Author Topic: Downgrading stuff  (Read 5587 times)

Theadyn

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Downgrading stuff
« on: June 04, 2013, 03:39:54 AM »
If you had the chance, would you deliberately downgrade stuff in your home?  Your car?  Purge even more?  It's what I'm considering doing and would like to pick others brains about it.

Car:  More and more lately it's really irking me I've got a car worth more than my needs for it's use.  It is paid for, lower miles, gets me from point A to B (which isn't that often).  Private sell about 12.5k.  Really bothering me though, I WALK TO WORK for pete's sake.  Oh, and I can't do anything practical with it.  So am seriously considering trading for something older, probably higher miles, a hatchback for some utility.  The route I am considering going would net me enough to finally get my stache of 6 months expenses done.

But why stop there?   Am looking at stuff inside my home and wondering...   why??

Bedroom set for example.  When the hubby was alive we owned 'fancy house'... you know, miles of granite countertops, arches, 15' ceilings, details..   And we furnished it to fit the home.  In cash, of course.  But anyways, I chose the bedroom set to go with the home.  And now, twice moved from that place, this thing is just ridiculous.  Right now my home is very small, my bedroom tiny.  This set is kinda ridiculous.  I can't even lift the headboard alone.  Seriously thick wood, impressive, and takes up too much dang space.  I have to walk around the bed with a tiny path in my little bedroom.  WTH?  The 'night stands' we literally used for extra chest of drawers, they're so big.  Sell it, replace them sensibly, save the difference.

Spare room...  nice new bedroom set there, too.  I think it's been slept in a total of 2 weeks with a guest.   Would not a more practical use of that room (office, storage for stocking up items, place to store my bike out of the elements, clothes drying, etc.) be of better use?  On the off chance I had someone staying with me, a stow-able air mattress should suffice, wouldn't it?   Save the difference.

Living room set...  again bought for 'fancy house'.   High quality, nice, very heavy.. cold.  Not really homey.  Just does not really go with my current home.   Could sell it, replace with used more comfy set, save the difference. 

Just seems all this stuff is weighing me down anymore.  Anyone else feel like that sometimes??  I mean... it's just a couch..  or a car, or whatever.  Having moved twice since these purchases, talk about a huge pain in the rear in getting them moved and such.  I just don't want it anymore.  Like that crap don't matter anymore, if you will.  Maybe I just feel like a hypocrite, working so hard on reducing expenses and saving money, when there is all these things I could do, without sacrificing.  And possibly coming out better with not only the saved money, but also the less need for those type of things.  Am I really just tied to stuff?  Thoughts or opinions?  Go for it?   Keep the more durable items?


gooki

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Re: Downgrading stuff
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2013, 03:46:22 AM »
The car I can totally understand.

As for furniture etc, the money you get is often not enough to replace it, so not worth the effort.

pom

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Re: Downgrading stuff
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2013, 04:07:25 AM »
If you main goal is the cash I agree with Gooki that you might not get as much as you would like. No harm trying though.

I have the feeling that part of your issue is that the space is crowded. Personally I can't stand clutter and crowded space so definitely would get rid of at least the bedroom set for the spare room. A decent futon in a corner (I don't like airbeds) would do and then you can use the space for something nice for you: an office, a gym ...

EK

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Re: Downgrading stuff
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2013, 04:25:34 AM »
If your space is filled with furniture that you don't like anymore that's too big for your space, I would think it's worth selling and replacing (I agree with the others that you will probably not get a very good price though) if it actually will make you feel happier and more comfortable at home.  You probably spend a lot of time at home (saving money generally means not going out very often...), and if your home isn't functioning how you want it to, in my opinion at least it could be a legitimate thing to spend money on.  You have to make that call for yourself though.

aj_yooper

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Re: Downgrading stuff
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2013, 04:30:51 AM »
Look at the prices of re-doing the furniture in the room that would make the most impact and see if you could find what you are envisioning.  Maybe start with one piece and see.  I agree that the increased functionality and simplicity pays a big dividend.  I redid some storage spaces and that has been very rewarding to me. 

Switching the car sounds like an even better idea that would increase your comfort level. 

I admire your pluck and rationality.


mahina

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Re: Downgrading stuff
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2013, 05:06:48 AM »
seems to me you're done with this stuff and want it gone. it's a remnant of a different life, a different you, and that's a drag on your forward momentum. it's literally clogging your home, and impeding your freedom. i say get rid of it. no you won't get its 'value' when you sell it, so donate it to charity. they'll pick it up and cart it off.

clean slate: how do you want to live in your home? a few modern pieces? fluffy rugs and no furniture? let the place be a bit empty while you figure it out. then when the right piece appears, you'll recognize it, and know it will contribute to your home life. sleep on that airbed till you discover the bed you want, then fold it up for guests.

possibly there will be some empty feelings with the loss of this stuff. maybe give it a little going away party. have some friends in to toast the sofa and all, and bid it a fond farewell. then make the life that suits you, in the home that feels just right.


tuyop

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Re: Downgrading stuff
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2013, 05:25:04 AM »
If you had the chance, would you deliberately downgrade stuff in your home?  Your car?  Purge even more?  It's what I'm considering doing and would like to pick others brains about it.

It sounds like this thread is really about your furniture, but I'll answer this.

I do this pretty regularly as little experiments. The latest ongoing one is "no smartphone for a year", we'll see how long that lasts, it's not painful, just painfully inefficient. As things expire or wear out I've also just stopped replacing or renewing them to see what happens.

Last year my laptop broke, my partner has one so we used hers (but now she's gone for work so I don't have a laptop), I've been ok. I'm moving soonish so I canceled my home internet. Since I have no laptop and no internet on my desktop, I kind of feel like a luddite and it's a pretty big shock for me. My only forms of free entertainment at this point are reading and exercise, but I'm still ok!

anastrophe

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Re: Downgrading stuff
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2013, 08:10:36 AM »

It sounds like this thread is really about your furniture, but I'll answer this.

I do this pretty regularly as little experiments. The latest ongoing one is "no smartphone for a year", we'll see how long that lasts, it's not painful, just painfully inefficient. As things expire or wear out I've also just stopped replacing or renewing them to see what happens.

Last year my laptop broke, my partner has one so we used hers (but now she's gone for work so I don't have a laptop), I've been ok. I'm moving soonish so I canceled my home internet. Since I have no laptop and no internet on my desktop, I kind of feel like a luddite and it's a pretty big shock for me. My only forms of free entertainment at this point are reading and exercise, but I'm still ok!

+1.  I also canceled my home internet recently and sure, I'm a luddite, but I find I get a lot more housework, reading, and excercise in.

I once had a piece of furniture that had upholstery that needed a lot of looking after, I traded it out for an IKEA piece I can strip the covers off of and throw in the washer. Sure, the new couch is arguably "worse quality" but it improves my quality of life. I have no aversion to purging anything that seems unnecessary, and that can include downgrading to do away with features that I don't need or that cause extra hassle.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 10:26:28 AM by anastrophe »

urover

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Re: Downgrading stuff
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2013, 09:14:40 AM »
I routinely purge a lot of useless (for me anyway) stuff that hasn't been used for a long time. This includes CDs, magazines, clothes, computer parts or office stationery. I usually end up throwing away most of it, but stationery and clothes are donated. Most of this stuff we kept piling on as we (my parents) moved from small to bigger houses and lost track of how much we had collected. There seriously is a lot more that can go, so yes, your thought process isn't weird, its just normal for mustachians like us.

According to me, stuff ends up as clutter and puts a needless weight on the mind. Stuff breaks, degenerates, needs maintenance, space and someone to move it when you do. My parents were used to being cash strapped until a few years ago when things turned around in the Indian economy so now they have a lot of wishes and wants to be fulfilled but I mostly talk them out of it when they see how wasteful and unnecessary that would be. We're trying to use and reuse everything until it disintegrates and then we don't replace it at all. My father has a car that is at the end of life but is still limping on. We plan to not buy a new one because we're now in the city and getting a cab or a tuk-tuk is easy.

My personal laptop broke just after warranty and they needed too much to repair it, so I just stuck with my office provided laptop for everything. The laptop is covered for all failure and damages for 3 years. I didn't have to spend a dime.

