Author Topic: Please share your best decluttering advice  (Read 8547 times)

WootWoot

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Please share your best decluttering advice
« on: November 17, 2016, 05:34:02 PM »
I'm determined to do it, even if it takes me forever. I'm decluttering my house. I'm reading "Clutter Busting" right now (Brooks Palmer) and I'm pretty sure I've still got my copy of Don Aslett's book on the subject at home.

Whether or not I downsize my home, I've got to do this. I can't stand the mess anymore.

So...please share with me your best decluttering advice!

One of the best things I've ever heard is: throw out anything that's obviously trash: candy wrappers, old boxes, empty bottles.

Go!

stashgrower

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2016, 05:39:39 PM »
Do I love it? Is it <insert quality you want to keep>?

NV Teacher

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2016, 05:54:48 PM »
Breaking it down in manageable bites helps.  One thing that has worked for me is to use the grocery sack system.  I set a goal of filling a grocery sack and either donating it or trashing it.  It might be one bag a day for a month or five bags a week for three months.  It's whatever works for you.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2016, 06:13:44 PM »

snogirl

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2016, 07:02:04 PM »
I did The Minimalist's 30 day challenge to kick off my decluttering campaign back in 2014. For a month starting with Day 1 it was one thing, day 2 two things, day 3 three things and so on. The 30 or 31st day I found I got rid of way more things. I sold, gave away, donated 75% of my junk. Google The minimalists.

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mustachepungoeshere

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Bracken_Joy

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2016, 07:20:23 PM »

marion10

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2016, 07:31:51 PM »
Have you tried Flylady? She can be very preachy- but each week you tackle a different area of the house- which helps break it down.

MissNancyPryor

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2016, 08:06:54 PM »
Another idea on breaking it down:  I have done the "10 things a day for 100 days" before.  Got to day 40 before I lost steam.  Still, that was 400 things out of my house.  I liked that I could make the rules in that I would sometimes go through a drawer and decide that 5 dried up pens into the trash were just 'one thing' and of course dead pairs of socks were just one thing.  I also would not give myself credit for 10 things in a day if I brought some new, non-consumable thing into the house-- everything new in meant an extra thing out for that day. 

Funny, I don't remember any particular thing that I got rid of, nothing sticks out.  That means I had at least 400 items in my house that I didn't care a wit about, can't even remember them, they were just junking up my atmosphere. 

I need to do this again. 

frugaldrummer

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2016, 11:32:55 AM »
Another vote for Flylady

WootWoot

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2016, 10:29:11 AM »
I'm doing 5 things a day for November.

I know--isn't it amazing that you don't even miss the stuff?

Another idea on breaking it down:  I have done the "10 things a day for 100 days" before.  Got to day 40 before I lost steam.  Still, that was 400 things out of my house.  I liked that I could make the rules in that I would sometimes go through a drawer and decide that 5 dried up pens into the trash were just 'one thing' and of course dead pairs of socks were just one thing.  I also would not give myself credit for 10 things in a day if I brought some new, non-consumable thing into the house-- everything new in meant an extra thing out for that day. 

Funny, I don't remember any particular thing that I got rid of, nothing sticks out.  That means I had at least 400 items in my house that I didn't care a wit about, can't even remember them, they were just junking up my atmosphere. 

I need to do this again.

letired

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2016, 10:43:16 AM »
I found Marie Kondo's book was A++ for me, and I found her/the translation to be charming and gentle with a whimsy that I appreciated. Mileage varies, especially on that one! I come from a family of semi-hoarders, and her perspective was very helpful to me. I am one of those who wants everything to be best used or best disposed of, which often led me to paralysis or procrastination. Her perspective on what constitutes 'best use' or on if an object has served its purpose was immensely freeing and helpful for me.

chasesfish

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2016, 11:12:47 AM »
Buy a smaller house to facilitate the decluttering

Sailor Sam

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2016, 11:43:09 AM »
I'm one of those naturally minimalistic people. When I was 13 I ejected everything out of my bedroom, except for a mattress, a footlocker, and a bookcase. The footlocker held all my clothes, the bookcase had my entertainment, and the bed was for sleeping. I was in heaven.

Here's what I've observed, being naturally on the minimalistic side of the divide. I'm ruthlessly unsentimental about most physical possessions. Lots of people seem to keep items that may be useful in the future. Or they keep an item because they like the person who gifted it. Or they think getting rid of an item will negate the memory attached to it.

I keep things because I like the item itself. It's either useful, or beautiful. Everything else I get rid of.

So, pick up everything in your house, and think "If I lost this in the fire, would I feel any true grief? Any true inconvenience?" If the answer is no, then get rid of it.


Miranda

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2016, 02:16:40 PM »
I agree about Marie Kondo's books.  I never kept a lot of stuff, but I was amazed at how much I was able to remove, happily.  She tells you to focus instead on what you want to keep, and get rid of the rest.  She has a long wait list for clients, and has never had one rebound.  Seemed like a good track record to me. 

WootWoot

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2016, 02:22:03 PM »
I like this a lot!




So, pick up everything in your house, and think "If I lost this in the fire, would I feel any true grief? Any true inconvenience?" If the answer is no, then get rid of it.

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2016, 02:57:22 PM »

So, pick up everything in your house, and think "If I lost this in the fire, would I feel any true grief? Any true inconvenience?" If the answer is no, then get rid of it.

It's a terrible thing to admit but I sometimes think losing everything in a fire and starting from scratch would be liberating. Only replacing things as you want or need them.

I'm going to tackle my utensil drawer with the above quote in mind. If I lost four Stanley knives, would I feel any grief? Would I even notice???

Choices

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2016, 03:03:10 PM »
I used to keep things because they were almost right, but when I'd try to wear or use them I realized why they weren't really right. So, I finally got rid of them and only replace them as needed.

I also got rid of a ton of old textbooks and reference books because even when I need the information, I Google instead.

Cannot Wait!

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2016, 04:52:37 PM »
Commit to decluttering for 5 mins/day.  If you go longer, great.  Just commit to getting started.

AlmstRtrd

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2016, 05:21:15 PM »
Take a trip to a poor country like Burma and then you'll have a different perspective on stuff. Only slightly joking here. When I saw how little people had in places like Burma, Cambodia, Laos, etc., it just seemed ridiculous that I had so much junk.

Open all mail next to a garbage can/recycling bin. Most of it goes in there eventually so better to save yourself the step of letting it lay around somewhere.

MsPeacock

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2016, 05:33:20 PM »
If you are on the fence, at all, about keeping something - get rid of it. Most likely you'll never thing of it or need it again.

Debts_of_Despair

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2016, 06:20:39 PM »
How much is this item worth on eBay?  Am I willing to forego that cash to keep it sitting on the shelf?

Abe

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2016, 07:17:33 PM »
I ask: How often have I used this thing in the last month. If it hasn't been used in that time, I ask how important is it to have on-hand in the rare chance I do need it, and could I just deal with the situation using some manual labor instead.

Other rule we have to prevent worsening clutter: anything we buy has to take the place of something of equal or greater volume.

WootWoot

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2016, 10:12:16 AM »
I'm always struggling with the idea of whether something is worth selling on eBay. Sometimes it seems like a lot of work to take photos, upload, edit, make a listing, monitor the listing, box it up, take to the post office or UPS...


How much is this item worth on eBay?  Am I willing to forego that cash to keep it sitting on the shelf?

Cannot Wait!

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2016, 10:23:08 AM »
Try one of your local Facebook or community online sales groups.  More casual and you might even meet a friend.  If it doesn't sell, post it on a free site.

gliderpilot567

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2016, 10:27:50 AM »
Fill up a box with items laying around that don't have a "home" or that you don't plan to use TODAY. When it's full, seal up the box tightly and put in a closet/garage/somewhere out of the way. Do NOT label what is inside.

Six months later, if you can't remember what is inside the box, throw it directly in the trash. Do NOT open it to check what is inside.

Repeat until complete.

firelight

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #26 on: November 22, 2016, 10:36:27 AM »
+1 for Marie kondo. I ask myself the question 'does it bring joy?'. Surprisingly, after finishing the process, I love being home since I only have things that bring me joy. It's freeing!!

nexus

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #27 on: November 22, 2016, 12:10:55 PM »
You could try a 'cleaning rampage' as I call it. Grab a box or garbage bag and go after anything that looks like clutter. I have to do this every six months or so. I actually tossed out an entire computer desk at one point in time simply because it took up too much space. Don't regret it at all! I have a really bad habit of hanging onto coupons I get in the mail for places I rarely ever eat at (pizza ones especially). As soon as I see the papers start piling up, it is rampage time!

Same thing if I start noticing that I have too many shirts folded on top of my drawers. That's a good sign the drawer is full and I need to start tossing out or donating some of my clothes.


catccc

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #28 on: November 22, 2016, 01:41:42 PM »
For some stuff that you might not want to part with it because you aren't sure if you'll want it later - give it to a friend.  Tell them it's theirs to use or give away, but if they still have it you might ask to borrow it sometime.  I've found that giving things to friends is so much easier than selling or giving to goodwill.

Sibley

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #29 on: November 22, 2016, 02:03:39 PM »
If you've got appropriate decluttering friends, ask them for help. But you have to follow through and get rid of stuff then, otherwise you'll just annoy your friends and they won't help again. I helped a friend go through a bunch of boxes once. 80% should have been tossed or donated. He kept 80% instead. Pissed me off and I never offered to help again.

If something hasn't been used in a year, there's a 98% chance that it can go away permanently.

If the clothes don't fit or you just don't like them, they can go. Don't hang on to things in case you lose the weight.

But the biggest thing is - stop bringing stuff in.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #30 on: November 22, 2016, 02:09:08 PM »
thirding the marie kondo method. 

When I did my closet, for example, I took everything out first and then put it in a pile and then one by one you touch each things and ask "Does this bring me joy?"

If you hesitate at all....like maybe if I had a different shirt to go with, or maybe that one event I might need it for, or maybe I don't like it but I look cute in it...all of those mean toss it.  Hesitation does not equal joy.  Joy is an easy line to draw.  You will want to save many things, but you will know if you truly feel joy or not.

Since doing this, everyday getting dressed is so easy since I truly like all my clothes.  And my mediocre clothes are not hiding my favorite clothes.  So it's just grab and go.

I haven't had time to do this for everything else, but I'm getting better.

For paperwork, I take a picture and save it in google keep on my phone, or enter to google calendar and toss immediately.

AMandM

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #31 on: November 22, 2016, 02:26:30 PM »
I like Marie Kondo, too.

What I have found most helpful is to figure out *why* I'm reluctant to part with something, and then to ask myself whether that's a good reason.  For me personally (this is definitely YMMV territory!), the top reasons are:

--it might be useful some day, so getting rid of it feels wasteful
--it's got family-history or other sentimental value

For the first case, I'm trying to become more hard-nosed about assessing how likely I am to use the object, how much money I'd really save if I did indeed use it, and how much keeping it costs me (in storage space, in mental stress due to clutter, and in time looking after it).  I also give more weight to the benefit of someone else using it now vs me using it later.

For the second, as I get older I am actually becoming less sentimental about objects; I know I have the memories and the attachments in me, without needing the tangible object to remind me.

Miranda

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #32 on: November 22, 2016, 03:52:30 PM »

For the second, as I get older I am actually becoming less sentimental about objects; I know I have the memories and the attachments in me, without needing the tangible object to remind me.

Whenever I'm on the fence about something sentimental I take a picture of it before I let it go.  Over the years I've found that I only ever look at those pictures if I come across them, and have never missed the items.  I do like that the pictures are there, though.  It seems like a good middle ground.

frugalsurfer

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #33 on: November 22, 2016, 05:29:28 PM »
Move house frequently and/or live in a van. That'll get you de-cluttered!

mc6

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #34 on: November 22, 2016, 05:36:29 PM »
Does your area have a locally-owned and locally-operated charity thrift store that you can support?  Now that I have found an awesome thrift store that directly benefits my community, is frequented by hardworking immigrants, and gives scholarships to first generation college kids, I feel much freer giving away my Stuff to a great cause. 

stoaX

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #35 on: November 22, 2016, 05:50:57 PM »
We used to have tons of greeting cards that accumulated over the years...lots of sentimental value.  We began burning them in campfires and over the last couple of years have burnt them all.  It's kind of a ritual - we look at the card and remember who sent it, toss it in the fire and watch the smoke rise to the heavens. 

The inspiration to do this came from the realization that once we die, they will all just get thrown in the trash anyway.

AMandM

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #36 on: November 23, 2016, 06:14:39 PM »
I want to add that of all the stuff I've given away over the course of thirty years of adult life, there is only one thing that I later wished I'd kept.  And even that was easily replaceable.

MoonLiteNite

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #37 on: November 23, 2016, 09:35:14 PM »
- Throw everything in a box
- If during your day, you need something. Then go get it out of the box and make a nice home for it.
- After 3 months, throw the box away

Livingthedream55

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #38 on: November 25, 2016, 10:58:50 AM »
Fill up a box with items laying around that don't have a "home" or that you don't plan to use TODAY. When it's full, seal up the box tightly and put in a closet/garage/somewhere out of the way. Do NOT label what is inside.

Six months later, if you can't remember what is inside the box, throw it directly in the trash. Do NOT open it to check what is inside.

