Barbara Barrett

Romance at Work

Midwest Musings: Decluttering, Part 2

I am going to be interviewed on the radio this coming Thursday, June 13! Hear me on the Author’s Corner, with host Elaine Raco Chase at www.trianglevarietyradio.com, click on blog talk at 7:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time. It will be rebroadcast on Saturday night, June 15. Podcasts will be available after the show. I will be giving away a copy of either The Sleepover Clause or And He Cooks Too. Tune in to find out how you might win it.

Photo by Leslie Sloan

Photo by Leslie Sloan

I am also currently participating in the “A Year of Love Blog Hop” with several other Crimson Romance authors as we celebrate CR’s first year anniversary. Click on the Blog Hop tab above for more details about how, by participating, you have the chance to win a $50 gift card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble, as well as read excerpts from each of our books and an original round robin story created by some of our authors.

Decluttering – Part 2

Once you start to gather things you no longer need, you have to decide how to dispose of them. In this household, simply trashing them via a dumpster, isn’t an option. At least not the first, second or third choice, unless something is in really bad shape. In order to continue the decluttering process, we’ve had to deal with the dispensing issue. books

The first decision was to have a garage sale. This was no small determination, because I don’t like to do these. Garage/yard/estate sales involve a lot of backbreaking work just pricing items and hauling them out to be displayed. Worse, though, are the comments of shoppers. This was my personal “stuff.”  How can potential buyers be so uncaring and cavalier in their assessments whether or not to buy? But I have a very helpful friend, who has offered to help me set up. Based on that, I gave in. GS Day is still three weeks out.

The next stage of GS planning involves figuring out where to put all these goodies while we’re getting ready. My husband cleared a space for them in one of the garage stalls. But it is almost full, and we’re nowhere close to having everything there. I have this awful feeling that I’ll soon be parking my car outside, using that space for overflow.

As I’ve come to accept the idea of a garage sale, I’ve also moved on to other means of disposal for things I think might bring a larger return elsewhere: a used bookstore, a resale store for women’s clothing, a group that collects clothing donated for women entering the job market who can’t afford a work wardrobe, and charitable organizations that resell donations. So I set out to explore the first two options.

A used bookstore is anathema for a published writer. (Had to look up the meaning of “anathema,” but I used it correctly.) because it represents the next-to-last step in the publications cycle, the final step being either giving them away or trashing them.  After all the time and effort, not to count the creative juices that go into birthing our darlings, then the high of publication, this stage is not so fun.  As if that isn’t difficult enough to accept, as the consumer, it’s even worse seeing the books you’ve purchased with such care over the years yield a pittance from those who buy them back from you. I took in four boxes of hardbound books only to receive $24.

clothes

Clothing waiting to be inventoried and dropped off

But the day wasn’t over yet. It got worse. Instead of a consignment store for a few chosen items of clothing with very little wear or none, I took my things to a resale store that bought them outright. “Stick them in the box, fill out our form and come back in fifteen minutes,” they said. Which I did, using my interim time to find some coffee. When I returned, I was handed back everything I’d given them and told they weren’t able to buy any of it back from me because it was “too mature” and “too professional.” (In other words, they were looking for styles that would attract a teenager with disposable income to spend.) Besides no money from the deal, insults as well! The girl at the counter was only following the company line, so I attempted to leave the store without running, showing my embarrassment.

Decluttering is a very personal process. It involves much more than hard work and emotionally detaching yourself from the stuff you’ve gathered over the years, your memories. It also brings you face-to-face with value.  A dress originally priced at $148 (still had the price tag attached), reduced to $59 when you bought it, isn’t even worth a dollar to a reseller today. So it’s headed to the women’s professional wardrobe group as a giveaway on my part with the hope that somewhere out there some woman is going to fall in love with it, as I did a while back, and wear it to her new job with a confidence she’s never known. I have to believe value begets value…eventually.

AndHeCooksToo_7346_7509781440556463 The Sleepover Clause

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