junk http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4200/all en-US What to Do With a Junk Car http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-with-a-junk-car <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-do-with-a-junk-car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/501968180_2daaea9223_z.jpg" alt="junk car" title="junk car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As soon as you drive off the lot in your new car, it depreciates in value by about 15%, and continues to depreciate by about 15% every year thereafter. After about 10 years, the vehicle is almost worthless, especially if you bought it used. But almost worthless isn&rsquo;t <em>completely</em> worthless. While it may seem as though your beat-up old car is on its last leg, rest assured that it still has a little life left &mdash; perhaps even a whole new one. To help you decide how to dispose of your beater, here are eight ideas that can make you money, save you money, and give aquatic animals a new place to call home. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/drive-the-old-car-or-buy-a-new-car">Drive the Old Car or Buy a New Car?</a>)</p> <h3>1. Donate It to Charity for a Tax Write-Off</h3> <p>There are a lot of charities that offer car donation programs. The charity will sell the used car for parts and put the cash earned back into the program, or it might use the vehicle for mobile services it offers, fixing up the car to save cash on an otherwise expensive purchase. No matter what the charity&rsquo;s intended purpose for the donated vehicle, you&rsquo;ll still receive a receipt to deduct the donation on your taxes. Some will even pick up the car from your home so you don&rsquo;t have to pay a towing company. Donating your vehicle to charity doesn&rsquo;t come without its complications, however; there are middlemen, bogus charities, and legal issues that you may have to contend with. But you can make sure you&rsquo;re not getting swindled with these <a href="http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26625209/ns/today-money/t/how-donate-car-or-boat-charity/#.T4MmnMzeYps">10 tips on how to donate car</a>.</p> <h3>2. Sell It Whole or in Parts</h3> <p>Just because you don&rsquo;t want that clunker anymore doesn&rsquo;t mean that someone else can&rsquo;t use it. Even if your car doesn&rsquo;t run, it&rsquo;s still full of valuable parts that are worth a pretty penny. Local services like Craigslist can help you unload the lot on someone close to home, or you can head to <a href="http://www.junkmycar.com/">Junk My Car</a>, where you&rsquo;ll get an instant quote on your rundown ride and a scheduled appointment of when the vehicle will be removed.</p> <h3>3. Trade It In for a Newer Model</h3> <p>If your car has any kind of resale value at all, you may be able to trade it in at the dealer when buying a new car. You probably won&rsquo;t get top dollar, but what you do receive can be applied to the purchase price of the new vehicle, ultimately saving you money. Don&rsquo;t forget to factor in the convenience, too. By trading it in, you don&rsquo;t have to worry about finding the right buyer or the potential expense of towing.</p> <h3>4. Turn It Into a Work of Art</h3> <p>When I was in high school, our football team was playing a rival team called the Mustangs at homecoming, and it was my job as a class officer to help build a float for the parade. One of our teachers had the brilliant idea to have a Mustang car cut in half and attach a papier-mâché horse&rsquo;s head to the vehicle with the theme of &ldquo;Demolish the Mustangs.&rdquo; While the theme was uninspired, the float was one of the most creative the school had ever seen. Now, I know that we don&rsquo;t have homecoming parades everyday, but this example proves that there are lots of creative ways to recycle a junk car. Have any other ideas?</p> <h3>5. Recycle Useable Pieces</h3> <p>Before you send the car to the scrap yard, scavenge it for pieces you can use elsewhere. Perhaps the windshield or side glass can serve a purpose down the road, or maybe your kids would like to swing from a tree on the tires. Sit with the car for a few minutes and take inventory of what&rsquo;s available &mdash; then think of ways to squeeze every last bit of use out of it.</p> <h3>6. Provide Fish a New Habitat</h3> <p>OK, this might be pushing it, but you never know&hellip;if you have a pond or lake in your back yard or nearby, considering dumping the car there to provide a habitat for underwater creatures. This idea comes from the concept of building an artificial reef to help promote marine life. Make certain, however, that all potentially hazardous debris is removed from the vehicle and that you drain all liquids. You&rsquo;ll completely defeat the purpose of the exercise if you kill the fish with pollution rather than provide them with a stimulating environment in which to exist.</p> <h3>7. Barter With a Friend</h3> <p>Maybe one of your friends has something you want that he or she is willing to part with in exchange for your car? Lots of people work on old vehicles as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-hobby-pay-its-way">hobby</a>, so this isn&rsquo;t totally out of the question. Remember, one person&rsquo;s trash is another person&rsquo;s treasure.