View Full Version : Hanging onto stuff - time to let go.

Loose rivets
4th Sep 2011, 02:36
Thousand of pounds have gone down the drain. Thousands. But now I haven't got long to go and I'm giving up on having that dream cottage.

I enjoyed a sizable house, but people like me have to alter every building they're in. Anything, no matter if One, or more importantly, One's wife, is living in such a dwelling. Tools, and the constant use of them is just pre-programmed in people like us. That was the first mistake. The second was selling it.

It was c2001 and prices seemed to be as high as they could possibly go. Huh! Lost that gamble. Anyway, I sold everything I could bear to part with, gave the school masses of computer and electronic things from my company leftovers. Took stuff to the local dump for 10 weeks - we were on Christian name terms down there - and I even emptied the attics. I'd put floors in them just to store stuff, then took nearly all of it to the dump.

Now to the point. I sold some antiques - wished I hadn't, but I did. The few things left went into a 10 X 10 unit, along with dozens of boxes of almost anything you could imagine. There they stayed until a few weeks ago.

You know, when you have a run of bad luck, there's nothing you can do about it. Who'd have thought house prices would have kept on truckin' up. But they did. Who'd have though some nice odds and ends would go down to a tenth of their value, but it seems they have.

"Is is covered in Melamine?"

"No, it's anneffin' antique, why would it be?"

"Ohhh, don't get much call for old stuff now."

"But you're anneffin' antique dealer!!!"

"Still don't get much call for it though. Especially if it's made of wood . . . and brown."

"What about these chairs of mine?"

"Fifty quid the lot."

"But, but, they were insured for thou . . ."

"Sorry. They really aren't plasticy enough."

"plastic wasn't invented when they were made!!"

He had one of those voices that goes with posh shops in the West End of London. "Really sorry."

I put a box on e-bay. Y'know, one of those coffer things. I said it's split, and the lock has been changed by someone with a huge saw, but a small brain. Something like that. Cracked lid. Polish coming off. But wait!

"Now that is of interest."

"I was going to use it for firewood."

He pulled one of those faces, folk like him pull when they have a working-class lemon stuck under their nose. I obviously haven't impressed him with my knowledge.

"What about the glass cabinet with all that ormolu?"

"People don't . . ."

"I know. People don't like ormolu?"

"No . . ." He looked down his nose at me - which gave him a strange appearance because he's a foot shorter. "People don't like crinkly glass."

"But, but, you once told me if that glass was replaced with modern float glass, the value would be halved. These cabinets have to have old glass!"

"That was then. Now they like to see their plastic Charles and Diana cups clearly. Sheet plastic in the doors sells well."

I made a noise like that dog that couldn't have the bacon sandwich, and strode out of his art deco door. What the heck am I gonna do about my stuff?

I've got a sideboard by Maple. London Paris & Buenos Aires. It's huuuuuuge, and has nice handles. . . eight of them. I suppose I could put a pitched roof on it and move in. It's big enough. But it's brown, and made of wood. It is also beautiful.

One of the reasons I've got a bad back is the desk I brought back from Austin TX. some 20 years ago. I got impatient, and carried it into the newly paneled room. The new house owner scrapped the paneling, and I got a bad back from lifting things. I was billed 400 bucks for shipping at 1.25 per lb. Should have got the wife to carry it. Darn thing's not even 50 years old. Anyway, it's on ebay along with all the other stuff.

Another thing is the unit I'm hiring to expand into is nearly full. I've taken a quarter tonne of tools to a mates yard, I've buggered up the flat I'm in with junk and filled the summerhouse in the back garden that's twice the size of a beach hut. And the frikkin original cubical still looks full. I just can't imagine how dense that unit must have been...a bit like a neutron star I would say.

I'm rambling. Just finished Skyping to some woman I recall marrying, but I forget what she looks like. Just a voice that comes out of my computer. Anyway, I've got to sell this stuff and some of it is rather odd.

There's a Loo table, and it has two black beards under the original french polish. Really really strange. My mother was accused of staining the table when she was about 10. However, only today, I found out what caused them. Funny, I wanted to phone my mum and tell her. That'd be a trick.

I can't show this stuff cos it would be blatant advertising, but if there are any antique experts out there, I'd really be pleased to get some info on what to do. A sideboard that takes four blokes to lift it and is 7' 6" long, is hard to sell, but somewhere, there has to be someone that likes old things. Brown old things.

