donating, hygiene

A Change

It might be something of a superficial change, but it feels great!

I chopped off all my hair the other day.

It wasn’t a huge deal because I’ve done it twice before. The first time I went from waist-length hair to an inverted bob that barely grazed my shoulders. I was hooked, so I kept getting it cut shorter and shorter over the next few months until I had a pixie. A few years later, I let the pixie grow out because my son was a newborn and I had no time or desire to get my hair cut. By the time it was back to my shoulders, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I went back to the pixie.

I remember talking with a friend who had also recently gone from having long hair her whole life to a pixie. We agreed that we both felt more like ourselves now, and couldn’t imagine having long hair again.

But I would see gorgeous long hair and miss mine. I let my pixie grow out again. I wanted to be able to put my hair in buns and ponytails. But why grow hair long just to pull it back? I hated how long my hair took to dry, and how quickly it would look greasy, even if it felt fine. I had a schedule of when to wash my hair, and therefore when to do sweaty chores like yard work. Rain on a day I was supposed to mow the lawn would anger me because it threw off my hair-washing schedule.

Yeah, I know it was ridiculous. And pointless. So I gave it up.

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My hair is super thick so it looks like a lot, but apparently it was still long enough to donate!

Now I can take a quick shower in the mornings and wash my hair and have it dry before I get to work. I can do yard work whenever it’s nice out and not fret about how much time and effort I wasted washing my hair. Hopefully this will also help conserve water, but I haven’t really been keeping track of that yet.

Regardless, I am excited to feel like myself again – cute, low maintenance pixie cut, lighter head, and all!

donating, shopping

Regifting

I was first introduced to the concept of “regifting” on an episode of Seinfeld, probably when I was in middle school. It was presented as a majorly negative concept:

Elaine:  I think this is the same one I gave him. He recycled this gift. He’s a regifter!

Even though it was mentioned that maybe the same gift was purchased because it was so good, it was set in my mind that regifting wasn’t the thing to do. And in that instance, the recipient wasn’t thrilled with the gift when he got it, so it was more of an impolite thing overall than just regifting the gift.

But as I changed my lifestyle and mindset, I started to think… regifting isn’t so bad, is it? If you get a gift you don’t like, why not pass it along? Be polite about it, though, because after all, it’s the thought that counts! But there is a compulsion to keep the gift, especially if it’s something to hang up or display, so the person who gave it to you can see it when they come over.

This concept comes up in a Gilmore Girls episode where Emily is trying to find all the gifts her mother-in-law gave her, so she can display them as if she loves having them in her home. Most of them are in the basement, and a hat rack was given regifted to Lorelai.

gilmoregirls

I have never gone to a friend’s house expecting to see my gifts prominently displayed. That being said, it does make me feel warm and fuzzy when I see my gifts or cards around. But that’s a bonus feeling.

If I get a gift I can’t use or don’t want, I will graciously accept it. But I don’t see anything wrong with passing that gift on to someone it is better suited for. What’s the difference between regifting and donating? Not much, except donations are more broad, and you don’t know who will get the item. It’s a fine way to get rid of things, but if you know a friend who would love a copy of the book you already own, why not pass it on?

I have similar feelings about “new” gifts – I love getting a cool purse from a thrift store, or used books or 45s from a library book sale. It means a friend was shopping and saw something that they thought I’d like, so they got it for me. It doesn’t have to be brand new and expensive with the tags still on.

How do you feel about regifting – both doing it and getting “regifts”?

donating, home life, reading

Little by Little

I wish I had a before picture to show you, or a factual number, or anything. And I do have before pictures I’ll have to find, hidden on my external hard drive from years ago. Pictures of the backpack I lived out of for six months, pictures of my 450 sq ft apartment, pictures of the vast emptiness of my two bedroom house when I first moved in. Pictures of all the clutter when my husband moved his storage shed from Oklahoma into our back room (even though I would hate to see those – talk about anxiety!). Pictures of moving in another kid and struggling to keep the house clean while hating my day job.

I am working on the house little by little, but I get on these kicks. I can donate half of my wardrobe in twenty minutes on a good day. Doesn’t fit? Gone. Hate that color now? Gone. Doesn’t feel comfy? Gone. Thankfully, my clothes are mostly from thrift stores anyway (don’t buy new!) so it’s never a huge loss, trying to argue that I spent so much on it, I at least have to keep it and try to wear it again.

Truthfully, I can sever ties to my belongings in a snap. I’m honestly not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s there. And when I get in the mood, I want to get rid of everything.

I have been re-reading some of the books on my shelves lately. There are some hardcore favorites I want to keep copies of. But some I remember fondly but hazily, and those are the ones I’m re-reading. Do I really want to keep them? So far, we’re 3 for 3 – donations are winning! They were nice to re-read and I will still remember them fondly, but they don’t pack a punch or blow me away. They’re just… nice, so I don’t feel the need to keep them.

This is a pretty big shift in how I used to think about books. I wanted to own all the books. I would buy dozens at used book sales and keep them, whether I had read them or not! I figured I’d get to them someday. Now I just use my Goodreads “Want To Read” list and keep my shelves a little more sparse.