</p> <h3>8. Give It to a Local Mechanics&rsquo; School</h3> <p>I&rsquo;m not the kind of guy who wants to spend my days under the hood of a car, but instead of Algebra II &mdash; which I have absolutely no use for in my adult life &mdash; I would have preferred that life skills were mandatory in high school; to this day, I barely know how to change a tire. Meanwhile, the kids who took shop class are saving a lot of money because they know how to do things that the rest of us have to pay for. To keep this tradition alive, give your junk car to a trade program in town. Almost every high school has one. You may still qualify for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-great-tax-deductions-you-may-have-overlooked">tax write-off</a>, and you&rsquo;ll sleep better knowing that you helped people in your community gain valuable skills.</p> <p><em>Have even more ideas on how to get rid of a junk car? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-with-a-junk-car" class="sharethis-link" title="What to Do With a Junk Car" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Cars and Transportation getting rid of vehicle junk used cars Tue, 10 Apr 2012 09:36:19 +0000 Mikey Rox 917198 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Get Junk Gone http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-get-junk-gone <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-get-junk-gone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2948074443_8ab866c301.jpg" alt="Mechanical Junk" title="Junk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="169" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The beginning of the new year always seems like a good time to get rid of things that you've been meaning to. But sometimes, the reason you haven't gotten rid of a particular piece of junk that is cluttering up your home isn't because you want to hold on to it &mdash; or even that it's useful in any way. Sometimes it can just seem entirely impossible to get rid of a particular item. </p> <p>I've used Freecycle, Craigslist and even just talking to friends to get rid of plenty of things that I didn't necessarily want but still could be used by someone else in the past. But as great as those methods are, there are still some things that they just can't move. I've had stacks of old magazines that no one wants, pieces of scrap metal that simply can't find a good home and rags that just aren't needed. But I don't want to just toss these items in the trashcan: they may be junk, but they may still be useful.</p> <p><strong>1.&nbsp; Schools</strong></p> <p>While no one wants to drop off junk at the local school, they may not see some of the stuff you want to get rid of as junk. A big pile of magazines, for instance, can be extremely useful for a teacher wanting to do collage projects. I've found it easiest to just check individually with teachers on whether or not they have a use for anything in particular.</p> <p><strong>2.&nbsp; Animal Shelters</strong></p> <p>All those towels and sheets that are too torn up for anyone to want? Well, your local animal shelter may have a use for them. Animal shelters routinely have a need for rags, as well as other items that you might otherwise throw away.</p> <p><strong>3.&nbsp; Salvage Yards</strong></p> <p>Just about anything that can be stripped off a car or a building may be able to find a home with a local salvage yard. In many cases, it just has to be in repairable condition &mdash; working order is not necessary. In some cases, you may even get money for the items you drop off.</p> <p><strong>4.&nbsp; Artists</strong></p> <p>Many artists, especially those working on sculpture, use a variety of items that other people would consider junk. It's very important to talk to the artist you have in mind before just dropping off a piece of junk, though. The number of crafters and hackers willing to repurpose items is also on the rise.</p> <p><strong>5.&nbsp; Recycling Centers</strong></p> <p>Just because something is junk in its current form doesn't mean that it can't be recycled. Many recycling centers will take items that you can't put in your recycling bin, as long as you bring them in. Most have websites now listing what they'll take &mdash; mine accepts a variety of items including vinyl siding, batteries and computer parts. In most cases, if it's metal, they'll also take it.</p> <p>If, in the end, you still find that you have a piece of junk that absolutely no one wants, there are some options to disposing of it. Depending on your local waste disposal company's policies, you may or may not be able to add things to your regular pick up. For bigger items, taking them to the local dump yourself may be more cost effective &mdash; landfills and dumps typically charge by the truck load to drop off junk. There are also a variety of services that will come and remove junk, offering an easy solution for anyone without access to a truck.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-get-junk-gone" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Ways to Get Junk Gone" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle declutter junk recycle repurpose trash Fri, 01 Jan 2010 05:18:16 +0000 Thursday Bram 4395 at http://www.wisebread.com Turn Unwanted Electronics Into Cash With Gazelle http://www.wisebread.com/turn-old-electronics-into-cash-with-gazelle <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/turn-old-electronics-into-cash-with-gazelle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gazelle.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="128" height="81" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all have a few old electronics lying around that we never use anymore. It seems a waste to just throw them away, but it often takes effort to sell them. Now there is a new service called <a href="http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=452726&amp;u=255320&amp;m=45652&amp;urllink=&amp;afftrack=1491" target="_blank">Gazelle</a> that allows you to trade your old electronics for cash with the least amount of hassle.