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Treasures and Meaning

Why do we own the things we do? The obvious answer for many things is that we need them. We need clothes to wear, pots and pans to cook with, furniture to have a place to sit. But for many other things, there is a lot more than practicality that explains it. For many objects, there is sentimentality - we own it because it was given to us by a loved one, or reminds us of a special time and place in our lives. Some things aren't exactly required but give us great joy or meaning in our lives - photographs, musical instruments, sport equipment.

However, some of the things in our lives may not have a real purpose. Or, their purpose has come and gone. Maybe we acquired them through no conscious act of our own. They are left behind from an old hobby. Maybe we have acquired just one too many of something! Or, maybe we have inherited items. Or, maybe we are just moving into a new phase in our lives - moving, downsizing, starting fresh, remodeling, etc, etc.

Just as there are lots of reasons why we might acquire things, there are lots of reasons why we might decide it's time to divest ourselves of some of the things we have. And there are lots of different ways to go about this. We can donate them. We can give them to a friend or member of the family. Sometimes, we might just throw things away!

Another option is to try to sell the items. This brings yet another set of decisions to be made about where and how. On the neighborhood listserv? What about the community yard sale or flea market? Is there an auction house nearby? Or the fully online route - Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, EBay, and many, many others. Each has its pros and cons - usually involving tradeoffs of time and money.

I have my own story of selling things that I no longer wanted or needed. I have tried all of those options. Along the way, I realized that I actually kind of liked the experience. There is research that is sometimes necessary. Creativity required in photographing and describing items. And then the thrill of realizing that what you had was actually worth more than you thought! One of the best aspects of selling, for me, is when you hear the personal stories of those on both ends of the transaction - how and why the item was acquired by the seller and the joy that it brings to the buyer. In that way, I can think of myself as a facilitator in the transmission of a treasure from one home to another. And that is very satisfying.


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