It helps me to think of that sometimes – how my attitude in owning books has changed. Because I’ve never been stylish or into clothes, so getting rid of those is no problem. But books are special to me, and if I can be strict with what I keep in that aspect, I know the rest of my house and life will come together, too. Little by little.

donating, fun, home life

Let the Music Do the Talking

I used to have a HUGE music collection. As a teenager, there was nothing I loved more than spending my money on CDs. This was that weird period where CD and cassette singles were being phased out, but iTunes wasn’t up and running to buy whatever individual songs you wanted. There was Napster, sure (wow am I dating myself…), but you ran the risk of downloading something that was 3 minutes of static instead of the song, or even worse, a virus that could kill your computer. What a time to be alive!

Instead, I’d go to Best Buy (I can’t stand them now because of all the time I spent there as a teen) and buy an $18 CD. I always made myself listen to the whole album… kinda. I would start it and listen to all the songs before the radio single (which always seems to be track 3 or 4). Then I’d usually be hooked on those songs and keep going back to re-listen. Which was actually ok, because then I had “new” music to listen to later, when I finally listened to the last half of the album!

Cut to present day. I decided to upload all of my music onto my computer and give away most of my CDs. I kept all of my favorite bands’ albums, and some bootlegs and rare stuff. Even some CD singles, believe it or not! (I still have a few cassettes in my car from when my tape player worked – RIP.)

I still buy music, but through iTunes. No liner notes to read over as the album plays – so sad! Did anyone else love doing that? If I buy a record from a favorite artist, it will come with a digital download code, so I download and import into iTunes.

My laptop died about a year ago; I was sad, but thought “oh well.” I logged into iTunes on my desktop and voila – over half my music was gone! Apple support told me that those albums had been downloaded onto my hard drive, not into iTunes – even though I imported all of the music into iTunes.

Is this common knowledge? If not, I’m an idiot and missed it somehow. But I feel like this is not really advertised. Of course, there is the whole issue of you not really “owning” the music you buy through iTunes like you would “own” a CD, so I’m pretty confused about all of that. But I digress.

Luckily I backed up my computers regularly, including my iTunes folders, so I still have most or all of the albums as digital files on my external hard drive. But if I hadn’t done that, just thinking “Since they’re in my iTunes account, they’ll link up anywhere!”, then I would be out a WHOLE lot of music.

In the long run, it wouldn’t REALLY matter, because I don’t know what albums I’m missing. I could go through it all and check, but that won’t happen. What usually happens is I’m dying to hear a certain song, scroll around, and realize it’s not on my iPod. (Yes I still have an iPod.) Then I get sad, but I usually just find it on YouTube or look for it on my external drive if I remember by the time I get home.

I got rid of a lot of CDs and am very proud of that – compare my collections! This was my collection in high school/college – sorry for the blurriness, but you can get a good idea of how many CDs I owned!

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I think my mom gave me this card catalog when I moved into my first apartment. All of those drawers used to be filled with CDs, with others stacked on top. I have more CDs than shown here – each drawer holds about 18 – which is a LOT! And I don’t even have a CD player, besides my computer. But they hold memories and I can’t let go yet, so at least they are nicely organized and out of the way.

cdsnow

Next up: getting rid of records!

 

 

donating, money

Selling Your Stuff

I used to sell a lot online; this was when I was an undergrad and needed all the pennies I could collect. I would sell old textbooks on half.com (RIP – that was the BEST site to sell on), and I sold a few things on eBay that took off in the last few minutes of the auction, much to my broke-student relief!

Since then, I haven’t sold much online. I used to list a lot of books on PaperbackSwap, but that’s a fair trade, not selling. When it comes to getting rid of things, I would rather get rid of them immediately instead of have them lurking around a week in hopes they sell. I try to match my items with the best donation center, like taking books to the library and baby clothes to Catholic Charities, who gives them to families for free.

I had a few days with no projects on the task list, so I decided to take time to list a bunch of items I had around the house. I had planned on donating them, but I thought they might be worth something to someone. A Squirrel Girl figurine, for example – just donating that might be a waste because they might not know what it is. Why not list it for a couple of bucks?

I ended up listing 31 items over 2 days. It took about 15 minutes to list each item, from photographing it and measuring it, to writing about it. I tried to write funny, engaging descriptions because I’ve seen auctions go well because of the writing. I wasn’t trying to go viral – I just wanted someone to want one of my things and bid on it because they liked the overall tone and wanted to buy from me over someone else.

Three items sold from my first day of auctions. Three out of thirteen. Not great.

Three more sold the next day. Three out of eighteen. Even worse.

I thought it was better than nothing – I wasn’t working those days, so at least it was something. You could say that I made about $70 on those days, for about 10 hours of work (listing, packing, shipping).

Then… the post office. I don’t know if I got ripped off, or if ebay shipping estimates are just totally off, or what. But I spend almost $45 on shipping! This majorly cut into my profits. I still made about $30 on junk I was going to get rid of anyway, so I’m trying to see it as free money. But I put so much work into it… just not worth it.

For me, it’s just easier to donate what I don’t want anymore. I know I paid money for it, but I got my use out of the item and don’t need it anymore, so what little I actually lose on it is fine, because I get peace of mind. I know the item is not cluttering up my house anymore, and hopefully it goes to someone who wants it. I will probably list a few more specific things, like camera accessories, but otherwise I’ll just donate the bulk of my unwanted items.

Have you had good luck selling things online? Is it worth the time and effort you put in?