</p> <p>Gazelle has a very simple to use website that allows you to search for the gadget you wish to get rid of. After you find your item you can input the condition it is in. For example, I typed in Palm Zire 71 and I was asked if the item powers on and what condition it is in. After that, Gazelle spits out an appraisal and allows me to add the item for checkout. It also has an estimate of how much the item may be worth in the future. For electronics the price trend tends to go down because people always want to buy the newest gadget. After I checked out, it prompted me to print out a prepaid shipping label and ship the item with a box. For some qualifying items Gazelle will even send you a box to ship the item. </p> <p>After the item is received Gazelle will inspect the item and confirm that it is in the condition you described, then you will be paid the quoted price. This process takes about a week according to the website. The company also guarantees that if you ship in an electronic with data on it they would wipe it clean so you do not have to worry about your privacy. They will also take items with no value for the purpose of recycling. </p> <p>Currently the company buys mostly electronics such as cell phones or gaming consoles, but they may expand the types of items they are willing to purchase in the future. It really seems like a love child between a pawn shop and Netflix, and I am sure it will help a lot of people get rid of their unwanted junk because it is so easy to use. Users of Gazelle will reduce the amount of junk that go to landfills and also reclaim a few bucks in the process so it really seems like a win win situation. So go ahead and <a href="http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=452726&amp;u=255320&amp;m=45652&amp;urllink=&amp;afftrack=1491">try it out</a>, because that pile of junk sitting in your garage may be worth some gas money. </p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=452726&amp;u=255320&amp;m=45652&amp;urllink=&amp;afftrack=1491">Click here to try Gazelle now</a></strong></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-old-electronics-into-cash-with-gazelle" class="sharethis-link" title="Turn Unwanted Electronics Into Cash With Gazelle" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance electronics junk Making Extra Cash sell stuff Thu, 31 Jul 2008 06:20:02 +0000 Xin Lu 2286 at http://www.wisebread.com “Free” category on Craigslist to be renamed “Haul away my old, bulky, broken crap for free.” http://www.wisebread.com/free-category-on-craigslist-to-be-renamed-haul-away-my-old-bulky-broken-crap-for-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/free-category-on-craigslist-to-be-renamed-haul-away-my-old-bulky-broken-crap-for-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/212514212_4de8b2944b.jpg" alt="free garbage" title="free garbage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="185" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I used to love the “free” button on Craigslist. There were some killer giveaways on there, including things like antique movie projectors, great toys for the kids, ornaments, lamps and so on. But these days, at least on the Denver Craigslist, the free category seems to have been taken over by some rather blatant attempts to convince someone (anyone) to do an unpleasant job for free.</p> <p>Look on the free category on Craigslist - Denver and you will be hit by a huge amount of the following, in various incarnations:</p> <p>Old couches and sofas in really poor condition<br />Firewood (which comes in numerous forms)<br />Scrap metal (anything broken and made of metal)<br />Broken TVs<br />Broken or really outdated appliances<br />Landscaping rock<br />Dirt<br />Old decks<br />Concrete chunks<br />Nasty old beds and mattresses<br />Old children’s backyard swingsets/playsets</p> <p><img src="http://healthcarehacks.com/files/fruganomics/u17/01150001040120080602d48c3b05ecc812282f00d98c.jpg" alt="old sofa" title="old sofa" width="300" height="225" /></p> <p><img src="http://healthcarehacks.com/files/fruganomics/u17/0102000103032008051576f5759cb2e33ba7d200357d.jpg" alt="Scrap wood" title="Scrap wood" width="300" height="225" /></p> <p><img src="http://healthcarehacks.com/files/fruganomics/u17/01150701020220080602813cfd94f83cc6060c0086bc.jpg" alt="Scrap metal" title="Scrap metal" width="300" height="225" /></p> <p><img src="http://healthcarehacks.com/files/fruganomics/u17/0115080102072008050843bc537f85f70902da00d743.jpg" alt="broken TV" title="broken TV" width="300" height="225" /> </p> <p>I’ve posted a few pictures to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. I mean, this stuff is in pretty bad shape for even the most optimistic fixer-upper. Now, I’m not saying there isn’t a use for this sort of stuff, but maybe there should be a separate section on CL called “old junk” or “garbage” because to be honest, that’s what most of this is.</p> <p>The free section used to be a place where genuinely useful objects with value were given away by people who no longer had a use for them, but didn’t want to just throw them away or be hassled with trying to sell them for a few bucks. Now though, the “free” section is quickly filling up with other people’s junk. Junk that they want you to dismantle and haul away, so they add words like “useful for a DIY project” or “firewood” when it is, in fact, just a bunch of junk. &quot;A rose by any other name...