4th Sep 2011, 03:13
Have you tried looking up "Maple" sideboard on ebay? Might find something similar on there that could give you an idea of value.

Ditto with all the other treasures. Or take them to the local Antiques Roadshow. That way we all get to gawk at you on TV :ok:

4th Sep 2011, 05:16
What are the black beards, and what really caused them?

4th Sep 2011, 05:36
Or 250 a month in storage charges :mad:

4th Sep 2011, 07:46
When my dad died I had to clear the house of a few bits and pieces, nothing worth much, but some good solid 1930's furniture, so tried to give it away to charity organisations in Eastbourne, Sussex. Nobody wanted it, "we've already got all our storage full". Eventually had to pay to have it cleared and dumped (oh yeah ?)

You could weep at the waste......

4th Sep 2011, 07:56
Do try auctions for this type of stuff.

4th Sep 2011, 08:25
This thread has struck a chord with me.
Some of my fondest memories are of going to auctions and various junk/antique shops with my father as a young boy. He was an avid collector of 'Channel Island Occupation Bank notes', these were printed by the German occupying forces during the last world nastiness, so are quite collectable and some very rare, he at one time was probably the world authority on them in the late 60's through to the early 80's, he even wrote a book on the subject. He was also a great collector of local prints, especially Moss prints, these are taken from copperplate and are incredibly detailed and quite beautiful, as they were taken off of soft copper the print runs were very short, these date from the mid 1800's and are now virtually worthless, you can at auction locally pick up great bundles of them for a few pounds.
As for the opening post, I sympathise completely, I'm astounded that people buy this modern soulless stuff it's awful mass produced badly made tat. I only last month bought a replacement desk for my own home office/study for next to nothing in real terms. Made of mahogany it's a hand built carved desk, ideal with lots of pigeonholes and secret compartments. Unusually for a desk like this it can accomodate a laptop computer which happily sits on top of the green leather. I don't think the younger generation have the same outlook as everything has to be new and now. In the past things were handed down the family partly due to financial hardship but also in appreciation of something of quality that somebody had put into whilst it was being built. I couldn't believe some of the quality items of furniture that could be had for very little money in some of the shops I used to frequent as a child in the back streets of my home island.

4th Sep 2011, 08:29
When we moved here from the UK I got a house clearance guy in for all the stuff we didn't want to put into storage. Microwaves, bicycles, DIY kit etc. 'Not much demand for this sort of stuff mate' I was told. I ended up paying him to take it away :ugh:

The problem was we had a sudden very good offer on the house from the tenants and we had to shoot back and empty it quick time. No time for car boot sales or auctions. We have got loads of antiques in storage which we will probably never need again.

4th Sep 2011, 08:39
When my parents died we tried many ways of clearing the house of their beloved antiques and particularly books. We kept a few pieces we liked, but much of if was not to our taste or it was impractical to use or transport.

My mother had a huge collection of art books, mostly rare, and my father a lot on military history, many signed and/or first edtions. None of the bookdealers was interesting much more than 'doing us a favour' and coming to take the lot. My sister, misguidedly but with good intent, rang a few buyers who turned out to be, without putting to fine a point on it, con men. In the end we donated a lot of the stuff to old age homes, booksellers took a few and gave us a derisory amount for them, we sent a lot of the furniture to a charity that sent it to somewhere in Eastern Europe, I've forgotten where.

Sad but that's the reality.

4th Sep 2011, 10:03
Do try auctions for this type of stuff

Seconded. We (well, SWMBO) once bought a ginormous sideboard at the local auction house (we lived in a biggish house in Telford at the time), looked great, really dark wood, didn't hold a lot, though. When we moved, it was just too big for any of the rooms in the new place. Took it to the local auctions here (Lichfield), after their charges we had made a GBP40 profit on a GBP60 outlay and had 5 years use of the item.

They will generally send a rep round to give you an estimate of what the things will fetch.


4th Sep 2011, 10:44
Or take them to the local Antiques Roadshow. That way we all get to gawk at you on TV

I reckon "Crap in the Attic", or whatever else you want to call it, would be a better bet.

