Having a clutter-filled house and garage was extremely stressful, overwhelming and sometimes dangerous to walk through.
Everywhere I turned, there were mounds of books, boxes, toys, magazines and just about anything else you can imagine a person owning.
Heaps of old clothes were piled three-to-four feet high, sometimes on top of broken furniture that I just “hadn’t gotten around to fixing” in months.
To make matters worse, I couldn’t convince myself to get rid of the college books from my days at Hofstra University, in case I ever needed to research information in an emergency situation.
I admit that I was a compulsive hoarder. If I saw someone throwing something away, I would tell myself that I could save the item and find a use for it. I was the classic “pack rat,” saving everything from old newspaper clippings to five-year-old credit card receipts to outdated electronics items just in case I ever needed them for parts.
I came to the decision to make a change in my life when it literally became a chore to walk through my house without tripping over something. My clutter-filled house was a true safety hazard, with risks ranging from falling boxes to sharp, breakable objects on the floor.
Once, I scraped my leg on a metal hanger that was dangling out of a box filled with old clothes, and another time, I slipped on a Nintendo video game that I hadn’t played in years.
It was definitely time for a change.
Luckily, having prior experience with eBay sales was very helpful in turning a clutter-filled house into a clean, clear, stress-free environment.
By using the popular auction website, I was able to whittle down my possessions to a core of just the necessities: my computer, acoustic guitar, bed, a television and stereo. By early-2012, I started listing and selling my old “stuff” on eBay, and within months, I was down to a core of just 10-20 basic possessions.
A recent New York Times blog post by Carl Richards claims that “When we hold on to stuff we no longer want or use, it does indeed cost us something more, if only in the time spent organizing and contemplating them.”
Richards’ assessment is spot-on, as it essentially makes the very fair point that “time equals money.”
When I was a pack rat, I spent so much time fiddling with my old possessions that it took away from doing other things like spending time with friends and family, or even focusing on school work or exercise.
That said, it’s clear that I did indeed “save” by owning fewer possessions, even if that savings was in time and not actual money.
So, you ask, what is it like to live with just a few possessions, when I used to be a pack rat? It feels fantastic. I’m no longer controlled by my possessions, and I have a true sense of freedom.
The New York Times blogger suggests donating items to charity to get a tax write-off, but I went the eBay route to make some quick, easy cash. I am pleased with the decision, and I don’t miss my “stuff” at all.