&quot; comes to mind.</p> <p>What’s the reason for this rise in worthless junk appearing on Craigslist in such numbers? In my opinion, it’s the economy. Or rather, the poor economy and rocketing gas prices. Most refuse collectors won’t take a lot of this stuff, it has to be disposed of in a different way, under your own steam. Or rather, gasoline. And that takes cash that people just don’t have, or want, to spend.</p> <p>There’s an old phrase that says if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Well in this case, if you’re convinced that someone else will have a use for something, even if it’s just garbage, then maybe posting it on CL will attract a willing person to come and haul it away.</p> <p> I’ll still be checking the ‘list’ for useful free stuff, but to be honest it’s been many months since I’ve seen anything remotely cool. I know I can already here some people saying &quot;well what do you expect, it&#39;s free!&quot; But you know what else is free? My old toenail clippings, that empty carton of orange juice and that old notebook I used with most of the pages ripped out. The question is not one of free, but of usefulness. Maybe I&#39;m mistaken, and there is a huge demand for wrecked sofas and broken console TVs. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? If there isn&#39;t, maybe people should stop posting their old junk as a freebie. Just a thought. </p> <p>And as an aside, if anyone finds something genuinely fantastic in the free section, let us all know. I’d love to see what people are giving away around the country. </p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-category-on-craigslist-to-be-renamed-haul-away-my-old-bulky-broken-crap-for-free" class="sharethis-link" title="“Free” category on Craigslist to be renamed “Haul away my old, bulky, broken crap for free.”" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs craigslist free garbage junk recycling Mon, 09 Jun 2008 22:23:08 +0000 Paul Michael 2160 at http://www.wisebread.com Jettison the Junk: Why Clutter Clouds Your Mind and Saps Your Energy http://www.wisebread.com/jettison-the-junk-why-clutter-clouds-your-mind-and-saps-your-energy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/jettison-the-junk-why-clutter-clouds-your-mind-and-saps-your-energy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tired-4303504-small.jpg" alt="tired" title="tired" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a man who lives down the street from me who's a big fan of dumpster diving. And by &quot;fan&quot;, I mean, that's all he does. His backyard is a sea of garbage. He has 30 broken refrigerators on his giant back porch. His truck, which is parked in front of my house, is overflowing with discarded junk like broken baby strollers, cardboard boxes, paving stones, and dried out cans of paint. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clutter-free-the-zero-accumulation-household">Clutter-Free: The Zero-Accumulation Household</a>)</p> <p>To my knowledge, Dumpster Dan is not employed, and probably not eating well. He's impoverished. Yet he has all this crap lying around. Which is partly why I was so delighted to read the first sentence of Paul Graham's July 2007 <a href="http://www.paulgraham.com/stuff.html">essay about stuff</a>:</p> <blockquote><p><em>I have too much stuff. Most people in America do. In fact, the poorer people are, the more stuff they seem to have. Hardly anyone is so poor that they can't afford a front yard full of old cars.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Oooh! Snap!</p> <p>And also an interesting point &mdash; in the same way that the poorest Americans are also the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-is-it-so-expensive-to-be-healthy">fattest Americans</a>, the poorest Americans still accumulate a whole lot of junk. As Graham says, &quot;<em>Stuff has gotten a lot cheaper, but our attitudes toward it haven't changed correspondingly. We overvalue stuff.&quot;</em></p> <h2>When Less Is More</h2> <p>I've only recently become enamored over <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/voluntary-simplicity-as-hedonism">the joys of having less</a>. Buying less, owning less, and wanting less. I'm not a zen master of simple living, not by a long shot. And I came by the joy almost on accident.</p> <p>A friend of mine was planning a visit to my house and was bringing her one-year-old daughter along. In a slight panic, I ran around my home, attempting to 'baby-proof' the entire thing. Papers were shredded, junk discarded, floors mopped and swept, heavy vases hidden away in tall, locked cabinets.</p> <p>After looking around, I suddenly realized how WONDERFUL my house looked. It was downright beautiful. Looking around a spic-and-span room relaxed me. Coming home, opening the door and being greeted by the sight of an organized kitchen made me feel truly <em>at home</em>.</p> <p>That's why I'm loving Paul Graham's essay about <a href="http://www.paulgraham.com/stuff.html">having too much stuff</a> (via <a href="http://unclutterer.com/archives/2007/08/against_stuff.php">Unclutterer</a>). In between Fight Club-esque moments of &quot;your stuff owns you&quot;, he says:</p> <blockquote><p><em>And unless you're extremely organized, a house full of stuff can be very depressing. A cluttered room saps one's spirits. One reason, obviously, is that there's less room for people in a room full of stuff. But there's more going on than that. I think humans constantly scan their environment to build a mental model of what's around them. And the harder a scene is to parse, the less energy you have left for conscious thoughts. A cluttered room is literally exhausting.