Trash or treasure?

Filed under: Activities: Babies, In The News, Gadgets

Stuff. Old stuff. Some people have a lot of it. Some have little. Some, like me, have no space in which to keep it, which keeps the limit down. We all, though, however small or large our dwellings, seem to have room in our lives for stuff that we don't necessarily need, don't necessarily use, yet can't seem to part with.

For me, some of it is sentimental attachment. Cards my grandmother has sent to me, a bejeweled letter opener an aunt gave me, that kind of thing. Some of it, though, I secretly think might have value some day. So, I keep it, in hopes it will help pay for my children's college education. Or, perhaps, if held on to long enough, it could bring them a lot more than that.

So I keep it. I have an electric guitar that is truly in exceptional condition. This is because I got it early in high school when I still thought I might actually be a rock star. I played it a while, then tucked it away safely under my bed in its hard case where it lives to this day along with some picks and sheet music. It is probably worth something, but I can't even throw it on craigslist as I know not what year it was made or purchased, nor what type of guitar it is (it's some sort of Westone).

I also have a few things that I don't really have use for or space to keep them in but can't part with because a family member gave it to me. My recently departed grandmother once gave me a carnival glass pitcher. I did look this item up, and it turns out that since it has no special symbol engraved on it, it isn't true carnival glass and is not currently worth anything.

Still, some day it might be worth something!

This is what my father says to the collection of half-dollars, Susan B. Anthony dollars and two dollar bills we still has from when I was a kid. The idea had been to help me out with it when I got old enough. Then, I got old enough. And I guess we never bothered to do anything with all that coin (and those few dollars). Perhaps we forgot or perhaps it wasn't worth anything, yet.

So, we have my children to pass it on to and they can decide what to do with it. Frankly, a dollar is worth more today then it will be ten years from now so we might as well cash that stuff in and open up a savings account. That would be the smart thing to do. There's no romance in that, though, no fun story to tell the kids when they're old enough about how we came up with the money for college with a few old coins (and those few dollars).

In an e-bay kind of world it's easy to think our junk could be worth something to our kids. It could also, as e-bay has shown us, just stay junk, even if it is pretty junk that we are attached to nonetheless.

So, what to do? Sell it now for what we can get, or hold on to it long enough to let the kids decide what to do with it? Part of me dreads holding on to all that stuff when I know we're moving soon and could stand to move with less. Part of me says throw it online and take whatever you can get for it, even if you don't know the real value. Part of me says to just scrap the whole thing and put the stuff on the street.

Then, part of me thinks my kid will think I am cool when he's in high school and I present him with a vintage guitar in excellent condition. Of course, he could not want to be a rock star.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.