip flyers and lost dog posters.
Be careful though if you have some sort of automatic backup feature to save the photos on your phone. Make sure that your new folders are being saved to your Google Photos, iCloud, or wherever they are supposed to be going. These services may not automatically see the new folders.
I wanted to write a quick post just to make sure everyone knows I'm still here! Since having our fourth child in February, it's been pretty tough to find time to write anything. My time has been filled with swimming, baseball, softball, maintaining my house, a Baptism and First Communion on the same day, a 2nd Grade field trip to a museum, Cub Scout activities, rock climbing with the kids, the Detroit Whisky Festival, a piano recital, and even my first 5K of the year. Not to mention I have a job to go to every day and I'm still constantly removing things from my house.
A couple weeks ago, our sump pump stopped working right after a weekend of heavy rain. It was by far the most water we've had in our basement in the 14 years we've lived here. Nothing was ruined but we had so much stuff stored downstairs that I took a bunch of it to the garage just so I could move some other things off the wet carpet. It was motivation to purge so I wouldn't have to carry it all back downstairs. I sold a set of three heavy wood bar stools on Facebook and posted a couple other items for free just to get rid of them. Now I have a plumbing job ahead of me to replace the sump pump and install a backup system.
As you can see I've been too busy to do much writing but I have gained a few new email subscribers. Welcome! If you are getting emails but haven't followed me on Facebook, please do. Likewise, if you aren't receiving emails, you can subscribe just by putting your email in the form below. Also, if you ever have a question, comment, suggestion, or just want to say hi, you can email me at Dave@DaveLubke.com or send me a message with Facebook messenger.
Finally, I have one small request. If you happen to be on my website, take a look to the left side of your screen. You should see a small rectangle that says "Reviews" with a green check mark next to it. Please take a second to click on that and then click on the stars to rate me. If you have benefited from my website in any way, I would love it if you left a short review (preferably a good one and 4 or 5 stars). This just lets others know that my website is a safe site that can be trusted and that it's not some sort of scam or phishing website.
Thanks for reading and rest assured I have a few posts already in the works and plan to get back into a regular posting routine very soon.
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Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2018
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