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>So, so true. Frustrations are multiplied when you don't have a clean, empty space to rest your eyes upon. Not only are piles of junk mentally jarring, but they remind you of how much work you still have left to do &mdash; sorting, organizing, and storing the stuff.</p> <p>A sink full of dirty dishes from three days ago isn't just unpleasant to look at &mdash; it reminds you that you have to do the dishes. And that you haven't had time to do the dishes for three days. THAT'S exhausting.</p> <h2>&quot;Bargain&quot; is Not French for &quot;Free&quot;</h2> <p>I'm delighted that Graham touches on one of the insane aspects of our culture, which is accumulating more stuff when we don't need it just because it's free, and having more stuff makes us feel richer:</p> <blockquote><p><em>That was a big problem for me when I had no money. I felt poor, and stuff seemed valuable, so almost instinctively I accumulated it. Friends would leave something behind when they moved, or I'd see something as I was walking down the street on trash night (beware of anything you find yourself describing as &quot;perfectly good&quot;), or I'd find something in almost new condition for a tenth its retail price at a garage sale. And pow, more stuff. In fact these free or nearly free things weren't bargains, because they were worth even less than they cost. Most of the stuff I accumulated was worthless, because I didn't need it.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>I'm frequently tempted to buy things that can be resold with a little fixing. You know, lovely old dressers that need a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-not-be-frugal">new coat of paint</a>. Clothing that can be made &quot;hip&quot; again with a few tucks here and there. But the truth is, I don't have the time or the space to handle projects like these. If I had my own workshop and a flexible job, I'd jump at the chance to restore antiques or resell clothing.</p> <p>But I have to accept the fact that my time and my living space are very limited. Remember, free or almost free stuff is only a great deal if you (a) use it, or (b) have the time, space, and energy to restore it and sell it for profit.</p> <h2>How to Stop? Don't Start</h2> <p>Simply getting rid of stuff isn't going to keep your life junk-free. Part of the trick in eliminating junk in your life is to refrain from accumulating <em>more</em> stuff you don't need and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snl-financial-advice-dont-buy-stuff-you-cannot-afford">can't afford</a>.&nbsp;As Graham writes,</p> <blockquote><p><em>The really painful thing to recall is not just that I accumulated all this useless stuff, but that I often spent money I desperately needed on stuff that I didn't. Why would I do that? Because the people whose job is to sell you stuff are really, really good at it. The average 25-year-old is no match for companies that have spent years figuring out how to get you to spend money on stuff. They make the experience of buying stuff so pleasant that &quot;shopping&quot; becomes a leisure activity.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Anyone who has ever spent $67 on a bottle of shampoo and some organic fruit at Whole Foods understands this sentiment. Shopping is a way to spend a Sunday afternoon, right? It's so pleasant, so breezy, so self-affirming.</p> <p>Shopping centers know this. All of the malls in my area are undergoing major renovations, making them more attractive places to hang out in. The University Village, which is near the University of Washington but packed with stores that students are too poor to shop in, has been wildly successful in turning an ugly, rundown strip mall into a lovely and appealing shopping destination. Replete with playgrounds, fountains, lovely landscaping, outdoor seating &mdash; you could spend an entire day in the Village and not be lacking in any services or products.</p> <p>That's a dangerous situation for me. The longer I linger, the more I want to spend. So I've learned to avoid langurous afternoons in the Village.</p> <h2>Self-Interrogation</h2> <p>In his essay, Graham discusses some of the tactics that he uses to keep himself from buying stuff that he doesn't need:</p> <blockquote><p><em>[A]sk yourself, before buying something, &quot;is this going to make my life noticeably better? [W]ill this be something I use constantly? Or is it just something nice? Or worse still, a mere bargain?</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Here's what I ask myself before buying something that I don't really NEED:</p> <ol> <li>Is this going to help me achieve any of my goals? (Running shoes, yes; lip plumper, no.)</li> <li>Which of my friends will be impressed by, or envious of, this item? If all of those friends would be disinterested in this item, would I still want it?</li> </ol> <p>Those questions help me mentally suss out the motivations behind my desire for an object. Peer pressure can be a powerful thing, and I try to use it for the forces of good rather than evil. If I imagine that all of my friends disapprove of a shiny new iPhone, I can offer myself a more unbiased opinion about my own feelings regarding my desire for one. If I bought this, and everyone hated it, would I still think it was a great purchase?