Sunday, February 26, 2017

The real value of material things

This little guy doesn't need expensive toys to be happy, there's a swing set at the park
In my last post, I described how our family has been embracing a more minimalist lifestyle lately.  This has been a big job for us and has involved a ton of organizing, cleaning and eliminating things around the house. 

Over the last few years, we have slowly been accumulating a ton of excess stuff.  When we first moved into our home back in 2010, friends were very happy to donate their unused tables, chairs, and desks.  Once my wife got pregnant, we received a ton of baby supplies donated to us including: a crib, bassinet, various baby swings, stuffed animals, clothing, books and more.  We’ve also purchased a bunch of random knick-knacks like vases, teacups, and lamps.

We are very thankful that many of our friends were able to give us great quality used furniture and baby items.  Many of the hand-me-down baby clothes could only be used a few times until our son grew out of them.  This has helped to keep our expenses to a minimum.

Now that we no longer have use for many things around the house, we’ve been trying to reduce the amount of material items that we have.  Minimizing the amount of stuff we have has been a slow process.  It took years to accumulate all these items.  Every day, we have been organizing things to keep and things to toss.  It’s amazing how much the monetary value of something can drop when no one else wants it.  Some people may be good at selling used junk, but I have no interest in it.  If I can’t sell something easily, I will donate it or trash it.  There are several Goodwill donation centers close to our home.  We’ve also had to call trash services to come pick up a few big items. 
The Tempur-Pedic mattress foundation we finally ended up giving away for free
We finally got rid of an old mattress foundation that we’ve been hanging for the last few years.  I’ve been hesitant to part with it, since it cost $500 back in 2010.  When I tried to sell it, I realized that no consignment stores in my area would take it and no one was interested on Craigslist.  I ended up offering it for free on, a neighborhood online social community.  We have parted with plenty of items that cost quite a bit when first purchased, and now are pretty much worthless. 

With tax refunds coming back to millions of Americans, companies are trying their best to get consumers to part with their new money.  I’m seeing tons of advertisements on ways to “get the max out of your tax refund” by spending it on sales.  When I was younger, I would always treat my tax refund as “free money” and quickly use it towards some type of frivolous spending.  New companies try to get you set on monthly recurring subscriptions for new clothing, toys, shavers, and even dog toys.  What people don’t realize is that many of these material items end up creating clutter. 

Experiencing first hand how little monetary value many material things hold helps us choose very carefully what type of items we will buy in the future.  In the future, we would rather spend money on experiences, rather than material goods.  And if we’re going to buy any material goods, we will aim to purchase high quality items only.  Our lives are too valuable to spend chasing material things.     
Time spent playing outdoors with my dog is priceless, and yet it does not cost any money
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