The LITC Series: Pare Down Your Pear Tree

The Little Intern That Could

Let’s see. A partridge, a pear tree and a whole bunch of chickens, drummers and dancing ladies. Lords a leaping? The song will offer you plenty. But it might be time to reconsider.

What do you really need? Is it less than what you already have or plan to purchase? Items can accumulate at a quick pace, and getting into the habit of spending can cause you be a little loose with your credit card. Extra items and purchases can have not only an impact on your finances, but also on your general outlook on life. Even as we buy to help get rid of stress, having to take responsibility for all the items in our life can bring even more distress. So take a minute to take stock of your items, and go about reducing the material items in your life.

Give It Away

shoebox

Take a look at what you own, and make some calls. Maybe you don’t really need that plate collection anymore, or that taxidermy squirrel display. Some things lose meaning overtime, and if you look at an item and wonder why you still keep it around, then it might be time to part ways with some of your items. There are plenty of other people who would appreciate the extra armchair you keep in the corner. Centers for donation will often make the process as easy as possible to encourage the continuing cycle. Also, come tax time, you have to option to put in your yearly donations as deductible.

Sell It

yardsale

Beyond donations you might also consider selling some of your stuff. If you have something of monetary value and the ambition to put it up for sale, then you can make some money from your efforts. People often hang onto things because they don’t want to lose money on the purchase. But getting back even half of what that armoire is worth will be better than cluttering your garage with it. Craigslist, e-bay, organized yard-sales – all great ways to put items up for sale.

Trade It In or Swap It

If you’re not entirely in love with the idea of a more spartan lifestyle and parting with all your possessions seems far too painful, consider swapping things you don’t use for other goods or services that you will. At the risk of sounding too old-timey, making personal trades can benefit both parties without costing them a dime. I’ve seen hairstylists trade haircuts for baking sheets, bike parts for old cell phones and a car tune-up for landscaping. I’ve participated in several clothing swap events with my friends, and always feel like I walked away with some new style without having to pay a dime.

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Make it Communal

You could be sharing this vacuum? Or robot..

How often do you find yourself lugging out the old Hoover? If it’s everyday, then I applaud you, but I’d say I reserve my vacuuming sessions to once or twice every month. The rest of the time, it just takes up room and fills the closet with yet another big appliance. In my perfect world, a block of 4 homes would share a vacuum cleaner. Appliance sharing might seem a little out there, but item sharing is not unheard of – just look at carpooling. Sharing appliances goes along the same lines. Using community as a convenient way to to obtain a single purpose.

Don’t Buy It In The First Place

cat

This is the tough love portion of the post. Just because you want to buy something doesn’t mean that you should. It’s hard to take in – believe me I know. I’ve stood in the aisles of a mall and had stare-downs with coveted items for longer than I’d like to admit, but ultimately I’ve learned that the option to walk away is sometimes the more inspiring one.

Wanting to own something doesn’t necessarily mean that you need it. Instead of being swipe-happy with your credit card, have a conversation with yourself about whether you really need what you’re about to buy. Chances are you, probably don’t. Don’t be mean to yourself, you’re not trying to make yourself here. But avoid having to sort through unwanted items in the future by taking a cold hard look at your purchases. I try to picture myself in 6 months, and I try to imagine if having it would have changed my lifestyle for the better. You can usually live with less than you think.

The suggestion to reconsider or pare down your possessions isn’t meant to encourage a trend or to get rid of things that you find meaningful in your life. If you connect with an item, by all means keep it. But over a lifetime, we accumulate so many extras that we get used to having them around and get into the habit of easily adding to our collections. Things, in the end, are simply things. And particularly if you’re trying to pay off debt or save for another worthwhile goal, these little bits and pieces can mean the difference in achieving financial freedom. Consider living with less and you’ll be surprised with how much more you might be able to put towards other goals.

Credit For Image 2 dphiffer

Credit For Image 3 Nick Gordon

Credit For Image 4 qwrrty

Credit For Image 5 Elsie esq.

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