</p> <p>That's how I avoided purchasing: a fast motorcycle, lip injections, and a tattoo on my forearm.</p> <p>As I slowly work towards a less cluttered life, I'm constantly realizing how empowering it is to have less. Of course, this is the opposite of what we are told by advertisers; we are led to believe that only owning things will give us a feeling of power. It's almost jolting to discover what a lie that is, even if I've proclaimed all my life that I understood the falsehoods behind the marketing.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jettison-the-junk-why-clutter-clouds-your-mind-and-saps-your-energy" class="sharethis-link" title="Jettison the Junk: Why Clutter Clouds Your Mind and Saps Your Energy" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Debt Management Lifestyle America clutter compulsive consumerism debt junk overspending shopping Tue, 07 Aug 2007 23:54:15 +0000 Andrea Karim 964 at http://www.wisebread.com Junk Mail revenge part 1 - Make fast cash reselling junk mail. http://www.wisebread.com/junk-mail-revenge-part-1-make-fast-cash-reselling-junk-mail <p>If you're anything like me, you hate opening your mailbox to see a whole pile of junk mail waiting for you. Credit Card offers (<a href="/junk-mail-revenge-part-2-its-war">more on those in part 2 of this series</a> ), fake checks from mortgage firms, endless reams of useless coupons and, of course, the trusty 1lb envelope of garbage from ValPak. But a friend recently told me of a hidden gem inside the ValPak envelope. A gem that's worth at least $20.</p> <p><strong>The voucher that's like Wonka's golden ticket. </strong><br /> Inside ValPak envelopes (depending on your zip code) is a voucher from Northwest Airlines. It looks something like the picture below (I apologize for the poor quality, it's the best pic I could find anywhere on the web).</p> <p><img width="343" height="127" title="NWA voucher" alt="NWA voucher" src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/nwavoucher.jpg" /></p> <p>Now, what this voucher does is give the redeemer anywhere from $25 to $100 off of a Northwest Airlines flight. Great, if you happen to be in the market for a flight. If you're not, which is probably the case, you'll trash it. But using the mighty reach of eBay you can find hundreds of people who desperately want to save cash on a flight. And that means quick money for the smart eBayer.</p> <p><strong>M</strong><strong>aking the quick buck(s).</strong><br /> All you have to do is list your Northwest Airlines voucher on eBay. As you can see, completed listings (for eBay novices, those green prices are the final SOLD price for the item) are averaging $20-$25.</p> <p><img width="440" height="336" title="Compare listings" alt="Compare listings" src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/Picture_5_1.png" /></p> <p>That's cold, hard cash for a voucher that was sent to you free in the mail. List the item for a starting price of around $18.99 and give FREE shipping (it's just the cost of a stamp anyway). You may also want to do a Buy It Now option for $19.99. It's all up to you.</p> <p><strong>Get vouchers from friends, make even more money.</strong><br /> Most people will be more than happy to give you their ValPak envelopes, if they haven't already dumped them in the garbage. You could get 5 or 6 NWA vouchers and sell them in seperate auctions, or list them as &quot;5 available&quot; in one auction. Either way, that's at least $100 lovely dollars from something that used to be a pain in your butt.</p> <p>Now, prepare for something you've never experienced before in your life. Get ready to be happy to see junk mail in your mail box. Next time, starting the Junk Mail war.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/junk-mail-revenge-part-1-make-fast-cash-reselling-junk-mail" class="sharethis-link" title="Junk Mail revenge part 1 - Make fast cash reselling junk mail." rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Deals airlines codes coupon eBay junk junk mail mail NWA offers ValPak voucher Mon, 09 Jul 2007 20:13:14 +0000 Paul Michael 820 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get Rid of Your Junk http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-your-junk <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-rid-of-your-junk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000009651932XSmall.jpg" alt="Messy closet" title="Messy closet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://wisebread.com/who-moved-my-stuff-0">Ed's post</a> about moving and getting rid of stuff got me thinking about my clutter. Are you barely able to breathe in your cluttered household? Have tons of stuff that you need to get rid of?</p> <p>A few weeks ago, I took a seminar called &quot;Commanding Your Clutter&quot; at a local community college. Here's what I learned about collecting, hoarding, shopping, and finally, letting go of all that junk.</p> <h3>Why people hold onto things</h3> <p><strong>I paid so much for it!</strong> Yes, but are you getting your money's worth from it? No? Sell it.</p> <p><strong>I have sentimental attachment to it.</strong> This is my biggest problem. See step 4 below.</p> <p><strong>Someone else will be angry if I sell it/give it away.