Want to save a fortune? Get rid of your junk!


One of the toughest things about moving to New York was adjusting to the change in space. In Southwest Virginia, my wife and I rented a two-story, three-bedroom house with a huge living room and kitchen, a work area in the basement, a washer, dryer, dishwasher, and about a quarter acre of yard. While I was glad to say goodbye to mowing and assorted household maintenance tasks, I was a little worried about the loss of space. Simply put, our lives easily filled a big house; how could we squeeze them into a two-bedroom apartment?

Some of the decisions were easy. The washer and dryer, king-sized bed, and gargantuan kitchen table all had to go. So did the workroom tools, the two couches, the treadmill, all the basement shelving, a couple of the bookcases, and a lot of the little knicknack tables. My big desk went into storage and some of the carpets went to Goodwill. Getting rid of this stuff was relatively easy: in most cases, I put advertisements up on Craig's List or the thrifty shopper. I offered the items for about two-thirds of their replacement value, then worked my way down until I had a buyer. I saved all the revenues from the sales in a special moving fund. It added up quickly.

Having gotten rid of a lot of the big stuff, I directed my attention to the little things. I started by selling off most of the seasonal items that I rarely used. I got rid of about half of my fans, a couple of air conditioning units, two electric and one kerosene heater, and an impressive collection of Christmas tree stands that had congregated under the staircase. Everything with dust on it went into a questionable pile. If it didn't have sentimental value, out it went.