The Value of Objects

Back when we moved to California, I had to clean out all of the stuff that we had in our garage and decide what to keep and what not to keep. Most things you find in the garage have some kind of utility at some point in time or to some other person, but their utility for you is really a function of:

  1. Your ability to remember that you have it
  2. Your ability to remember where it is
  3. The total cost of ownership (adds chaos to your space multipled by the % chance that you will EVER use it)

For example, when my parents were downsizing, I inherited a large amount of garage collateral.  Now I was having to go through that collateral  and I found not 1, not 2, but 4 (FOUR) different partially used bicycle tire patch kits.  Now let’s think about what this means, it means that he bought one to fix a tire, but when another flat occurred found it easier to buy another patch kit, rather than to remember and find the one that he had.

So I’ve been wrestling with the problem that in today’s society we have so much stuff and it has real use, but not necessarily to us, yet it is hard to just throw away because SOMEONE could use it and yet there is no real way to find them and get it to them. Perhaps someone could start a business to help with this. (i.e. People drop off their garage junk and they get paid based on the weight (some minuscule amount), then you simply charge people to pick stuff up based on the weight again.)

This lesson has only continued to grow as we have moved again.  Things are only useful if you can remember you have them and can find them, if it’s something you need only rarely, you’re better off just buying it again when you need it.






2 responses to “The Value of Objects”

  1. Andrea Michels Avatar
    Andrea Michels

    Matthew, my beloved nephew, someone has thought of that business. Flea Markets, Goodwill, Salvation Army, Thrift Shops, FreeCycle (online), even garage sales are the same. Although your idea of by weight seems somewhat novel, albeit impractical in terms of value. But then, if you’re referring only to those things that you were about to toss out then it might be the most practical. And I’m soooo glad that you didn’t use any of your aunt’s clutter as an example. You leave my stuff alone!

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