</strong> Our teacher told us that the best way to do this is to contact people by letter or by phone and let them know that although you love them, and appreciate the thought that went into the gift that they gave you, you simply don't have room for it anymore. You ask if they would like it back, or if they have any input as to what you should do with it. This can be a difficult proposition, but many people appreciate the honesty. The other option is to get rid of it and just tell them that you broke it if they ever ask.</p> <p><strong>My children will eventually want it.</strong> ASK your children if they will eventually want it, and keep asking them. See if they want it now. I have this monstrous set of big, fake plastic grapes glued to a piece of driftwood that I LOVED as a child. They were my grandmother's. I used to think that they were magic. Now, I can't think of anything to do with them, short of launching them into the ocean using a homemade trebuchet.</p> <p><strong>But this is an heirloom!</strong> Sez you. If you think you have something of heirloom quality, get it appraised and store it properly. Many of the things that you consider heirloom quality might not be. This is (again) where taking a picture of the object, labeling it, and storing it in an album would be appropriate.</p> <p><strong>It'll be worth so much money some day!</strong> This might be true. But if you're like the 40 Year Old Virgin, consider paring down. If collectibles are getting in the way of your everyday living, selling some of them off now will save you years of annoyance, which is worth a bit of money. You can invest that money and watch it grow, and it will grow faster than the value of the baseball card/action figure/porcelain doll, without a doubt.</p> <h3>Tactics for getting rid of stuff</h3> <p><strong>1. Start small, with one closet or one corner of a room</strong>. Our teacher told us to <a href="http://wisebread.com/fifteen-minutes-of">use an egg timer</a> and to work in 15 minute intervals, but that doesn't work for me &mdash; I'm better off tackling everything at one go. However, if you are looking at a huge project that can take days, our teacher suggested that organizing for 45 minutes (with 15 minutes of cleanup), one day a week was the only way to get it done while maintaining your sanity.</p> <p><strong>2. Procure three empty boxes, and label them <em>Keep</em>, <em>Undecided</em>, and <em>Toss</em></strong>. Divide your junk into these boxes, and empty them frequently (in the garbage or at Goodwill, or in your Yard Sale pile). I actually use <em>Keep</em>, <em>Donate</em>, and <em>Toss</em>, because I like to make my decisions straight away.</p> <p><strong>3. Resist the urge</strong> to look through the photo albums and year books during the first round. If you think that the info contained therein will be valuable down the road, put them in the Keep box and deal with them at a later date.</p> <p><strong>4. Deciding what to get rid of is hard, but it must be done.</strong> Our teacher told us the story of a man she had helped on a big cleaning project. He was hanging on to things like a plastic bag from a bookstore in Paris that he felt reminded him of his college travels. The bag, he said, had a special place in his memory.</p> <p><em>Fine</em>, she said. <em>Let's get a nice frame for it and hang it on the wall.</em> The man looked at her like she was nuts. <em>You don't frame and hang a plastic bag.</em></p> <p><em>No? Well, let's take a picture of it, then frame that picture.</em> Again, the man stared at her like she had lost it. It finally dawned on him that the bag wasn't the source of his memories, but merely a souvenir, and a junky one at that. <em>Toss it</em>, he said.</p> <p>Our teacher recommended that we use this rule for each item that we hem and haw over:</p> <p>1. Would you want to frame and display it?</p> <ul> <li>Yes = Keep.</li> <li>No = See step 2.</li> </ul> <p>2. Would you want to take a picture of it?</p> <ul> <li>Yes = Take picture, get rid of item.</li> <li>No = Get rid of item.</li> </ul> <p>If you can take a picture of something that you want to remember, but can't use, do so. Put it in an album with a label. But let it go if it's taking up too much space.</p> <h2>But what should I do with it?</h2> <p>You don't have too many choices, but there are a few to consider:</p> <ul> <li>Throw it in the garbage.</li> <li>Put it outside with a FREE sign. Better yet, put a $50 sign on it and watch how fast it gets stolen.</li> <li>Give it away to a friend or family member, or to a complete stranger through <a href="http://www.freecycle.org/">Freecycle</a>.</li> <li>Recycle it (computers, TVs).</li> <li>Call a junk tower to take it away.</li> <li>Sell it online.</li> <li>Trade it online.</li> <li>Sell it in the newspaper.</li> <li>Take it to Goodwill or similar charity.</li> </ul> <p>Me, I've stopped trying to sell stuff. Donation is the key to getting rid of what I don't need. The amount of money I can make for selling my junk on eBay or Craigslist rarely makes up for the amount of time that goes into arranging the sale.</p> <p>Yard sales are a great way to make money, and 'tis the season right now. <a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2007/06/12/a-yard-sale-checklist-ten-tips-for-garage-sale-prep/">Get Rich Slowly</a> (via <a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/search.php?s=yard+sale">The Simple Dollar</a>) has some great tips for a successful yard sale.</p> <p>You'll probably be surprised how much stress is relieved by parting with your junk. I was really taken aback this morning when I was able to walk from my bedroom to the bathroom without looking like I was doing the Filipino <em>tinikling</em> all the way there.