As the old saying goes, “Tacos – you can’t take them with you.”
Aside from the two pallets of clothes and toys we shipped a month ago, I didn’t start packing for our transatlantic relocation until about 10pm the night before. Physically packing I mean. A writer friend of mine reminds me that writing is not the typing, it’s the thinking and processing mentally before you arrive at the page.
So I’d let some things go in advance. So much stuff. Such terrible waste. I haven’t read all of the Minimalists blog yet, so I’m just going to guess that they say less is more or something like that. I judge a book by the cover, a blog my the tag line. It’s a habit. My craigslist-fu was strong, and I’d been on a roll.
How to Craigslist like a ninja:
1. Avoid the craigslist crazies using a door policy
I’d avoided many of the crazies using a porch or door policy. Unless it’s more than $100 you don’t get in my house. Or to meet me. And you only get a google phone number I use just for crazies. Once we’ve established a rapport and set a meet time, I give you my address. Then I tell you that I can’t be there and will leave the item on the porch, and ask you to leave the money under the mat. It works.
2. Avoid haggling
Except maybe for cars, I just put a price that was fair. That people didn’t feel the need to argue about. I’m a professional negotiator, but I’m also lazy and the amount of effort it would take to follow through with a bluff (“no, that’s not enough I’m afraid, have a nice day, I’ll find someone else to buy it”) was not worth it for me. I just wanted things gone.
3. Have a line of people for high value items
I’d like to claim that I planned this one, but I didn’t. I sold two cars in an hour by inadvertently scheduling four people to show up at my house at once to buy various things. Actually, it was only three people. One of them was delivering the margarita machine for our leaving party, but the car buyers didn’t know that. It made negotiations simple. “If you don’t buy it, I’m going to talk to the next person who is waiting there.” As far as they knew, everyone was there to buy the car they were interested in. I told three people to wait in the kitchen, and showed one person the car.
Craigslist – it’s like ex-lax for your home – sell your mucoid plaque
More of “how not to pack when relocating your family” will follow. I managed to give a great deal of things away to friends and to Goodwill to make the actual physical packing part quicker. Even then, I had stuff to get rid of. And I don’t feel bad for burdening my hoarder friends with stuff. Mainly because I’m selfish and the occasional, “I really need one of these – I just bought one yesterday so I can return that to the shop,” assuages any guilt.
If you look around you right now, don’t you have more stuff than you’ll need?
I mean even booze. I pared down and poured down to get down to a single bottle of vodka and some lemon drop mix. And I use booze as a cure for anything:
- Staying awake
- Finding people interesting
- Not having to feel anything
- Resolving anger issues (still not working but I haven’t given up)
- Going to sleep
- Freeing my conscious mind from worry so that my unconscious can suggest some solutions
- Social awkwardness
The list goes on, it really does. But despite that miracle snake oil remedy of pouring booze down my throat at every possible juncture, I even ended up with half a bottle of Smirnoff that I couldn’t drink. And as they say, you can’t take it with you. The Pharaohs tried – they got it all buried with them, and some upper crust Victorian toff with a pith helmet (or a girl with short shorts and a tight top and ponytail depending on your research) broke into their tomb and had away with it.
Do I feel better with less stuff? Yes I do right now, partially as I don’t have to lug it around with me, and as I’m staying in an AirBnB apartment which comes with its own stuff, and I haven’t had to change any timing belts or scan any documents in the last 36 hours.
I hope that I can have the discipline to use my resources for something else than the acquisition of stuff in the next place we live.
Oh yes, and we’re in Iceland with no night time to speak of having just left our family home, so there’s all sorts of loss, lag and confusion going on. So I’m focused on the lack of stuff right now.