Sunday, February 6, 2011

Buy Buy

Big night for marketers to try to sell their stuff to us.  As you probably caught on with the post from a couple days ago,(Money Talks and So Does Football),  I am looking forward to seeing the commercials that cost THREE MILLION DOLLARS FOR EACH THIRTY SECONDS.

I think I used to enjoy spending more than I do now.  I don't know exactly when I lost the thrill but at some point it just lost it's luster.  Part of the demise of my "like to spend" mentality probably came with those 21 moves that I mentioned in an earlier post.
With those moves came 21 homes that each needed stuff to make it our home.  You know, things like curtains, rugs, new carpet, paint, pictures and on and on and on.  Only to move on a couple of years later and buy new this and new that for the next place.

After almost 40 years of marriage, 21 moves, raising two kids, it turns out that we accumulated STUFF.
*Just to set the record straight, these moves were corporate moves, we weren't trying to out run the law or anything remotely interesting.

With all that moving and buying though, I did develop some skills.  I got really organized.  I mean UBER organized.  I can pack and put away a household worth of goods (with the help of my co-organizer hubby) in about a day.  Not impressed??  Well you should be because we had a LOT of stuff.

Moving into Grand Island, NE from St. Louis (three moves, 4 houses ago) we had the best mover that ever has walked the earth.  I am not exaggerating.  This guy loaded us in a day and didn't break a sweat.  AND he was friendly and smiled all day. 
Of course, a few weeks after we moved into the Grand Island house, I got a note from my husband's employer.  They had gotten the bill for our move  The note read:

                          Got the bill on your move.  Sixteen thousand pounds.  Don't you people believe in garage sales?

When we moved out of Grand Island, NE to Dallas, TX (two moves, three houses ago) the mover tried to tell me he could get all our stuff on a 48 foot truck.  No, way in HELL, I say.  You absolutely need 53 foot truck.  Of course, he pulls out with the "Lady, I have been doing this a long time and I can get it on a 48 ft. truck.  And I say, Oh yeah, knock yourself out. 

By the end of the 2nd day of loading, after taking assorted things off, repacking, reloading, putting stuff in the cab and tying crud to the back of the truck, he was not speaking to me.  Too bad, so sad buddy.  TOLD YA SO.

Leaving Texas we also had a really nice mover. He wasn't quite on the same level as St. Louis guy because, he too seemed to think he could get everything into 48 ft.  I say "take my word for it, you are going to need a 53 footer".  Guess who won this battle?   He ended calling a buddy from Kansas City that had a small moving company.  KC mover guy came down to TX   with a smaller truck for the overflow.  Both guys were really nice and did a fine job moving us.   Plus they got pity points for moving us  on July 3rd, a hot muggy day that turned rainy.  Kansas humidity is bad enough but you really had to feel bad for the guys working in the rain.

So a day later, everything is neatly put away and we are ready to buy what needs to be bought.  Fresh draperies, throw rugs, etc.   Moving = spending. 

As I gained all this experience of spending, moving,  organizing, spending, moving and organizing, I decided I had a talent for all three.  In Texas, I started a little side business offering some training classes.  My little company offered classes on Organizing Your Life as well as a class about "Debt Free Living". (and a few others that I will address in future posts)

 For those of you that are jumping to any conclusions about my "Debt Free Living" class because of all the STUFF, don't get all snarky!!!  I have been known to spend,  but we only spend what we can afford.  We are big proponents of debt free living.  I can smell a bargain a mile away. I will, no doubt, be doing a post or two on that subject down the road.

With that little bit of background you might understand more my point of view with the rest of today's post.


As you might have already figured out that the fact I keep a real estate license gives me ample opportunity to see how people live.  (not to mention it makes selling houses a lot more cost effective for me personally).  Even in my "not working very hard at it" frame of mind, I see that a large percentage of people are busting out of the seams as far as their homes go.  Back when I first got a real estate license (I think that was 1986 or maybe 1984 whatever)  most of the homes I listed, I would give them a couple of little tasks to get it ready to sell.  Now, I keep "1-800-GOT-JUNK on speed dial.  There is some serious over consuming going on in our world. 

Here is a test for you

A.  Providing you have any chairs or sofas in your house, can you sit on them or are they currently acting as a magazine rack, shoe rack or clothes closet?

B.  Are you able to enter every room in the house without needing a scoop shovel?

C. Have you lost any small pets and think maybe they have run away?

D.  Have you gained any small pets named  BEN?

E.  Can you walk in the front door?  If this answer is no, are you able to climb in a window on the ground floor??

If you are having trouble figuring out what the correct answers should be, feel free to email me. 

For you shoppers or collectors out there that are now offended, I am here to tell you are not alone.  All of us,  our family included, have been seduced into wanting all the latest gadgets, trends, styles, must haves that seem to make our lives better. Our houses have gotten bigger to house more things, our dependency on technology grows by leaps and bounds. (I am with you on that one...really like gadgets)  Here is where my ever present "being conflicted" rears it's ugly head.  When does having stuff become having too much stuff????

Today in real estate,  before most houses go on the market, they need to be staged.  In some cases that just means tidied up and the decor somewhat neutralized. However, in  MANY  instances that is another way of saying "Hey, we need to clear out this crapfest if you ever want to sell this house." Would that be stating it too harshly.  Maybe there is a reason that I need to get out of the real estate biz.

Just to bring an actual example of over zealous collecting of STUFF (as if the proliferation of public storage facilities don't prove it) it was my um, struggling for a word, that's not still not right...I give up,

Here's the example:

If any of you followers are not familiar with Grand Island, NE, let me fill you in.  Nice little town with about 45,000 people or at least when we lived there in the late 1990's.  Great community but not a lot of entertainment.  Once you have exhausted the local activities you could drive to Lincoln for some additional entertainment.  But for a while in the 1990 there was a house that was worth a drive by just for the entertainment value. 

Seems that Mrs. G. (I am not using her name as she might have relatives that would rather I not be relaying this little gem of a story.) started collecting things from her great love of garage sales.  Mrs. G. was college educated, well to do financially (at one time anyway), and had a pretty nice two story, white house (at one time anyway) and started shopping in earnest.  Turns out after the first floor was completely full and the windows had been pushed outward  and the front door was no longer useable she started entering shimmying up a ladder into a second story window.  I am not making this up!  People would drive by to watch her hiking up the side of the house with bags of garage sale finds.

  The neighbors were not loving this as you might expect.  So they tried to get her house condemned for some kind of code violation.  No dice.  Turns out there was no law on the books at that time governing this situation as long as the city couldn't find health problems or safety problems.  They tried to make a case that homeowners  shouldn't be scaling up the sides of their homes for entry but seems that isn't against any rules.   (Let's assume that there might be some rules to that effect today in GI, Nebraska). 

I used to have some articles and pictures related to Mrs. G's house, but somewhere in my "downsizing" I guess it got organized right out of here.  Oh, well, less is more as they say.

So with that story fresh in our mind, let's all go out and buy something.

The Good for the day.....

That we live in a world that we can have "things" in our lives that make our lives more enjoyable.

The bad for the day....

When our "things" take over our lives, or we hinge our happiness, or self worth on our possessions.

The weird for the day....

When we have so much stuff we can no longer  contain it something has to give.   When S*** starts falling out the windows, it is time to quit buying and start selling.

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