Updated: May 3, 2021
We returned home from 6 months travelling to a freezing cold February morning. We picked up a hire car and drove back to my parents house in South London with our bags, disheveled hair and incredible optimism bourn out of the experiences we had whilst we’d been away. Not only had we captured memories forever but with our new minimal outlook on life, we were excited for the future. We didn't own much anymore, we’d sold our flat to fund the trip, so we were lucky enough to stay at the folks place for a few months until we got ourselves back on to a path of regular life.
Because we had been living out of bags for so long, we had embraced living more with less so we wanted to continue that lifestyle on our return. We also needed to get back to saving some money so we could buy our new place. The only stumbling blocks were that we hardly had anything left to sell and declutter and my parents (my mum especially) were hoarders. Ah.
We’re not talking extreme hoarders here but everything, and i mean everything, seemed to have emotional attachment to it. A loft filled to the brim of just in case purchases and keepsakes, collections and valuables, this and that, bits and pieces, odds and ends were here and there in this suburban Aladdin’s cave.
Our remaining smaller belongings were up there, somewhere, mixed up in what felt like a weird toys r us richer sounds hybrid warehouse. An exclusive members only museum of stuff where there was only room for one person to look but not touch. I had not been to this museum in years so was intrigued to know what new additions were put on display for nobody.
Removing any of our remaining clothes we left behind was pretty straight forward but i felt obliged to see if i could influence my parents with this new mindset. Turns out just telling them to get rid of stuff wasn't effective at all, we had to show them the benefits. Unsurprisingly my parents had kept all mine and my brother’s old toys in the loft, loads of boxes and bin bags of action figures, magazines, stickers, all sorts. This was the ideal 2 birds with 1 stone scenario i was looking for. I could see if any of this old crap was worth anything plus i could help remove at least a few bits from the loft.
Immediately i was met with resistance from my mum who would always try and talk me into keeping a place for things, didn't want to let anything go because each thing had a loving memory behind it. She had created a scenario in her head that when we had children of our own, we would pass the toys down and the fictitious children would all play with a headless He-Man and an armless Ultimate Warrior together on a farmyard built by lego and world cup stickers. As beautiful and scary as that sounded, i had to bring some sense of reality back and the way i did this was to sit my mum down and reframe what the toys could now represent.
If valuable, these toys would contribute towards buying our new home. They could be the final push for putting down that deposit. They could fund our new TV. They could help buy new furniture that we would love for years to come. The toys were once loved and adored by my younger self and my parents were kind enough to keep that investment which we could now look to cash in as we progressed into the next phase of our lives. They now became multi purpose. Played with and treasured, used to fund a key life purchase, passed on to real children to play with again or added to a growing collection. Talk about adding value.
What i did not anticipate was how much fun it would be going through them all as a family, sharing memories and creating new ones. Granted, there were stacks on stacks of toys and it was a bit of a chore at times to clean them, look for missing attachments, research what on earth some of them were and go through the whole ebay process but, even now, we are still laughing at some of the moments we had together. In a way that was what my mum had wanted but we created a real scenario now featuring all of us, just from some old tat from the loft.
So finally after the core valuables were sold off to new owners, we were left with a total of £1348.34 from 117 sales which were a mixture of single toys and job lots.The total volume of actual items removed from the loft was into the thousands. We subsequently used that money to kit out our new front room.
Just before christmas my mum rang me to say that they had found a few wrestling cushions, (officially wrestling buddies i used to body slam and suplex before i tried the moves on my brother), she went on to explain that they were still in really good condition and she’d even washed them for me. Now 6 months ago she would have tried to convince me that they had a place in our new home, but i am pleased to say she said ‘do you want to see how much you can get for them on ebay?’
Less is Progress.
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