I’ve got a lot of stuff. I used to have more, but I still have a lot. The people who know me best might actually find it amusing to observe my transition from avid collector (aka mild hoarder) to a vaguely defined minimalist. I actually still enjoy quality objects and I still collect several things. However, I have come to the realization that cash is still a great equalizer and much better than even the biggest garage.
The evolution of cash and the speed of the marketplace: Once upon a time trying to find objects, especially unique or inexpensive ones, was an arduous task. Trying to find a used bike that was your exact size meant calling around everyone you knew, paying a retail markup at a local bike store, or spending hours searching flea markets or garage sales. If you were in a big city you might have the luxury of finding a decent classified section. (Photo: Planetgreenrecycle) However, this has all begun to change. The concept that makes cash better than all your stored junk hinges on the speed of information. It is now possible to find what you need and purchase it quickly and efficiently. The simple combination of amazon, local retail, craigslist, and ebay can get you almost anything you need quickly and simply. You no longer need to store hundreds of items or keep things for just-in-case. Most of the time, you are better having cash and the knowledge of where to quickly get the things you need.
Money vs. Storage
Cash appreciates. Stuff doesn’t. In general, money not being used has the incredible ability to earn us interest. While, stuff that we store generally degrades, rusts, becomes obsolete, or depreciates. I know this first hand. Before I was a regular bike rider, I had a simple inexpensive mountain bike. It was in great shape when I took it off to college. However, I put it in storage and basically left it there until the tires dry-rotted and the chain rusted. It sat for many years before I did anything with it. If I had simply sold it when I finished using it, I would have had plenty of cash to buy a new one when I was actually ready to ride.
I know just how much stuff sits around unused, decaying in American’s garages. I enjoy fixing things; and, over the last several years, I have bought, fixed, and sold tons of random items I’ve received or purchased from the local market. It still amazes me how many surplus quality goods sit around American’s houses collecting dust. The bike, scooter, and half the things in our house were someone’s unused clutter before they became our fully enjoyed objects. What is sitting unused in your house that someone would love to have?
It often costs a lot of time and money to store and maintain lots of junk. I personally know people who need larger homes will lots of closets, storage, and garage space to keep the crap they don’t use. It cost money to buy the space. It cost energy to clean and maintain everything in the space. We also use mental energy worrying about the mess and all the clutter that accompanies it. Wouldn’t it be better if we only owned things we actually needed and had a little bit of cash to buy the new (or used) items when the exact time arises?
The Craigslist Cloud
Craigslist is a pretty amazing thing. I remember getting so excited the day they rolled it out into the small town where I lived. In a thriving marking, it is incredible to have free access, both buying and selling, to so many used and new goods. The efficiency gain for the used to used market via craislist is awesome. It is possible to sell almost anything I own in a few hours or days (depending on how I price it) with a few pictures and clicks from my phone. But equally as nice is that it is possible to buy something used in a few hours if needed.
The notion of a cloud is simply having things in a central repository that can be accessed anytime you need it. Another example would be our stroller. When we found out we were going to have a baby we got so excited we bought a fancy used jogging stroller. However, once we got it to the house we realized it was quite large and we would actually need to store it for over a year until the new baby would fit into it. Instated of just storing it somewhere in the house, we simply resold it and then bought another one once the baby came and she was old enough to ride in it. The cloud works great because you can store everything you don’t need as cash. And when you need something you just buy it. When you don’t need it anymore, sell it and store the “good” as money instead of a physical object.
We live in a pretty amazing time. We have come to the point, through information and technology, that we no longer need to own everything to have incredible access. We simply need to know where to find it and have a little bit of money. So, get familiar with craigslist, ebay, amazon, and you will well on your way to access. Sell the junk in your house that someone else could use. Get rid of the unnecessary clutter to help you relax and gain more space. Having a little bit of money is better than a big garage full of stuff.