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Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014

A lifetime of stuff may not be valuable

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lisa Perry is a 45-year-old Minnesota woman who wants a fresh start. She says she's not suffering a mid-life crisis but rather "mid-life excitement". She's had enough of the Minnesota winters so she plans on moving west. Maybe take up a new career.

But before she embarks on her new life, Perry thought of a novel way to sell her "stuff" - odds and ends she has collected over a lifetime. You know, the same kind of stuff we all accumulate over the years - snowshoes, bed, seashells, Village People album, etc. So she decided to place her lifetime of "junk" on eBay and unload everything at once. She'll keep her dog, cat, photos and clothes. Everything else goes.

Like many of us perhaps, Perry has hauled her collection of life's treasures during countless moves in the past. She always worried that something would break. Now she feels liberated that her odds and ends will finally find a new home. And she won't be hauling the "stuff" any longer.

Up until this point, this story was an amusing and creative tidbit. What a unique way to eliminate the "junk" that we all accumulate through the years. But a funny thing happened on the way to eBay.

As of today, Lisa Perry has been offered a whopping $100 for her assortment of "stuff." She wasn't sure just how much her collection would fetch but she says it was definitely more than $100. She has until June to make her westward move. And she's hoping her life's treasures are worth more than the current offer.

The more I read this story, the sadder I felt. For 20 long years, through dozens of moves to a half-dozen states, Lisa Perry has faithfully collected her belongings and moved them gingerly from location to location. And now, when she makes an important decision to eliminate this extra baggage, she's told it's worth a paltry $100!

In some ways, we're all like Lisa Perry. We all collect items along the way that for some unspoken reason, we save. We cling to these items regardless of their value. They have meaning - albeit, meaning that passes with time. But to be told that all of that effort is worth $100 seems so very depressing and sad.

I once collected some obscure magazines that I was certain would explode in value over the years. So I hauled them time and time again. I would occasionally glance at this aging relics, certain in the fact that someday, they would bring a tidy sum for my retirement. I recently browsed a Web site to check on their value and, to my amazement, found they were worth $1 each. My "stash" of valuables were worth enough to fill up my vehicle with gasoline today. Needless to say, I revamped some retirement plans.

As beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so is value. That lesson hits home with the story of Lisa Perry. When my time comes to downsize my possessions - limited as they are - I too will firmly believe they have value beyond my imagination. And like Lisa Perry, I strongly suspect I, too, will be in for a rude awakening.

Here's the lesson - if you're banking any part of your future on selling your possessions in life, you might want to contact Lisa Perry. She's out West somewhere starting all over. And I'll bet $100, she'd love to hear from you.



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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen