If any one thing defines me, besides supreme awesomeness and authentic gangsta flavor, I'd say that it's my materialistic bent. The fact of the matter is that I usually love buying things. I love finding the best deals, I love buying the best of things (yeah, sorry... had to put that project on hold for a minute). There have been weeks where I've gotten a package every single day. Check part of my intro in the game :
In his spare time - which was basically all his time - he explored caves, recorded extremely catchy rap songs, and surfed the Internet for unusual items to buy and then never use.
It's true too. I have a $500 fountain pen. I don't even handwrite anything ever. I have three japanese LED watches, one watch with a GPS, another that tracks my sleep patterns, another that monitors my heart, and I don't wear a watch. I have the best toaster in the world (Dualit), the same one the queen uses. I use that a few times a year.
In my old house I converted a bedroom into an equipment room. In it is an 8' tall rack (yeah, the kind used in server farms) with 7 computers inside it. The other wall is completely covered with shelves with tupperware boxes labeled and holding some of my unused items. There are digital cameras, computers, boxes of remote controls, miles of cables, three portable printers, etc.
This leads me to my point. Now that I'm finally selling that house I'm faced with a major task - get rid of all my stuff.
It never occurred to me before that I'd have to sell this stuff. I got used to hoarding it in my mini warehouse so that I could use each thing that one time a year that I wanted it. It was like having a mini Fry's. If any of my friends or I needed something for our computers, chances are that I had it.
Now I'm keenly aware that I somehow have to get rid of everything I buy. Either I sell it or wait until it's depreciated and donate it or throw it away. The few times I've been tempted to buy something online recently I immediately think, "Ugh... some day I'm going to have to sell that."
Then I close the window.
You might remember that I moved about 6 months ago, but still hadn't sold my house. As a result I took what I actually needed/wanted and left everything behind. It wasn't intentional, I just brought stuff as I wanted it. Needless to say, the house is still full.
So now I'm selling everything. I have more than a dozen ads on craigslist. I'm trying to sell FOUR robotic lawnmowers. Seriously.
My new philosophy is that I want to have as few possessions as possible, but to have them be as high quality as possible. Getting there is basically just a process of selling off my extra stuff. I want to be as portable as possible without sacrificing functionality. I used to have over 20 computers working. Now I have one, and it's a laptop. I even want to get rid of my clothes. I want two pairs of jeans, 7 identical t-shirts, some outerwear, my hats, and a pair of shoes. I can't even tell you how many shoes I have. I'm not at girl level or anything, but I have at least two pairs of Ferragamo shoes I haven't worn in a year. I've spent thousands of dollars on these clothes. Now I wish I just bought some black t-shirts and saved the money. That could have been a couple extra shares of Berkshire Hathaway.
When I see people buying things now, I almost cringe. I was in Best Buy getting movie theater equipment for the woman buying my house and I felt bad for everyone there. Most of them were buying crap they didn't need. I used to read bensbargains.net and fatwallet.com several times a day. Now they're deleted off my bookmarks. During some months in the past I've had $10k/mo credit card bills. I have no idea how I even spent that much. This month I think I've spent $700 so far, and almost all of it is advertising and setup costs for my book.
I've been thinking about moving to Panama recently. That thought alone makes me wish I didn't even own a bed. Too bad the ladies frown on aerobeds (because I have two.) Some of my best times are when I travel, and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that it's simple. I have a few very necessary possessions (laptop, phone, etc.), and no extra clutter. I bring my favorite clothes and leave the closet filler behind.
I'm a little worried that people might thing I'm turning into a Bona Fide hippie between this and the Vegan thing. If it makes you feel better, I am still hell bent on becoming a millionaire and then billionaire. I think money is the best thing in the world and I am working on making as much of it as possible. Some day when I can live off of the interest I will have a huge mansion with a warehouse with every product under the planet and a person in charge of maintaining my inventory. I'll have a plane, a submarine, a yacht, an island, and a host of low paid help from a third world country. I can't wait.
But until I have all that, I want to live as simply and unburdened as possible.
I went over to Ty's old house a few days ago to help him clean stuff out. He is extremely sentimental and never wants to get rid of anything, so I just stopped asking and started throwing things out.
I was in the kitchen, going through drawers and cabinets, and I must say I've never seen anything like it. He owned an ice cream maker, a snowcone maker, two blenders, a deep fryer, a juicer, a steamer, a food processor, a big mixer and probably a lot of other small appliances I'm forgetting. And that doesn't include the blender, toaster, etc that he moved to his new place.
This is crazy and hilarious to me for one obvious reason: Tynan doesn't cook.
I make dinner and brunch on the weekends, or we eat at Casa de Luz or Whole Foods. The entire time I've known him I think he's made us pasta once. Other than that, I have only ever seen him make oatmeal or almond butter sandwiches. Did I mention he also owns a full set of cookware with his first and last name printed printed in lacy script on each pot? Compulsive online shopping isn't a laughing matter, kids...
Congratulations. Maybe you can move to Buenos Aires with me and TD. haha.
Anyway, one of the reasons I moved to LA was to get away from all my 'stuff'. I had a house off Burnett just full of 'stuff' and very little of it truly made my life easier and happier--just cluttered me and my mind. They said Einstein had only two suits and they were exactly alike because he said he didn't want to waste his thoughts on what he had to wear in the morning. To a degree I agree and understand, but, still, clothing is a luxury I don't skimp on--too much of an expression of myself that I take pride in.
Anyway, when I left Austin, I only kept what I could put in my Jeep and have pretty much kept it that way ever since. Very minimalist and it's liberating. Always ready at a moments notice, if the right opportunity arises, to up and move or take on a new adventure(I guess I've always liked Chuck Palahniuk's quote about how things you own tend to start owning you).
Also, I've always been this way, but the only things I buy must be the best. In other words, I buy with purpose and (most of the time) I fully use the things I buy.
Interestingly, for those guys worried about "game" and how materialistic girls can tend to be (technically, more of an issue in LA than ATX, but still the same), it has had zero impact for me to dating some of the hottest and most desired women in the world. Some even appreciate it in this crazy place.
Wow that's a nice rack.
Must have used up quite a bit of your monthly datacap downloading tv and movies all day.
Those robotic lawnmowers must be awesome! I could do with a couple of those for my backyard.
I'm really disciplined about most things, but I have my weaknesses. I never went into debt to buy stuff (I pay my CCs in full every month), and have always saved money. I also get really good deals on everything I buy, but still - I've bought way too much.
I used the computers first when I was gambling. I was also bad about selling old computers, so I'd have three laptops lying around. Here's what the 20 computers were for :
Thinkpad A31P - Laptop I used sometimes
HP Z4900 - Laptop I rarely used (functioned as my alarm clock when I was polyphasic.)
Libretto U105 - Mini laptop I started using a lot
Rackmount #1 - I made my own router using Astaro Linux
Rackmount #2 - Home theater PC. Controlled the theater in the next room over
Rackmount #3 - Media getting PC. Downloaded / error checked movies and TV shows all day
Rackmount #4 - X-10 PC. Controlled the 20+ computer controlled light fixtures in my house as well as the 20+ motion detectors
Rackmount #5 - NAS PC. Network attached server with almost a terabyte of storage at its peak
Rackmount #6 - Automatic poster PC. I had two stupid little blogs and this ran a program/macro I made to automatically post free articles to them. I made about $2 on this waste of time.
Rackmount #7 - Unused after a while, started out with gambling.
Rackmount #8 - Unused after a while, started out with gambling.
Dell Servers #1-3 - Unused after a while, started out with gambling.
Desktop #1 - Linux desktop computer. It used a 24" screen and two 17" ones simultaneously. There's a picture of that in a super old blog post.
Desktop #2 - Ran windows, stopped being used when I switched to #1.
Then in the storage room there were 3 old dell servers that sucked and a mini cube PC I was going to make into another theater PC for my bedroom or kitchen. For a bonus, I had an Audrey that I almost never used.
See? I don't make this stuff up.
Strange that you would have so much useless crap. I always thought you were into self-discipline, and to me, this includes financial discipline. It seems you are a shopaholic. I just wish I had the cash required to support such a habit!
I'd also really like to hear what you used your 20 computers for. And 4 robotic lawnmowers. Seriously.
I hear you.
It's not that I don't like the things I have, but I'm really sick of moving them, and I'm not ready to stay in one place. When I get back to the US, everything must go. It will be a veritable fire sale.
It's going to be hard to resist buying a plane, though. At least that's fun to move.
Oh yeah, when money was tight, you could of just sold off your stuff! When I did that, I didn't really realize how much money I had in junk to use.
My recent war that I've been waging has been against stuff. For a while (and by that I mean since 7th grade), I've produced my own income and spent most of it on things from the internet. I've talked about this before so I won't bore you with the laundry lists of my posessions.
Then when I sold my house in North Austin, I was faced with the prospect of moving all that stuff. My most financially productive years were while I lived there, so I bought a ton of stuff. During that period of collection it never occurred to me that I would eventually move. My garage as well as one of the bedrooms in the house because warehouses for my things.
When I moved, I took a pretty extreme approach. I went through every item in the house and made a decision - either I needed it or not. If it was worth more than $50 or so I sold it. If it was worth less than that I put it in a bedroom. If it was worth less than $5-10 I donated it or threw it away. I posted my address on craigslist and let people go into the bedroom and take all that they wanted. Within a few hours the bulk of my stuff was taken away.
Before moving to Korea I had to make the tough decision of whether I should stow my personal possessions or get rid of everything I owned. I opted for the latter. Through the years I lived in Austin, I had accumulated a lot of stuff. This stuff ranged from toys, second hand dishes and kitchen appliances, 50 pairs of shoes, multiple book shelves, 2 gigantic flat screens, over 300 DVD's and CD's, and boxes of things I hadn't laid eyes on in years. There was stuff in every closet, drawer, and the walls in my garage were lined with filled boxes and unwanted furniture. It took moving out of the country to decide to declutter my life. Here is how I made a few thousand dollars before I left the country and how I plan to make purchases when I return.
1. Sell your furniture. Most of your furniture is probably from Ikea anyway. Wipe all of it down, repair the damages, take some good photos, and post it on Craigslist. I was able to make a killing on two bed frames, two bookshelves, and an entertainment center. When I return, I plan on making or buying vintage and restoring all of my own furniture. This is affordable and way cheaper than Ikea. This will ensure the pieces are quality and I can set a higher price if I ever want to sell. Plus, now I've adopted a new hobby and skill.
2. Sell your car. Get the inspection and registration updated. Check the tires and replace them if needed. Clean the inside and make it look and smell like new. Wash the outside and buff out any scratches using rubbing compound. Under shoot the Blue Book price. We always believe are possessions are worth more than they really are. When I was selling cars for Ford (there will be a future post about this) we would take trade ins. For every dent and scratch, $200 was deducted from the trade price. The buyer will appreciate your integrity and in turn make this purchase comfortably without needing time to think about. In doing this, I got a buyer within a week and half of my money back on a car that was already 7 years old. Before handing over the keys, take your license plates off the car. Those are yours to keep and will force the buyer to get the title transferred and their own license plates. It's still up in the air where I will be relocating to when I move back to the US. If there is public transit available, purchasing a new car may not be necessary.