</p> <p>It can be hard to part with things, but in the long run, it's worth letting go. When they say that you can't take it with you, they aren't kidding.</p> <p>Of course, part of the trick to maintaining a clutter-free zone in your home and life is not to accumulate MORE crap. I'll be blogging more about that tomorrow.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-your-junk" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Get Rid of Your Junk" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/life-hacks/organization">Organization articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle Organization craigslist donate eBay garage sale junk pack rat storage yard sale Mon, 18 Jun 2007 20:32:53 +0000 Andrea Karim 749 at http://www.wisebread.com Cool & funky things I found FREE on Craigslist http://www.wisebread.com/cool-funky-things-i-found-free-on-craigslist <p> <img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/bike.jpg" alt="bike sign" title="bike sign" width="240" height="180" /></p> <p>It&#39;s amazing what people will throw away these days. Or give away. And that&#39;s why I&#39;m a huge fan of <a href="http://denver.craigslist.org/about/cities.html">Craigslist</a> . </p> <p>Not only is a great place to sell all that stuff you thought no-one would buy, it&#39;s also an ideal way to get your hands on some great things for almost nothing. Or even better, actually nothing!</p> <p>Here are a few of the items I found for FREE on my local Craigslist. The free button is located in the For Sale section of the Craigslist site. If you don&#39;t find at least a few things on there that you could find useful, I&#39;ll eat my hat (but not to worry, I&#39;ll find a free one on Craigslist anyway).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A COOL VINTAGE TURNTABLE &amp; CABINET</strong><br />Free of charge. I just have to go pick it up. They&#39;re trying to replicate these things for hundreds of dollars these days. And someone is just giving this one away. Ha!</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/cab2.jpg" alt="free cabinet" title="free cabinet" width="300" height="225" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A MICROWAVE STRAIGHT OUT OF THE BRADY BUNCH ERA</strong><br />You just can&#39;t beat vintage stuff. I love it. And this one still works. I love the old wood and black plastic. Classic!</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/microwave.jpg" alt="Microwave" title="Microwave" width="300" height="225" /> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A TV &amp; CABINET - SOLID WOOD, AMAZING CRAFTSMANSHIP, GROOVY BABY</strong><br />As you can see, I have a penchant for the older, cooler items. That&#39;s because they have character baby, something sadly lacking in this modern day world of plastic and vinyl.</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/tv.jpg" alt="TV" title="TV" width="300" height="225" /> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A SOFA WITH MORE &#39;TUDE AND STYLE THAN I CAN HANDLE</strong><br />My wife would no doubt kill me if I actually picked this up. But if I had the kind of pad that could handle this kind of classic style, I&#39;d snap it up. I saw several modern furniture designers rip this off a few years ago in London.</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/sofa.jpg" alt="sofa" title="sofa" width="300" height="225" /> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A KEG-O-RATOR FRIDGE</strong><br />Seriously, what red-blooded male wouldn&#39;t want a Keg Fridge in his garage or basement? And why pay for it when some generous chap is giving a perfect one away for free! Score!</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/fridge.jpg" alt="fridge" title="fridge" width="225" height="300" /></p> <p><strong>A REDWOOD DECK - 12&#39;8&quot; X 23&#39;8&quot;</strong><br />I mean, even as scrapwood it&#39;s worth something. But this is a complete Redwood Deck. All it needs is to be rebuilt on your own property (cut to size of course) and then stained to brighten it up. What is that? $1000 saved on timber?</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/deck.jpg" alt="Deck" title="Deck" width="300" height="225" /> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>SOLAR PANELS - NOT JUST FREE, THEY CAN CUT YOUR POWER BILL</strong><br />I don&#39;t know the going rate of large solar panels to power your home, but I imagine they&#39;re not cheap. Someone moved into a house and these were sat at the bottom of the garden. </p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/solar.jpg" alt="solar" title="solar" width="300" height="225" /></p> <p><strong>THE BEST FOR LAST - FREE BEER!</strong><br />Yup, someone had a friend who worked in a liquor store and he left this behind as a gift when he moved out. They don&#39;t drink beer. I do. Looks like 50-60 cans for my beer fridge. Woot!</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/beer.jpg" alt="beer" title="beer" width="300" height="199" /> </p> <p>So, that&#39;s what I found. Let me know if you find a mega-free deal worth shouting about. After all, you can&#39;t beat free. Unless of course someone pays you take it away! Happy hunting.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cool-funky-things-i-found-free-on-craigslist" class="sharethis-link" title="Cool &amp; funky things I found FREE on Craigslist" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping craigslist free freebie garbage giveaway junk old recycled second hand trash Thu, 19 Apr 2007 06:11:53 +0000 Paul Michael 529 at http://www.wisebread.com