4th Sep 2011, 11:04
Been there, done most of that but still have a storage unit stuffed full . . . :ugh:

Loose rivets
4th Sep 2011, 11:12
Yep, the conversation in my mind while I was typing - a tad affected by a few wines - was essentially true. I did take a chair to a roadshow, and he said 50 quid each. Now, the auction house said 50 quid the lot. They are, or were, beautiful. Heavy walnut or summit like that, nice curved back that's comfortable, but not worth their weight in firewood. They do need the front leg ends attending to. My mother replaced a castor or two and her precision bradawl . . . erm, wasn't precise.

My mum was a one. She got permission to take the center leaf out of an oak table, so as to do some woodwork. Still got the table. 1" thick oak top. Always intended to make some shelves with it. I've got her plane in Texas. Use it almost every day while remodeling the house there. I'm taking to wood frame houses, I can alter them once a week.:rolleyes:

The Loo table it seems was 'enhanced' by the makers with some colourization of the walnut. It was done with something that darkens with age and light, while the wood lightens. Looks bizarre, but then, it's part of history I suppose. Haven't got photobucket on me laptop, but can be seen on e-b under walnaze. Nobody would guess I lived int Walton on the Naze.

Well, better crack on. I've got to scrounge an 8' long box from somewhere - and buy 3 million postage stamps. :p

4th Sep 2011, 15:06
Ah yes Mr Rivets, tis a great injustice that 'things' that were once worth less are then worth more and beloved 'things' that were once cherished, now out of fashion and a tenth of their one time value. Really, it's heart breaking (well in the ballpark), especially if the items were familial and belonging to parents since departed. How many daughters no longer want or need their mothers/grandmothers dressers in their kitchens or display cabinets to show off ornate plates and so on never used in the living room, or front room in the old days used for guests ? Times change and with most things it's not important, for they are just things, people, family and one's health are what matter.

Time to let go of the past and find a kind of peace that you can live with.


4th Sep 2011, 15:41
A good few years ago I suffered a medical emergency which I thought would be fatal.

After that (for a short while!) I reasoned that, as long as I was still alive, I had all that I needed.

A decade later I'm still alive, and still have most of the clutter . . .

(not strictly true as I did get rid of a lot, (both rubbish and treasures) but since then I have acquired more - mainly rubbish)

4th Sep 2011, 16:09
Going through the "let's get rid of it" stage in advance of a remodel. I keep asking myself, "where did I get all this crap and why do I still have it?"

My garage hasn't seen a car in years.

Obviously, I need a bigger garage.

4th Sep 2011, 16:54
I hardly ever throw anything away because 'it might come in useful one day'.

Trouble is, I can never find it.

tony draper
4th Sep 2011, 17:01
Dunno about all this throwing stuff away lark,one still likes to keep one's gas mask handy.:rolleyes:

4th Sep 2011, 17:03
I think I might need to borrow it, Mr. D, "little" cat has decided that today is "Toxic Day".....

The good thing is that he always farts beside the PYT and not me, but the stench soon gets across the room......

tony draper
4th Sep 2011, 17:09
If one remembers correctly the carbon granules from dismantled gas mask filters made great coal for me Hornby DublO open coal waggons.

4th Sep 2011, 17:13
These days what you think is junk is sometimes astonishingly valuable. Lately I developed a renewed interest in militaria. I had a few bits and pieces from way back. I was astonished at how expensive some of it has become.

For example, remember that old German helmet which grandad took off a dead SS man on D-day. Yes the one your kids are playing with right now. Well it's worth thousands. Even an ordinary one is worth hundreds.

There are plenty of other examples. So be careful what you throw out.

I find that TV series, 'Storage wars' fascinating. It's amazing what turns up sometimes and how valuable many are.

Before you dump anything check out Ebay to see if someone is selling similar.

4th Sep 2011, 17:25
Yes, I understand about collecting things, all to well.

When I was in my twenties I owned a 1962 Chevrolet Impala convertible, which in itself is not germane to this thread, however, the fact that I could fit everything I owned into that car is. Yup, all my clothes, my stereo system and my TV could all be packed into that car and off I could go.

God I miss those days. :{

Now, we gots stuff, lots and lots of stuff and no 1962 Chevrolet Impala convertible. Hell, one bedroom is full of paintings, not hung on the wall, just stacked everywhere.

And no, there is no room for cars in the garage, it's full of stuff, as with the attic. :(

Oh, not to mention a large rented storage shed full of more stuff, most of which I cannot remember what it is, at 50 bucks a month.

4th Sep 2011, 17:33
Now you see why, on one hand, I have an advantage and, on the other hand, a disadvantage.

I live in an apartment so have no garage, no cellar, no attic and no shed. That means I have to throw things out since there is no space in the place to store all the rubbish I would collect "because it might come in useful".

That brings us to the obvious one. You know there's always one of these "DAMMIT" moments when I realise that I used to have something that would be useful........

4th Sep 2011, 18:22
Ha ha, that's where those lovely 'cheap' storage facilities come into play. Well, they might be cheap or reasonable in the USA, but in Europe.... :ugh: It's truly amazing what people store in lock-ups, that is stuff that they never use and never will, just paying out for having it stored. Having used such facilities at various times in the last decade, I have been astounded by such examples.....the man who brought at least 3 second hand/broken bikes to a storage facility. When I saw it it reached 15metres up, 5m by 5m wide and the guy in the office was starting to worry about space. Then there was the lady who unbeknown to the storage firm was bringing a week's worth of unread newspapers form A-Z into her space for several years. When they had a fire audit there was a freaking out due to the combustibility danger and the poor lady had to transport tonnes of paper to the dump.

There's a lot to be said for keeping things simple, but oh so hard.


4th Sep 2011, 20:10
Since we are on the subject, I am in the process of clearing an access way through all this old crap in the garage to the Water Heater as I am having it replaced Tuesday morning. I thought I would replace it at a time of my choosing as opposed to it's choosing.

That said, the lads will be here bright and early Tuesday to swap it out. I'm not about to take on that job. Funny thing is, the labor cost is about 40% of the total price, but it's a good water heater, a Rheem.

On a serendipitous note, when my Father first came to Southern California, he was a welder at Rheem Water Heaters.

Must go. I hear SWMBO coming down the hall to offer guidance.

4th Sep 2011, 22:10
The bikes!

In my garage are four motorbikes. One is roadworthy. another is a one-off that needs careful restoration to bring it back to its former condition. Another is an off-road bike that broke down about five years ago.

Another belongs to my son, who moved out nearly two years ago.

At least I did strip the fifth one, a mini-moto down, dumped the frame and put the rest of it in a cupboard, just in case it's needed for spares....

Then there are the pushbikes..... Two need going to the dump but don't belong to me. Three of them do, or at least to the direct family.

Another belongs to my son, who moved out nearly two years ago.

So, it's decision time. Do I ask my wife to move her sewing machine? It's taking up valuable space.

4th Sep 2011, 23:08
Remember, when you have settled in the abode where you intend to remain until you are carried out in a box, you have the rest of your life to resolve any storage problems - that is, unless you aim to to increase your holdings beyond the existing space - in which case you might need contingency plans to increase the available storage space (either temporarily or, preferably, on a permanent basis to accommodate the additional items). Only in truly exceptional circumstances should compromises be adopted that involve reduction of possessions.
Life is too short for such actions!

4th Sep 2011, 23:15
Three hours later, finally tunneled my way back to the Water Heater. Now just keep stuff from piling up before they get here to swap it out.

4th Sep 2011, 23:30
Hope you've left room for access to the drainvalve and a route for the drain hose.

5th Sep 2011, 00:21
Oh yeah, they can drive a forklift in here now. :ok:

5th Sep 2011, 00:40
I admire the tramps! All they have in the whole world is in a plastic bag,and they get by. No major decisions to be made at any time.:)

5th Sep 2011, 07:13
I admire the tramps! All they have in the whole world is in a plastic bag,

A few years ago I was moving my office from one side of Cape Town to another. I recruited casual labour off the street and after the move, realised I had a few tables and chairs, a printer, a couple of 'phones, curtains, a kettle, odd bits and pieces, left over. I offered this to the helpers and they looked at me puzzled, so I said: "You can have it to take home." One said to me : "We don't have a home."

5th Sep 2011, 07:21
Having done a couple of multi-week hikes/climbs in the past and having all my belongings for the trip on my back in a rucksack, the sense of simple happiness that having all you needed with you was deep. As soon as I returned to civilisation, that's when the 'lack of' kicked in and the collecting started anew :hmm: