Bruce and Rhonda and the Mound of STUFF [The Kabbage Chronicles, Day 19]

In our line of work we get a lot of stuff. Good stuff, fun stuff, useful stuff but still it is just that…stuff. From our estimation only about 70% of it sells. The other 30% tends to take up space and lounge around.  In a house filled with 8 people excess stuff is an unwelcome guest.

First let’s look at how much stuff a family of 8 has, before the eBay stuff.  If each of us had only 5 pair of shoes one pair of sneakers, one pair of dress shoes, one pair of slippers, one pair of sandals and one pair of boots that would be 40 pairs of shoes and trust me, we have a few more than that. Think of outerwear if we each only had one winter coat, one sweater, one raincoat, one windbreaker that would be 32 jackets, it is hard to hang that many coats in a small coat closet. You can multiply everything a person has and needs by 8, socks, books, toys, toiletries and it becomes quickly overwhelming. A family our size has gobs and mountains of things that have to be cared for, cleaned and kept up with.

Now add to that van full, after van full of eBay inventory brought into the fray every other week or so. Seventy percent is sold and leaves the house but the remaining 30% takes up needed space. It really is a full time task for one person to keep that much stuff organized. To keep the house straight and running efficiently we must find creative ways to get rid of excess inventory.

Even when its organized, its still well... stuff!

Now the most charitable thing for us to do is to give it to our local Goodwill, Salvation Army or other nonprofit organizations. We have no problem doing that but we do not consider it part of our personal requirements for giving. When we give what we could not sell, it is our leftovers, it is no real sacrifice. So we do not excuse ourselves from giving part of our income. It helps them as much as it helps us; it is a win/win solution to excess inventory.

We have also done yard sales when we have gathered a lot and need to reduce the size. A nice draw to this is that we get to meet people and network. The kids can get involved with a lemonade and cookie table. We always make a nice little bit of money and have a great time in the process.

We used to throw away broken or non working items. Now we just go to our Yahoo Groups and offer them on Freecycle. Freecycle is a grassroots effort to keep stuff out of the land fills. On freecycle we can post things we are looking for (like a missing part to an item we want to resell) or things we need to get rid of. The only criteria is that it must be free. There are Freecycle chapters all over the US. We love to get rid of excess inventory that way. It appeals to our no waste, frugal nature.

A nice plus to this business it that we have become the kind of go to people of our friends and family. When they need something we can usually find it and even with a small profit give them an amazing price. But even better is when we know a friend needs something that we were about to get rid of and we can just hand it to them!

Toys that do not sell and are still in the package are put on a special shelf. When our children are invited to a birthday party they are given a gift bag and sent to the shelf to “shop” for their friend. They love choosing without restriction what they want for their friends.

There is another special shelf on which we place small nice unsold items. This is our favorite thing to do with excess inventory. It is also the subject of the next blog. Don’t miss it!

Note from Kabbage: What do you do with your excess stuff? Share your tips with everybody!

Want more Bruce and Rhonda? Check out Rhonda’s Guest Post over at Outright.com!

Bruce and Rhonda are the first to admit that their stuff wasn’t always so organized! Find out how they manage their mound of stuff earlier in the Kabbage Chronicles:

Bruce and Rhonda Organize Their Inventory [The Kabbage Chronicles, Day 3]

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