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Monday, June 24, 2013

The Most Reasonably Priced Stuff in Paris

Best deal of all (educators only): one-year Louvre pass for 35 euros.

And, to pay for our plane ticket, we have been eating lots of

fromage blanc

How can this stuff be so cheap?

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Biggest Declutter: Happy and Sad

About a year ago, I wrote about a happy declutter: Frugal Son, back from a year working in France, unsure of the next step, got a job at a bilingual school in New Orleans. He discovered that he loves teaching. He also discovered that he loves New Orleans. The happy declutter: helping him furnish his tiny shared apartment with my--ahem--overstock.

But we had a sad event too. Mr FS's beloved father died, and our share of the neat and sentimental items overstuffed the house again. More than before. Little did we expect...

That, owing to the fact that Frugal Son was paying too much rent and wants to stay in New Orleans, we would be able to help him buy a house. Using part of our share of the house of Mr FS's parents. We wish they could see it.

Yesterday, we moved a lot of overstock to the new house, including many items belonging to his much-loved grandparents. A table that Oompa made. A tapestry that Nana made. I do think that memories inhere in objects and, for this reason, I am stubbornly materialistic.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Getting Rid of Stuff and Getting Your Money Back: Return Items Within the Rules

My late father, who studied market research, was interested in consumer behavior. And he loved stores that stood by their wares. So part of being a good consumer is to return things you don't want. I can't tell you how many items with tags I see at thrift stores. I enjoy getting such things, but think the purchaser should return--and maybe donate the full price to charity!

Miss Em and I just boxed up a few things and sent them back to our usual retail sites: Garnet Hill, LL Bean, and Nordstrom. We kept the good things and returned the rejects. We love that these shops have no-questions-asked returns and we are careful not to take advantage of their policies.

So far, we have donated a bunch to the Food Bank thrift, taken books to 2nd and Charles, sold 2 things on Tradesy, and returned mistakes to stores, But the biggest declutter....

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Getting Rid of Stuff and Breaking Even: 2nd and Charles

Remember Miss Em's song Get rid of stuff/Make money. The new ditty is Get rid of stuff/Break even. We have a book problem in these parts. The problem is that we have books from Mr FS's late and beloved father still in boxes. But we have no shelf space.

So: a new twist for the books one reads once--or never--and is willing to part with. Books-a-Million is--in some spots--transforming itself to 2nd and Charles. The latter sells used stuff and bills itself as a green enterprise. You bring in your stuff--books, cds, dvds, games--and await the verdict. Generally, the verdict is ridiculously low. As far as I can tell, you get about 60 cents cash for a trade paperback and about 75 cents for a cd. About double for credit. Zillions of people are unloading their stuff!

Now, I wouldn't take books that were worth much of anything to this place, since there is no way to tell how much you are getting for an individual item; you get a total and it's all or nothing. However, I get lots of books at the thrift store for between 25 cents and a dollar. Ditto for cds. So I am breaking even.

If I had books that I thought were worth a good bit of money, I would check on Amazon, Abebooks or the like. But for popular novels from a few seasons ago or diet books or whatever, it's a solution.

The business model seems quite lucrative, incidentally. Bookstores buy new books for around 60% of cover price. At 2nd and Charles, books sell for around half-price. So a book they buy for 60 cents might sell for $6.00. It's a cheap way to fill their shelves. Each item they sell pays for 10 or more items.

And it must be appealing. I saw lots of good books and the place was hopping--a young demographic.

Getting 60 cents a book is no big deal. But when you bring the max allowed (3 bins worth), you can get about $80.00 at a pop. Not bad.