3 Lessons from Throwing $10,000 of Stuff Away

Cluttered House

Written by Liz

Just your regular 27-year-old, queer, super-introverted, FIRE-chasing, frugal Singaporean, who lives a pretty good life while earning only a modest salary, but still plans to retire at age 40 with $1,000,000. Click here to read more

November 15, 2020

I spent a lot of time in the past month being distant from both this blog and my niche site, as I needed time to reflect and to decide on my direction for the upcoming year (2021). While I still haven’t exactly figured this out, I put some of the extra time on my hands into something productive – decluttering.

While my decluttering process is far from over (as I used to spend a lot of money on random stupid things), I estimate that I’ve already thrown away over $10,000 worth of stuff.

More than $10,000 Down the Drain

So, what did I toss? My biggest culprits are the following:

  • Lots of books and DVDs;
  • TONNES of movie and anime memorabilia; and
  • Many clothing items, such as shirts, jeans, dresses, shoes, bags and more.
Stack of Jeans

A stack of jeans that I donated just last week. There’s more where this came from.

My Insane Spending Habits

When I was in my teenage years, I used to shop for clothes a lot. I would spend $200 each time I went out shopping, and that could be multiple times a month. I also regularly frequented movie and anime shops, and would buy up a storm during each school holiday (in March, June, September, December). I could have spent easily $300 each time.

Anime Collection

A small part of my anime collection. Keyword: Small.

In my early 20s, I started collecting books, and then DVDs. Thankfully, I discovered Carousell (a platform in Singapore for buying and selling preowned items) around this time, and limited my collection to pre-owned books and DVDs. While the financial damage wasn’t as bad, my collecting habits still weren’t exactly cheap.

DVD Collection

A small part of my DVD collection. My entire collection consists of 300-400 titles.

Book Collection on Bookshelf

A small part of my book collection. Why do I have multiple copies of the Game of Thrones series? (Face palm)

What was I thinking? I don’t know either. Nevertheless, here are 3 lessons that I learnt.

1. Little things add up.

While I never found myself being attracted to big ticket items (such as expensive watches, bags, or even cars), I’ve always had a compulsive urge to collect things.

The things I collected were never too expensive. But they added up over the years.

A dress might only set me back $50 today, but an entire wardrobe over the years would cost me thousands.

An anime figurine might only cost me $30 today, but an entire collection might amount to $1,000.

A single DVD might only be $5 today, but an entire collection might be $2,000. (Oh, I have about 400 DVDs titles right now).

2. It’s so much harder to sell than to buy.

I’m not sure whether anyone else in Singapore has had a similar experience, but it’s impossible to sell things on Carousell for a good price; people are always constantly haggling. I previously posted a brand new $500 Coach bag online for just $120, and I still had people trying to negotiate it down to $100 or less.

In addition, a lot of time is needed to post the items online, take pictures, write a description, liaise with the buyer, and then meet up with the buyer.

As such, apart from more expensive items that can sell for $50 or more, I rather donate or throw away than to sell on Carousell.

It took me just 10 minutes to see and buy a $500 bag in the past, but hours to sell it for just $100 afterwards.

3. I never even took the time to appreciate most of what I bought.

I used to (and sometimes I still do) buy stuff thinking that I would eventually get around to using it, but I never did. I’ve had so many clothing items going unused, books never being read, DVDs that I never watched (I mean who watches DVDs anymore, right?). I didn’t even display the anime and movie merchandise that I bought.

I never realised it before, but I was just after the dopamine hit that’s associated with buying something new, not because I actually needed any of the stuff that I bought.

As of now, I no longer buy any books, DVDs, clothes, or even my beloved anime/movie merchandise. It makes me feel wasteful to have so many things that I don’t need.

However, I have been picking up A LOT of outdoor gear to review for my niche site and my YouTube channel (if I ever get around to filming). But it’s not being wasteful if I’m actually using it to start a small online business, right? *Trying to convince myself I’m not still being a compulsive hoarder*

Right. We’ll see where this goes.

Have you been decluttering recently? Is there anything else that you’ve learnt?

As always, thank you for reading and supporting this blog.

Become a Millionaire and Retire Early on a Modest Salary Book Cover

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  1. Budget Life List

    This. Was. Fascinating! It’s so interesting to see where other peoples whims have taken them. My whims were shoes, bags, and books. I dabbled with DVDs too. I am a leaner, decluttering machine today. I am sad about all the money I wasted when it could have been invested in the stock market or a trip.

    Oh well.

    On the brightside, I learned and I didn’t get into any debt because of it. I know I am fortunate.

    Sounds like you are too!

    • Liz

      Aww thank you BuLL! Yeah it pretty much sucks to “throw” my money away, but I’m definitely fortunate for not getting into debt either! At least now we know better 🙂 Glad to hear that your decluttering efforts are paying off! It feels like a load of your shoulders when you do 🙂