Confucius said that the man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. The same can be said about moving a mountain of books, as I learned firsthand during The Great Summer Declutter of 2018.
I'm Jen and I've been tackling my mountain of possessions (mostly books) by parting with them the eBay way. I began downsizing online back in 2013 when I was living in Tacoma, Washington, but haven't done it very much since my 2014 relocation to the literal edge of America in Sequim, WA 98382 (pronounced Skwim).
This past summer, though, the urge to purge returned with a frenzied fervor after we finally figured out where we want to move to next in the west and how we are going to make it happen; the ‘we’ being my husband and I, legally and newly married after 19 years of unwedded weirdness.
So, in the middle of July, I got busy with listing books, books, and more books in my JenExx shop. We both agreed that what we don't want to do again is move more of the same stuff we've been moving from place to place ever since we first lived together, almost 20 years ago in 1999 -- at the turn of the century, for old-timey dramatic effect.
Our extensive and eclectic book collection has dwindled down to fewer than we’ve ever owned, but we still have more than we want to physically haul, and we want to move with as light a load as possible in one multi-state trip.
We are officially sick and tired of moving while carrying too much of the past with us everywhere we go, which is totally counterproductive to the end goal of moving on to something better than the past. That's why the buck -- or book -- must stop here.
Doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results is insanity according to Einstein, which tells me we’ve been living a pretty insane life for too long by repeating the same motions in the hopes something different would result. So, this time around we're doing things different than before with the help of my JenExx eBay shop.
Since we live in a small rural region on the Olympic Peninsula where the subjective value of our books isn’t always viewed the same as in larger markets, the standard options like garage sales, flea markets, and Craigslist don't work here the way they did in Tacoma, where the city’s population is more than double the county population where we currently reside.
So, with numerous logistical and demographic challenges beyond my control, I consequently discovered firsthand that the best solution for this predicament is eBay. I have used the platform more than ever since July and am pleased to report that not only have I gotten rid of stacks of books, but I managed to make money in the process.
When I started listing them, I was hopeful but wasn't sure if anyone would want our books, even if they are in good condition, but the novice economist and commerce lover in me knew positively that no one would be able to buy the books if they weren't listed; so I had to list the books and try and wait and see. And, just like the eBay notices announce, my efforts paid off:
One set of logistical challenges I've had to work around since moving to the area is our one-vehicle household, along with no regular bus service, and an unsafe rural walking route that goes through miles of nowhere before it leads to somewhere that may or may not have what I need.
Since shopping and errands are far from the efficient commerce experience of my dreams, it works out well to use money from the book sales to shop online for needed things, either on eBay or other sites that accept PayPal.
And, since my handy husband is the drop-off man with the pretty packages when he goes into town for work while I stay busy at home, I try to relieve him of any other errands that could be avoided through an online transaction. So it's a big help to buy what I can online and have it shipped directly to us, saving time and blood pressure.
I've found all kinds of useful things on eBay at good prices, from sponges to pants to packing supplies and more. I even bought my husband's wedding band on Etsy with money from selling his books, which it's a lot lighter to move, it requires no dusting, and it's a significant step forward towards a better future together in a better place with better living standards.
Sure, it's not executive level pay but that's not my goal; it's profit and not loss, and that's a healthy start along with fewer books to move in the coming year.
The money is doing us more good than owning shelves of books that require weekly dusting, and it's more than we would make in our local market with a garage sale, which is about as good as it gets in my book of eBay experiments.
To conclude, not only did I accomplish removing a mountainous mound of books from my home this summer thanks to eBay, but by doing it online and making money I got to be part of the amazing e-commerce system of the 21st Century and I gained more empirical insight into the serendipitous workings of microeconomics, which is a delicious cherry-on-top ending to my Great Summer Declutter of 2018.
Stay Tuned: I will report the final stats from The Great Summer Declutter on the next blog post and share what's coming up for The Fresh Fall Overhaul in the JenExx eBay shop.
Thank you for reading!
I'm Jen. I'm decluttering and down$izing the eBay way, by clearing away the unneeded and well-maintained excess from my rural home in preparation to move far, far away from Washington State, all with the help of the online selling platform eBay.