The Great Lindstrom Purge of 2011

What the heck is it about this particular winter? When usually I would be content to hunker down with all the challenging weather (that's code for more snow than you could shake a stick at. Hang on, have you ever seen anybody walking around shaking a stick at anything? I bet you actually could shake a stick at all this snow, but you wouldn't want to look totally bat shit crazy. I digress.) I have been experiencing something more akin to Spring cleaning. The thing about Spring cleaning is that you can easily haul everything out to your garage, throw some price tags on it, toss open the garage door (after diligently advertising on craigslist), and call it a garage sale. In the winter, the clutter sort of gets moved closer to the door and then little by little gets moved out permanently.

I know this, because this has been my obsession for the previous four weeks. I have to say, it feels really darn good to dig into the closets and purge. It feels like losing weight. Which frankly is the closest I've felt to losing weight for some time. Walking into a newly purged room is like pulling on your cutest pair of skinny jeans effortlessly, or at least how I imagine that to feel.

I have learned a few things in the process:

  • Remember the multiple purging options: Toss, donate, consign, sell, craigslist, hand down to friends.
  • Research consignment stores in your area. Call them or visit their websites to see what their policies are.
  • Don't forget to get receipts when you donate things. Then keep track of them. Your donations are tax deductible.
  • Your books are not anywhere near as valuable as you think they are.
  • If you try to consign used dishes at a consignment store, it is possible they won't take them because they look used. So if you plan to consign your dishes at any point in your life... eat off paper plates, and just look at your plates. Because when purchasing used plates, apparently people want used plates that don't look... used. If you followed that, I'll give you $5. (I'm kidding about the $5)
  • When consigning (and in life in general), it's important to read the fine print.
  • Before you leave your house to make the consignment store rounds, have a plan. How many consignment stores are you willing to stop at and haul your used goodies into? Remember that you are going to be standing there while someone critiques your goods over and over in front of you - and you'll likely walk out again with that which they did not accept. Also, at each subsequent consignment shop, they will take less and less. Then divide that number of consignment stores in half, hit them, and then drop the leftovers at the nearest charity. Enough's enough.
  • The things you think will go like hotcakes on craigslist usually don't.
  • Hotcakes don't sell on craigslist.
  • If you put an email address in your craigslist post, expect spam (seriously, I set up an entirely different email just for craigslist listings. Works like a charm.)
  • Resist the urge to stop at the nearest Target (that's my poison, pick your own) and replace all the items you just purged with all your new found cash.
  • Do not resist the urge to keep an awesome bankroll of all the money you've earned by selling the stuff you no longer use. It makes you feel like a real badass.
Then, once you've purged everything, remember that awesome feeling every time you are hit with the urge to make an impulse buy, because more stuff equals more to clean out later.


  1. "I bet you actually could shake a stick at all this snow, but you wouldn't want to look totally bat shit crazy." Lol.

    Great list. I love to purge almost as much as I love to shop. Two giant boxes of stuff on my curb for Big Brothers this morning. I know what you mean about it feeling like losing weight.

  2. Here is a great article about the "true cost of stuff" I found. Definitely supports all you just wrote about - http://mnmlist.com/the-true-cost-of-stuff/


  3. I kind of disagree on the books. If you have the space to store the books (I use a two old boxes that copier paper comes in) and book swapping site can become your best friend.

    A book you no longer want because you've read it or have determined you'll never read it, may be wanted by someone else. Someone else may have a book you want.

    I've been trading books on paperbackswap.com for about 4 or 5 years and just recently joined bookmooch.com. The sites are similar, but their point system for getting books is a bit different. Paperback Swap (PBS) has a more restrictive quality requirement (no writing or highlight on pages in the book, no water damage, etc.) than Book Mooch (BM). I've gotten about 90% of the books I've read for the last 4-5 years through one of those sites. You do need to be patient about getting best sellers -- you might be the 124th person in line for a book.

    PBS also has sibling sites for swapping CDs and DVDs -- swapacd.com and swapadvd.com.


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