I lost an android phone last year to theft and downgraded to a really cheap $18 phone instead of another smart phone and I've done just fine without it. I just reminded myself how I lived 10 years ago without a phone and still survived. I thought I should just be happy I have one now. Also a smart phone needs extra care to protect it from scratches, falls, and theft, costs more upfront, needs a data plan and generally is made outdated within a maximum of 2 years. My dumb phone on the other hand is ageless.

So basically, throwing away stuff and downgrading might seem like a bad or painful idea but you get used to the new downgraded item (or lack of it) very soon.

Given that you have furniture in your case and the fact that it's occupying so much space, I suggest you really just dump all of it. If they're made of quality wood, you might want to sell it to someone who understands the value instead of selling it to an average Joe who just needs something to sit and sleep on. Years ago we had a dining table for 6. As a family of three it was occupying way too much space in the then small house. We threw it away and bought a molded plastic table (for 4) with 4 chairs. 10 years on, it is still what we use. You could probably also just buy something similar and cheap but out of wood for the planet's sake.

The car must and can go. At 12.5 K there still is a lot of life left in it which you most probably wouldn't use at all. A rotting car is no good to anybody. Where you live, can't you just hire a cab or rent a car for the few occasions you need a 4 wheeler? Ideally with such low usage it's best to go car free and not have to deal with a junky beater and its higher maintenance costs.

Sorry about the long post.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 09:17:42 AM by vsanjay »

SoftwareGoddess

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Re: Downgrading stuff
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2013, 09:19:41 AM »

Spare room...  nice new bedroom set there, too.  I think it's been slept in a total of 2 weeks with a guest.   Would not a more practical use of that room (office, storage for stocking up items, place to store my bike out of the elements, clothes drying, etc.) be of better use?  On the off chance I had someone staying with me, a stow-able air mattress should suffice, wouldn't it?   Save the difference.


Would the bedroom set that's in the spare room work better in your master bedroom? If so, sell/give away the master set and move the spare room set.

secondcor521

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Re: Downgrading stuff
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2013, 12:22:25 PM »
It makes total sense to me, and in fact it's what I have been doing for a while.

Most people see "stuff" as beneficial to their lives.  I don't.  It weighs me down.  The more I get rid of stuff I thought I needed, I get to another layer of "do I really need X?"  All of my possessions including my car are worth $8K, and the car and laptop represent about half of that.

As others have pointed out, you won't get anywhere near what you paid for things, especially for super nice stuff.  My parents downsized into a retirement home about 10 years ago, and practically gave away their fine dining room table and china cabinet, among other things.  They thought it was worth $$$$, but got paid $$$ or less.  Knowing this, when I get rid of stuff I don't worry about selling it...I just donate it to the local thrift store.

There are several advantages of doing this, though.  It feels like a more authentic and vibrant life because it's mine, not Madison Avenue's or the Jones'.  I can and do leave my house unlocked all the time -- if someone wants to come take something they're welcome to it.  Cleaning and maintenance chores are minimized, because there's nothing to wash/polish/maintain.  Good karma for the donation of stuff to others who can use it.

Good luck!

EmJay7

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Re: Downgrading stuff
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2013, 06:21:39 PM »
Good topic and suggestions! It seems like there's a lot that you're considering doing, which is admirable. Instead of trying everything at once, perhaps you would want to divide up your space and deal with one part at a time. For example you could start with one of the bedrooms, and think about how you'd like it to be different, deciding which things to keep versus sell/give/toss. The work through other rooms and the vehicle-- this will give you a better sense for how much you want to change things and how much of your belongings you like to unload. If you do a room or two and find that you feel a huge sense of relief, you'll become more confident as you move along.

Theadyn

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Re: Downgrading stuff
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2013, 08:34:50 PM »
Great thoughts and ideas all!!  Lot to think on.  :)

kkbmustang

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Re: Downgrading stuff
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2013, 09:25:11 PM »
We are in the process of doing this right now. We have charity trucks coming two to three times per month to cart stuff off to people who need it.  We are selling the big stuff on Craigslist and using free cycle for the rest. It's liberating.