Repeat until complete.

Friendly amendment - write "Donate on DATE (six months from now)" and donate the box unopened to a charity of your choice rather than adding to the landfill.  Many will even send a truck around to pick it up.

: 0 )

WootWoot

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #39 on: November 25, 2016, 05:28:44 PM »
Sorry, all I can think of is "You'll be living in a van down by the river!"

Move house frequently and/or live in a van. That'll get you de-cluttered!

Retire-Canada

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #40 on: November 25, 2016, 06:42:28 PM »
So...please share with me your best decluttering advice!

Go!

#1 - don't buy shit you don't need.

#2 - use the shit you did buy until it's worn out.

#3 - and then recycle it.

#4 - see #1.

brooklynmoney

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #41 on: November 26, 2016, 05:21:49 AM »
I just went through my moms linen closet last night with her. What I found helpful and I think is in the Kondo book is to put all the same item types together ex all the queen sheet sets, so you can see what you have and then pare down.

spicykissa

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #42 on: November 26, 2016, 07:01:39 AM »
I'm always struggling with the idea of whether something is worth selling on eBay. Sometimes it seems like a lot of work to take photos, upload, edit, make a listing, monitor the listing, box it up, take to the post office or UPS...


My husband kept us financially afloat selling things on Ebay when we were first starting out, so we had lots of clutter disguised as "stuff to sell on Ebay eventually". It IS a fair bit of work! I much prefer Amazon Trade-In if the item is something they will take (textbooks, movies, video games, electronic devices, etc). You just find the item on Amazon, click "I have one to trade", and it generates a UPS label you can print. Stick it in a box and drop off. The payout is lower, of course, but this way I actually get rid of it and still get a little something.

Debts_of_Despair

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #43 on: November 26, 2016, 11:52:29 AM »
I'm always struggling with the idea of whether something is worth selling on eBay. Sometimes it seems like a lot of work to take photos, upload, edit, make a listing, monitor the listing, box it up, take to the post office or UPS...


How much is this item worth on eBay?  Am I willing to forego that cash to keep it sitting on the shelf?

I'd say it takes about 10 minutes to list an item.  I guess it depends on how much you value your time.

I rarely go to the PO.  I print labels at home and my mail carrier picks up the packages.  As an added bonus the postage is discounted when you buy it online.

WootWoot

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #44 on: November 27, 2016, 06:50:04 PM »
My mail carrier is insane. Otherwise I'd have no issues leaving the stuff on the porch for pickup!

I'm always struggling with the idea of whether something is worth selling on eBay. Sometimes it seems like a lot of work to take photos, upload, edit, make a listing, monitor the listing, box it up, take to the post office or UPS...


How much is this item worth on eBay?  Am I willing to forego that cash to keep it sitting on the shelf?

I'd say it takes about 10 minutes to list an item.  I guess it depends on how much you value your time.

I rarely go to the PO.  I print labels at home and my mail carrier picks up the packages.  As an added bonus the postage is discounted when you buy it online.

Watchmaker

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #45 on: November 27, 2016, 07:16:29 PM »
If you don't deal with the root of the problem (acquisition of stuff), you'll spend your whole life de-cluttering.

Cwadda

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #46 on: November 28, 2016, 09:37:36 AM »
Check out the Amazon guide in my signature, it's easy!

ToTheMoon

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #47 on: November 28, 2016, 09:55:12 AM »
If there are items you are on the fence about:

The 20-20 rule.  If you could replace the item for under $20 in under 20 minutes - let it go.

Chances are very good that you will never need it again, but if you DO end up needing another, the inconvenience and cost is minor.  I find this great for kitchen/bathroom/garage decluttering especially!

Making Cookies

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Re: Please share your best decluttering advice
« Reply #48 on: November 28, 2016, 10:48:53 AM »
So...please share with me your best decluttering advice!

Go!

#1 - don't buy shit you don't need.

#2 - use the shit you did buy until it's worn out.

#3 - and then recycle it.

#4 - see #1.

THAT! Maybe someday I'll get there. Getting better. We don't shop anymore unless there is a need. Our progress was derailed by having kids that also had to learn those lessons. We're here now. Just wearing stuff out and donating it.

Did the Amazon thing for a while. Had the process streamlined pretty good but finding boxes and packing material just got to be too difficult and time consuming.

Now we just donate. I wasn't clearing more than a couple hundred dollars a year anyhow b/c what I had to sell wasn't worth much.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2016, 10:51:35 AM by Joe Lucky »